A New Brain OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    June 24, 2015
    Closing:
    June 27, 2015

    Theater: New York City Center / 130 West 55th Street, New York, NY, 10019

    Synopsis: 

    This autobiographical 1998 musical from Tony Award winner William Finn ("The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee") is a medical tragedy as seen through the iris of a Looney Tunes short. After struggling composer Gordon Michael Schwinn (Tony Award nominee Jonathan Groff) collapses at the piano, he is diagnosed with a brain tumor and is forced to come to terms with his creative ambitions and the people in his life: an overbearing mother (Ana Gasteyer), a ruthless kiddie-show host (Tony Award winner Dan Fogler), and a boyfriend who’d “rather be sailing” (Aaron Lazar).

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF A New Brain

    ‘A New Brain’ Gambols Tunefully Through a Vale of Death

    Ben Brantley

    June 25, 2015: Jonathan Groff was born to suffer incandescently. He has other talents, too. But put him in a spotlight with a heart full of anguish and eyes on the brink of floods, and his face blossoms into radiant beatitude, like a model posing for Rubens as a martyred saint. Such appealing angst first captured New Yorkers’ attention a decade ago when a 21-year-old Mr. Groff made his Broadway debut as a teenager doomed by love and libido in “Spring Awakening.” And at 30, he shows that he remains the go-to guy for portraying luminous pain in an affectingly sung revival of William Finn and James Lapine’s 1998 musical, “A New Brain,” which opened on Wednesday night at City Center as the first production of the Encores! Off-Center summer season. Mr. Groff’s air of troubled sensitivity is an automatic asset in a show about an embattled young composer in the shadow of death. And this actor also has a chance to demonstrate some of the playful wit he will no doubt be bringing to his performance as an embattled British king in the shadow of the American Revolution in the exciting musical “Hamilton,” which begins Broadway previews next month.

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