Chioran, Barsky, Gallagher Will Star in Toronto Premiere of Finn's A New Brain

News   Chioran, Barsky, Gallagher Will Star in Toronto Premiere of Finn's A New Brain William Finn and James Lapine's musical A New Brain, about career, relationship and health upheavals, will get its Toronto premiere by producer Mitchell Marcus and Acting Up Stage Theatre Company in 2009.

Respected Canadian theatre veterans Barbara Barsky and Juan Chioran are among cast members. Daryl Cloran will direct the new production, to run Feb. 12-March 1, 2009, at the Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs in Toronto.

"Frogs, sail boats, kiddie TV, overbearing Jewish mothers, and arterial venous malformations" are part of the plot, according to production notes. "When a frustrated children's television composer is struck with a rare brain disorder he faces the possibility of his own mortality in the hospital with his friends, family and nurses. As the doctors race to save his life, Gordon realizes that his greatest fear is dying with his best songs still inside of him; and so, from his hospital bed, they come to life in his room. Both zany and heartbreaking, A New Brain looks at celebrating life through heart and music."

A New Brain has music and lyrics by William Finn and a book by Finn and James Lapine. The show was inspired by a health crisis in Finn's life. The songwriter is best known for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Falsettos.

A New Brain premiered at Lincoln Center Theater. An Off-Broadway cast album preserves the score.

The Toronto cast includes Steven Gallagher (CanStage's Rocky Horror Show), Barbara Barsky (Dora Award winner; six time nominee), Thom Allison (Dora Award nominee for Acting Up Stage's Elegies: A Song Cycle) and Juan Chioran (Broadway and Stratford vet, Kiss of the Spider Woman). Also featured are Diana Coatsworth (Stratford Festival's Cabaret), Allie Hughes ("How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?"), Steve Ross (Toronto's The Producers) and Paula Wolfson (Dora Award winner). Rounding out the cast are newcomers Parris Greaves and Jonathan Tan. Director Cloran is a 2000 Toronto Theatre Emerging Theatre Artist Award winner. The creative team also includes musical director Wayne Gwillim, choreographer Marc Kimelman, stage manager Stephanie Nakamura, set designer Lindsay Anne Black (2007 Pauline McGibbon Award winner) and lighting designer Michael Walton.

Marcus is artistic producer of Acting Up Stage Theatre Company, "dedicated to producing intimate, contemporary musical theatre productions." The company recently produced the Dora-nominated productions of Elegies: A Song Cycle and A Man of No Importance as well as the Toronto premieres of john & jen and Edges, and the Canadian premiere of tick, tick…BOOM!

Opening night is Feb. 13. For tickets call (416) 368-3110 or visit www.actingupstage.com.