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Plays and Players Presents A NEW BRAIN, 1/13-29


Coming to Plays & Players (P&P) mainstage Jan. 13-29 is William Finn's A New Brain: a semi-autobiographical musical journey through his diagnosis and treatment of a seemingly terminal defect in his brain. Protagonist Gordon Schwinn's greatest fear is dying with his best songs still inside him, so he works day and night from his hospital bed to get them all out. Premiering off-Broadway to rave reviews over a decade ago, P&P is proud to introduce Philadelphia theater-goers and musical-lovers to a harrowing yet heartwarming tale about the healing power of art.

Directed by Philadelphia magazine's Best of Philly 2010 award winner Daniel Student, A New Brain bridges the gap between classical and modern musical theatre with explosions of character and absurd visual landscapes. "A New Brain is a musical theatre-lovers musical," said Student. "Finn doesn't just compose catchy showtunes, but tells his story through the way he writes his music. It's his craftsmanship that moves the audience." Having directed Oleanna, Early in the Mourning and Take Me Out and starring as William Shakespeare in William Shakespeare's Land of the Dead, A New Brain marks Student's fifth show at P&P.

A New Brain's intimate account of one man's battle with a terminal illness highlights the powerful impacT Loving relationships have on the healing process - and it does so through the eyes of a gay couple. "This play is about the main character's personal journey, and integral to that is his partner. That they're gay is an assumed state of life," said Student. Growing up as the straight son of gay parents, the portrayal of Gordon's and Roger's relationship is something that strongly resonated with Student. "The more audiences are exposed to such relationships, the more barriers can be broKen Down."

A New Brain stars Brendan Norton as Gordon; Dan Plehal as Roger; Eric Longo as the Minister; Grace Field as Nancy; Jason Stockdale as Richard; Jennifer Hutten as the Homeless Woman; Joe Sabatino as the Doctor; Robert Cutler as Mr. Bungee; Sara Schmuckler as Rhoda; and Susan Ilene Johnson, returning to Plays & Players after a twenty-five year absence, as Gordon's Mother.
Plays & Players (P&P) is at once 99 years old and 1 year old, recently changing from a community theater to a professional quality theater. P&P provides diverse work that ranges from high-voltage, edgy premieres to new takes on classics, and encourages local artists to perform and rehearse in its historic Plays & Players Theatre. The 2010-2011 season includes four shows, a new play festival, a playwright residency program and a continuation of the Super Heroes Who Are Super! and Hear Again Radio Project series. P&P will celebrate its 100th Anniversary in November 2011. To learn more please visit

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