Hampered by summer-doldrum ticket sales, William Finn's new musical, A New Brain, will close earlier than anticipated. The show had been extended to Oct. 2 but will now end its run Aug. 23, as confirmed by production spokesperson Philip Rinaldi (Aug. 12). A New Brain will have run 116 total performances at Lincoln Center's Mitzi Newhouse Theatre by its last date. On the bright side, the original closing date for Brain was Aug. 2, so the show is getting to enjoy three extra weeks.
Even better news is that theatregoers who can't get to see the new musical by the author of Falsettos and In Trousers will be able to purchase the RCA Victor cast recording, which goes onsale Sept. 15, according to record company spokesperson Nicole Dean (Aug. 12).
A New Brain opened June 18 and sold well for several weeks on the strength of mixed-to-positive reviews and audience interest in Finn, but once the Lincoln Center subscribers had attended, ticket sales no longer warranted running the show through the fall. The show also had a major cast replacement, Aug. 2, when Malcolm Gets left New Brain to begin filming the new season of television's "Caroline in the City," where he has a regular role. Lewis Cleale took over Aug. 4.
Cleale made his Broadway debut in Swinging on a Star. He has since appeared in Once Upon a Mattress as Sir Harry and in the City Center Encores production of Call Me Madam. He also played Giorgio in the acclaimed Signature Theatre production of Passion.
A New Brain is directed and choreographed by Graciela Daniele (Ragtime, Once on This Island). Penny Fuller, who played stepmom to An American Daughter, plays Cleale's 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, Danny Gurwin from R & J (recently replacing Keith Byron Kirk), Michael Mandell from A Christmas Carol and Liz Larsen from Damn Yankees Cleale plays 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.