May 18-27 at the New Hazlett Theater:
A New Brain is a musical with music and lyrics by William Finn and book by Finn and James Lapine, the Tony Award-winning authors of Falsettos. A New Brain is an energetic, sardonic, often comical musical about a composer during a medical emergency. Gordon collapses into his lunch and awakes in the hospital, surrounded by his maritime-enthusiast lover, his mother, a co-worker, the doctor, and the nurses. Reluctantly, he had been composing a song for a children's television show that features a frog - Mr. Bungee - and the specter of this large green character and the unfinished work haunts him throughout his medical ordeal.
Though many of Finn's previous musicals were to some extent autobiographical, A New Brain deals directly with his own harrowing experience and the healing power of art. The hero of the musical, Gordon Schwinn, worries that he may not live to complete his work. Finn wrote many of the songs soon after his release from the hospital. The musical premiered Off-Broadway in 1998 and has been revived in the U.S., England and elsewhere.
August 17-26 at the New Hazlett Theater
Based on the 1975 documentary film of the same name, Grey Gardens is a tragic, frequently funny, and utterly unforgettable musical about two “staunch” and legendary American women: Edith Bouvier Beale, and her grown daughter, Edie. Grey Gardens begins at the grand 1941 engagement party of stunning and spirited “Little Edie” Beale to handsome Navy man Joe Kennedy, Jr., hosted by Edie’s mother, Edith Bouvier Beale. As the upper-crust, New England family gathers, so do the storm clouds of trouble that eventually leave both “Big” and “Little” Edie alone and heartbroken. The second act launches the narrative into the overgrown, cat-riddled, and bug-infested estate in 1973, where the two Edies live, alone. “Big Edie” is now bedridden, and “Little Edie” grows more eccentric by the day, haunted by dreams of love and success, long since dashed. Weaving documentary text with imaginative speculation, the musical documents the journey of the Beales from royalty to ruin. Grey Gardens is a unique tapestry of lost dreams, sacrifice, and unstoppable hope-- heartfelt, witty, and compassionate.