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Catawba's Production, “A New Brain,” May Advance to Regional Festival Competition

November 16, 2004

Category: Events, Students, Theatre Arts


Catawba College’s production of the musical comedy, “A New Brain,”  is being held for consideration to  advance to regional competition, slated February 1-6 at the Palm Beach Community College in Lake Worth, Fla., in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. That after the production was entered and performed in state competition in the North Carolina American College Theatre Festival, hosted Nov. 2-6 at Catawba College.   Whether the production will actually advance to the competition will be known by late December.

The production of “A New Brain” was the first Blue Masque student-produced musical performed in 10 years when it originally opened at Catawba College’s Florence Busby Corriher Theatre in early October. The musical is based on the life of composer William Finn and a book written by Finn and James Lapine. Music and lyrics were also written by Finn.   Finn, after winning a Tony Award for the musical, “Falsettos,” was hospitalized for a brain aneurysm. From his near death experience he produced this touching musical comedy about an artist who has lost connections with his life, family and friends.   With the mixing of hospital lingo and a little “heart and music,” the audience learns from a dancing frog some valuable lessons about what they take for granted each and every day.    

Nominees from the show for Irene Ryans recognition include cast members Junior Ryan Musil of Whitefish Bay, Wis., in the lead role as Gordon Schwinn; Senior Jennifer Reiff of Wilmington as the Homeless Lady; Freshman Jessica Taige of Wauwatasa, Wis., as Rhoda; Sophomore Jes Dugger of Gainesville, Fla., as Waitress and Nancy D; and Junior Nick Ditter of New Berlin, Wis., as Roger.

Design and stage management nominees include stage manager, Sophomore Lauren Connolly of Moon Township, Pa.; Junior Andy Maben of Morganton in charge of the set; Junior Kathy Manny of Jacksonville, Fla., costumes; Senior Jason Evarts of Newington, Conn., lighting director; and Sophomore McKenna Dabbs of Nashville, Tenn., make-up and hair.