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Old Library Theatre presents "A New Brain"

originally published: 04/07/2024

Old Library Theatre presents "A New Brain"

(FAIR LAWN, NJ) -- Old Library Theatre (OLT), Fair Lawn Recreation Department's resident theatre company, will present the musical, A New Brain, over two weekends from April 12- 21, 2024. Created by Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist William Finn and playwright James Lapine, this is an unexpectedly funny show that gives a glimpse into the inner world of Gordon Michael Schwinn (played by Patrick Dwyer), a frustrated composer for a children's television show.

A brain disorder leaves Gordon hospitalized, where he floats in and out of consciousness, contemplating his life, legacy, the meaning of music, and the important relationships in his life. Throughout his hospitalization, Gordon is haunted by an imaginary frog from the show he works on. As a quartet of quirky hospital staff (the egotistic neurosurgeon, a nice nurse, a mean nurse, and an out-of-his element minister) try to tend to his medically uncertain needs, Gordon’s overbearing Jewish mother, his lover, and neurotic best friend work to maintain his emotional health. Throw in a deeply philosophical homeless woman, and you have the ten-person cast of this touching, funny, and relatable musical that explores life’s beauty when we take the time to appreciate it.

The cast includes Patrick Dwyer as Gordon Michael Schwinn; Kathy Monroe as his mother Mimi; Jonathan Krouse as his boyfriend Roger; Melissa Miller as his best friend Rhoda; Peter Vaiknoras as his boss Mr. Bungee; Sam Szentmik as the homeless lady; Dave Toussas as Richard the nice nurse; Katie Lupfer as Nancy D and Waitress; Paul Foster as the doctor; and Jeff Parsons as the minister.

Old Library Theatre presents "A New Brain"

Scene from a rehearsal, photo by Erin Sabat

A New Brain is directed by Jess Katz, with Music Direction by Evan T. Charpentier. The show is produced by Amy Kurfist; with costumes by Jessi Blum, wigs by Katie Lupfer, choreography by Cassandra Barkett, prop and set design by Amy Kurfist, and Erin Sabat and Lyss Wortman as Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Manager. Mr. Bungee puppets designed by Kay Koch.

Director Jess Katz said "A New Brain is a musical about the healing power of art. It tells a story of someone overcoming obstacles when they seem nearly impossible to surmount. It challenges audience assumptions about love and acceptance. This show teaches us about facing our fears and doing it anyway.  I believe all of us can learn something from this show, and leave renewed with a feeling of ‘so much spring’”.  Producer Amy Kurfist added “This beautiful story has something that everyone can relate to and learn from. Families, relationships, illness - they are topics we all explore in our day to day life, and this show addresses them with such beauty and grace that everyone should get the opportunity to spend some time in the brains of this brilliant cast of characters.“

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William Finn’s musical genius shines through in every note. From infectious, toe-tapping tunes to heartrending ballads that tug at your heartstrings, A New Brain delivers an emotional rollercoaster that leaves audiences laughing, crying and singing along.

Performances are on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00pm, with Sunday matinees at 2:00pm. Performances are held at the George Frey Center for Performing Arts in the Fair Lawn Community Center, located at 10-10 20th Street in Fair Lawn. Tickets are $23 for Adults, and $20 for Seniors. Tickets are available for purchase online. Old Library Theatre is committed to bringing quality entertainment at an affordable cost in Bergen County.

Old Library Theatre presents "A New Brain"

The Cast & Creative of A New Brain, photo by Erin Sabat



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