Gender-Expansive Production of A NEW BRAIN to be Presented at Celebration Theatre

A NEW BRAIN will begin previews on Saturday, April 29 will open on Saturday, May 6 at 8pm and perform through Sunday, June 24.

By: Mar. 17, 2023
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Gender-Expansive Production of A NEW BRAIN to be Presented at Celebration Theatre


Celebration Theatre, in association with the Los Angeles LGBT Center, will present a brand new look at the William Finn musical, A NEW BRAIN, music and lyrics by William Finn, book by William Finn & James Lapine, choreography by Alli Miller-Fisher, musical direction by Gregory Nabours, and directed by Khanisha Foster. A NEW BRAIN will begin previews on Saturday, April 29 will open on Saturday, May 6 at 8pm and perform through Sunday, June 24 at the Davidson/Valentini Theatre at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, 1125 N. McCadden Place in Los Angeles.
With a gender-expansive casting vision from Celebration and director Khanisha Foster, thoughtfully imbued into a buoyant score and "fascinating story" (New York Post) from the Tony Award-winning authors of Falsettos and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, audiences have the unique opportunity to see A NEW BRAIN in Los Angeles as it has never been done before. A timely revival about second chances and the urgency of art, this queer musical of "captivating eccentricity" (NY Times) is an intimate experience of pathos, humor, and just a little bit of magic - to bring us back to life. In A NEW BRAIN, composer Gordon Schwinn collapses into their lunch and awakens in the hospital, surrounded by their lover, mother, co-worker, doctor, and nurses. Coming face to face with their own mortality, Gordon sees their greatest fear: will they die with their greatest songs still unwritten? A NEW BRAIN reminds us that the power of music, love, and the creation of art can never be lost.
Comments Celebration Theatre's Artistic Director Brittney S. Wheeler, "In my first offering as Artistic Director, the reason why I wanted to bring gender-expansive casting to this work was that I wanted to see non-binary, gender-variant, and/or female-identifying folx from all walks of life tell this story. I wanted them to have a chance to be seen and heard, to bring out nuances that may have not been felt or seen before in this work: the trouble that these people, as well as plus-sized and Black women, face in the medical establishment to get the care they need; complex familial relationships; generational rifts and/or misunderstanding; and self-image issues. Director Khanisha Foster brings to this shared vision a vivid insight into the human condition and the blueprint for making genuinely potent and enthralling theatre which is so needed right now. Khanisha's vision leans into the comedy, the language of the music, but most of all the heart and humanity of these characters."
Both Mr. Finn and Mr. Lapine have granted Celebration Theatre their approval and express permission to present this inspired gender-expansive look at their milestone musical.



KHANISHA FOSTER (Director) (she/her) Her writing and her life experience being the daughter of a Black Panther father and a mother whose family invented Bubble Wrap, landed her a writing gig developing a TV series with K&L Productions (Kay Cannon & Laverne McKinnon). She and Julie Hébert ("The Man in the High Castle") are adapting a Philip K. Dick novel with Electric Shepherd Productions. Named Best Director for The Bluest Eye. D.C. Metro said her work "comes from the rebellious joy of making others laugh so their days are not so dark. So they and anyone can enjoy laughter."
ALLI MILLER-FISHER (Choreographer) (she/her) is an NAACP Theatre Award recipient for her choreography in Rent (2Cents, Hudson Theatre). She is also an LA Ovation Award nominee, and has received numerous recognitions in Los Angeles as a writer, creator/producer, and choreographer of genre-busting, musical theatre burlesque presenter, Cherry Poppins Productions. Her choreography can be found on the stage and screen (plus many a YouTube video), but leading up to A New Brain, you can find her work at Hollywood's Tramp Stamp Granny's in her new show, CLUElesque, an immersive musical experience.
Gregory Nabours (Musical Director) (he/him) is an Ovation, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, and NAACP award recipient, as well as the co-creator of the "Unauthorized Musical Parody" series at Rockwell Table and Stage, where he arranged and produced over 15 juke-box musicals based on popular films. Gregory's music has been performed all over the country, including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Off-Broadway. Musical Direction Credits include: The Color Purple and The Women of Brewster Place. Composer/Arranger Credits include: Marilyn! The New Musical, The Trouble With Words, The Masque of the Red Death and A Candle In Jien'Jenu.
The Cast of A NEW BRAIN will feature: Amanda Kruger (they/them) as "Gordon Schwinn," Yassi Noubahar (she/her) as "Roger Delli-Bovi," Richardson Cisneros-Jones (he/him) as "Mr. Bungee," Gina Torrecilla (she/her) as "Mimi Schwinn," Ryan O'Connor (he/they) as "Nurse Richard," Whitney Avalon (she/her) as "Lisa," Sadé Ayodele (she/her) as "Rhoda," Mitchell Johnson (he/they) as "Dr. Jafar Berensteiner," Jason Ryan (he/him) as "The Minister," and Gabi Van Horn (she/her) as "Nurse Nancy/Waitress."
A NEW BRAIN has assembled an award-winning design team; Scenic Design by Stephen Gifford (he/him); Lighting Design by Matt Richter (he/him). Costume Design by Allison Dillard (she/her); Sound Design by M. Glenn Schuster (they/them), Properties Design by Michael O'Hara (he/him). The Casting Director is Jami Rudofsky (she/her). Amy Rowell is the Production Stage Manager (she/her). A NEW BRAIN is produced by Nathaniel Mathis (he/him).
This production is supported in part by a grant from the David Lee Foundation.



A NEW BRAIN will preview on Saturday, April 29 at 8pm & Sunday, April 30 at 2pm; Thursday, May 4 & Friday, May 5 at 8pm; will open on Saturday, May 6 at 8pm (press opening) and perform through Sunday, June 24 at the Davidson/Valentini Theatre at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, 1125 N. McCadden Place in Los Angeles.
Performances are Thursdays, Fridays & Saturday at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm.
Tickets are $35.00; Previews $25.00. (Prices subject to change).
For tickets, further information or to view a complete schedule, please visit



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