NEW YORK, NY - Questions: What do you get when you cross a nasty frog, brain surgery, and a dancing Jewish mother? Answer: A musical odyssey towards a second chance at life. Produced by New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education’s Program in Vocal Performance, “A New Brain” (Oct. 24 through Nov. 2) deals with creativity and artistic survival in a world where flawed human beings seek happiness and meaning even as an uncertain fate forever threatens.
“A New Brain” was written and composed by William Finn, winner of two Tony awards for his musical “Falsettos.” Shortly after the successful Broadway opening of “Falsettos,” Finn suffered a brain seizure and was hospitalized. Several months later, he made a complete and miraculous recovery. In “A New Brain,” Finn translates his life-threatening experience into a life-affirming evening of quirky humor, song and dance.
Finn’s alter-ego, character Gordon Schwinn, is a composer-lyricist who dreams of writing Broadway musicals while turning out tunes for children’s shows, in this case for a loathsome man-size frog named Mr. Bungee. Gordon has lost the ability to communicate through his music and is virtually dead to the world until he falls ill and is once again able to find his “voice.” The musical takes a journey through the realms of creativity, mortality, love and loss and shows how an individual’s brush with death inspired a new gratitude for life and its opportunities.
Originally produced at the Lincoln Center Theatre in 1998, the musical celebrates the healing power of art through songs such as “Heart and Music,” “Sailing,” “The Music Still Plays On” and “I Feel So Much Spring.” The show is directed by John Simpkins, with music direction by Fiona Santos and choreography by Jennifer Werner.
“A New Brain” runs Oct. 24, 25, 30, 31 and Nov. 1 at 8:00 PM and Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 at 3:00 PM at New York University’s Frederick Loewe Theatre, 35 West 4th Street. Tickets are $15, $5 with valid NYU identification. For reservations, call (212) 998-5281. Reporters interested in attending “A New Brain” should contact Branden Huldeen, assistant director of production, at (212) 998-5069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITOR’S NOTE The Steinhardt School of Education prepares students for careers in education, health and nursing, applied psychology, communications, and the arts and serves as a source of continuing education for working professionals who seek career advancement and enrichment. On the graduate level, specialized training is offered within the context of one of the country’s leading centers of research. The school is also a center for research and community service, especially committed to activities aimed at improving the urban environment.