30 Jun 1998
The show opened to largely positive reviews June 18. 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, 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.
As reported by InTheater (June 26) and confirmed by the production's 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.
p> For information on A New Brain call Tele-charge: (212) 239 6200.