Finn's New Brain Goes Into Recording Studio With Cast Change, June 29

News   Finn's New Brain Goes Into Recording Studio With Cast Change, June 29 A New Brain, the latest work from Falsettos composer William Finn, goes into the Hit Factory recording studio June 29 in anticipation of an RCA Victor release on CD and cassette Sept. 15.

A New Brain, the latest work from Falsettos composer William Finn, goes into the Hit Factory recording studio June 29 in anticipation of an RCA Victor release on CD and cassette Sept. 15.

The show opened to positive reviews June 18 at the Mitzi Newhouse Theatre in New York's Lincoln Center. Tickets are apparently scarce to the show, which started previews May 14 and is scheduled to run through Aug. 2.

As reported by InTheater (June 26) and confirmed by the proudctions spokesman, Christopher Innvar has left the show due to vocal problems. InTheater notes that Innvar decided to leave when he was told his services weren't needed on the cast recording. A Rinaldi spokesperson said simply that Innvar has "been having vocal problems and is under doctor's orders to leave the show."

Mark Hardy, Innvar's understudy, has been taking over, but Norm Lewis (Side Show) will be on the CD and may come into the role later on.

A New Brain is directed and choreographed by Graciela Daniele (Ragtime, Once on This Island). Penny Fuller, who recently played stepmom to An American Daughter, plays Malcolm Gets' mother in Brain. Other key roles are being handled by Kristen Chenoweth from Strike Up the Band, Chip Zien from Into the Woods, Mary Testa from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Christopher Innvar from Floyd Collins, Keith Byron Kirk from Miss Saigon, Michael Mandell from A Christmas Carol and Liz Larsen from Damn Yankees Gets, who merrily rolled off to sitcomland (TV's "Caroline in the City") after the Off-Broadway's Merrily We Roll Along, is back on the boards for a while, playing Gordon Schwinn, a songwriter who has time to reassess his life while confined to a hospital bed, confronted with the possibility of brain surgery.

There's more than a slight autobiographical spin to the book, which Finn wrote with his prize-winning Falsettos collaborator, James Lapine. Finn went through a similar experience -- a threat to his mind, his talent and his life -- just after winning the Best Score Tony for Falsettos in 1992.

Toni-Leslie James designed the costumes for A New Brain, Tony Meola the sound, Peggy Eisenhauer the lighting and David Gallo the sets.

For information on A New Brain call Tele-charge: (212) 239 6200.

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In other Lincoln Center Theatre news, Helen Hunt, Oscar winning star of As Good As It Gets and TV's "Mad About You", will star as Viola in Lincoln Center's upcoming production of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. The show, which follows the current Ah, Wilderness! (closing May 3) at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, starts preview June 19 and opens July 16 for a run through Aug. 30. Rehearsals began May 4.

Nicholas Hytner, of Carousel renown, will direct the comedy, which starts rehearsals in early May. Brian Murray -- one of NY's most ubiquitous stage actors -- stars as Sir Toby Belch. Murray's recent roles include Da, The Little Foxes (Lincoln Center), Misalliance and Travels With My Aunt. Kyra Sedgwick (filmdom's "Singles") plays Olivia.

Philip Bosco (Lend Me A Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo) plays Malvolio while Max Wright, who won raves for his work in Ivanov but is best known for playing the dad on TV's "Alf," is Andrew Aguecheek.

Also in the cast are Amy Hill (Maria), Paul Rudd (Orsini) and Julio Monge (Antonio).

Designing the show are Bob Crowley (sets), Natasha Katz (lighting) and Catherine Zuber (costumes). Jeanine Tesori, who composed Off-Broadway's Violet, will provide musical underscoring.

Recent Shakespeare mountings in New York include Macbeth, currently at the Public Theatre, in a production starring Alec Baldwin and Angela Bassett; Richard II and III at Theatre for a New Audience; and a British production of A Midsummer Night's Dream on Broadway in the 1995 96 season.

Twelfth Night will be a Lincoln Center Theatre production in association with the annual, three-week Lincoln Center Festival.

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As for the rest of the Vivian Beaumont schedule:
At the Vivian Beamount, next season will bring the musical Parade (Jan. 1999), followed by the Michael John LaChiusa musical, Marie Christine, directed by Graciela Daniele.

Harold Prince will direct Parade, which has a book by Alfred Uhry (Last Night of Ballyhoo) and a score by Jason Robert Brown. Patricia Birch, who worked with Hal Prince on Candide and A Little Night Music, choreographs.

Parade tells the story of a Jewish factory owner in the deep South who finds his identity and his manhood only after he is falsely accused in the death of a 13-year-old girl.

Rehearsals begin in October with previews starting Nov. 17 for a Dec. 17 opening and a 10 1/2 week run, according to spokesperson Philip Rinaldi. Lincoln Center is producing the musical in conjunction with Garth Drabinsky's Livent (Ragtime, Candide).

Brent Carver, who won a Tony for Kiss of the Spider Woman, stars in Parade, alongside Carolee Carmello (Hello Again). Designing the show are Judith Dolan (costumes), Riccardo Hernandez (sets) and Howell Binkley (lighting).

As for Marie Christine, LaChiusa, who earned a cult following with his Hello Again Off-Broadway and Chronicle of a Death Foretold on Broadway, is again collaborating with director choreographer Daniele (Ragtime) on Marie Christine, which is described as "a quasi-operatic version of Medea, set in 1880s New Orleans and Chicago."

Designing Marie Christine are Peggy Eisenhauer & Jules Fisher (lighting) and Christopher Barreca (sets). Coincidentally, director Prince staged LaChiusa's Off-Broadway disappointment, The Petrified Prince.

-- By Harry Haun
and David Lefkowitz

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