Casting for William Finn's New Brain
Barrington Stage Company in Association with Williamstown Theatre Festival
By: BSC - May 18, 2023
Barrington Stage Company (BSC) in association with Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF) announces initial casting for William Finn’s 1998 musical A New Brain, opening Sunday, August 20, 2023 and playing through September 10, 2023 on BSC’s Boyd-Quinson Stage (30 Union Street).
A New Brain will feature Adam Chanler-Berat (Broadway: Next to Normal, Peter and the Starcatcher; HBO Max: “Gossip Girl”; WTF: Animal Crackers) as Gordon, three-time Tony Award nominee Mary Testa (Broadway: Oklahoma!, 42nd Street; Off-Broadway: Bill Finn’s In Trousers; BSC: Sleepless Variations; WTF: Most Happy in Concert) as Mimi, Tally Sessions (Broadway: Company, Anastasia, Bill Finn’s Falsettos) as The Doctor, Demond Green (Broadway: Sister Act; BSC: Funked Up Fairy Tales, Bill Finn’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) as The Minister, Dorcas Leung (Broadway: Miss Saigon; National Tour: Hamilton; BSC: Into the Woods) as Rhoda, Joshua Lamon (Broadway: The Prom, Groundhog Day; Off-Broadway: Bill Finn’s A New Brain at Encores!) as Mr. Bungee, Salome Smith (Broadway: 1776) as Lisa, and Justine Horihata Rappaport (National Tour: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella) as Nancy. Additional casting will be announced in coming weeks.
A New Brain features music and lyrics by BSC Associate Artist William Finn (BSC: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Royal Family of Broadway), book by Finn and Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner James Lapine (Broadway: Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George), and direction by BSC Associate Artist Joe Calarco (BSC: Waiting for Godot, Into the Woods, Ragtime), with music direction by Vadim Feichtner (BSC: The Royal Family of Broadway; Broadway: Falsettos, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) and choreography by Chloe O. Davis (Paradise Square).
A New Brain was originally presented in 1998 at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center, where it won the 1999 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical. The largely autobiographical musical is about Finn’s life-threatening experience surviving a neurological brain condition.
For a 2015 production of A New Brain at New York City Center’s Encores! Off-Center, Jesse Green, writing for New York Magazine, said, “What makes A New Brain so satisfying is that its almost relentless humor and cynicism are used to promote a very serious and often sad inquiry into key human questions. What do we make of our time here? What do we make of our abilities? Finn’s answer is the obvious one, but no less generous for that. If your brain is wired for it, you make music.”
In A New Brain, Gordon can’t get past his writer’s block when a medical emergency forces him to reassess if his songs (or lack thereof) are more important than his family, his friends, or his partner. He needs to navigate a mean nurse, shelves of books and a bossy frog to get to the heart of his music.
A New Brain will feature scenic design by Paige Hathaway, costume design by Debra Kim Sivigny, lighting design by Jason Lyons, and sound design by Ken Travis. Production Stage Manager is John Godbout. Assistant Stage Manager is Leslie Sears.
As previously announced, the Boyd-Quinson Stage season at Barrington Stage Company will open with John Kander & Fred Ebb’s Tony Award-winning musical Cabaret (June 14-July 8) in a new production directed by BSC Artistic Director Alan Paul and choreographed by Katie Spelman. The Boyd-Quinson season also includes a revival of Blues for an Alabama Sky (July 18-August 5) by Pearl Cleage, directed by Candis C. Jones. The final production will be Steinberg Playwright Award winner Sanaz Toossi’s Pulitzer Prize, Lucille Lortel and Obie Award-winning play English (September 27-October 15).
The St. Germain Stage season at Barrington Stage Company will open with The Happiest Man on Earth (May 24-June 17), by Mark St. Germain, based on Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku’s extraordinary 2020 memoir of the same name, published when Jaku was 100 years old, starring Kenneth Tigar and directed by Ron Lagomarsino. The St. Germain season continues with Mike Lew’s tiny father (June 25-July 22), a co-world premiere play produced by Chautauqua Theater Company and BSC, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel. The season concludes with a revival of Brian Friel’s Faith Healer (August 1-27), directed by Julianne Boyd and starring BSC Associate Artists Christopher Innvar, Mark H. Dold and Gretchen Egolf.