New Brain, Avenue X & Saturday Night Released on RCA Victor CD, Sept. 15

News   New Brain, Avenue X & Saturday Night Released on RCA Victor CD, Sept. 15 Theatregoers who missed William Finn's A New Brain in its Lincoln Center run can purchase the show on CD and cassette with its release by RCA Victor, Sept. 15.
Cover art for A New Brain.
Cover art for A New Brain.

Theatregoers who missed William Finn's A New Brain in its Lincoln Center run can purchase the show on CD and cassette with its release by RCA Victor, Sept. 15.

Finn's fourth show to be commited to record (after In Trousers, March of The Falsettos, and Falsettoland), Brain tells the semi autobiographical story of songwriter Gordon Schwinn, whose brush with a possibly fatal brain disorder causes him to reevaluate his existence.

The cast album features original star Malcolm Gets as Schwinn with Norm Lewis (a mid-show replacement for Christopher Innvar) as his lover Roger. Others on the album include Chip Zien, Penny Fuller, Liz Larsen, Mary Testa, Kristin Chenoweth, Keith Byron Kirk, Michael Mandell, and John Jellison.

Songs preserved on the CD include the ensemble tunes "Heart And Music" and "Gordo's Law of Genetics," the panic-stricken "Eating Myself Up Alive" and the ballads "Sailing" and "The Music Still Plays On."

A New Brain opened June 18 at Lincoln Center's Mizi E. Newhouse Theatre (Off-Broadway) and closed Aug. 23 after 116 performances. On the same day as Brain's CD release, RCA Victor will also release the cast recording of Ray Leslee & John Jiler's a cappella, doo-wop musical, Avenue X; as well as the London premiere of Stephen Sondheim's early 1950s effort, Saturday Night.

Winner of the prestigious Richard Rodgers' Musical Theatre Award, Avenue X is set in 1963 on a street in Brooklyn that divides a Black and an Italian neighborhood. The story deals with a young Italian-American named Pasquale and an African-American named Milton who risk cultural and racial prejudice by deciding to sing together in a doo-wop contest. Musical influences include rock 'n roll, gospel and rhythm and blues.

Avenue X is the work of composer Leslee, winner of the 1997 Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Theatre Foundation for Best Composer of Musical Theatre, and librettist Jiler, author of the novel Sleeping With the Mayor . The show world-premiered at Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons four years ago and has since been produced in eleven American cities.

Composer Leslee produced the CD, which features music direction by Jerry Dixon. Singers include Colette Hawley, Cheryl Alexander, Ted Brunetti, Wilbur Pauley, John Leone, John-Martin Green, Jerry Dixon and Chuck Cooper (The Life).

-- By Christine Ehren and David Lefkowitz

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