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Musical Comedy, “A New Brain,” Runs Oct. 6-10 at Catawba College

September 15, 2004

Category: Alumni, Events, Music, Students, Theatre Arts


What do a frog, arterial venous malformation, and sailing all have in common?   They are what bring the semi-autobiographical musical comedy, “A New Brain,” to life.  

“A New Brain,” will be the first Blue Masque student- produced musical performed in 10 years when it opens at Catawba College’s Florence Busby Corriher Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 6. Other performances are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7-9, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 10.

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 comes this touching musical comedy about an artist who has lost connections with his life, friends, and family--specifically his loving mother, his male lover, and his female best friend. 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.

The cast of “A New Brain” includes 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; Junior David Matthew Loehr of Charlotte as Mr. Bungee, the dancing frog; Junior Rory Dunn of Vale as Richard; Sophomore Jordan Richards of Hendersonville as the Doctor; Freshman Daniel Hines of Yorktown, Va., as the Minister; Junior Nick Ditter of New Berlin, Wis., as Roger; and Sophomore Elizabeth Ballard of Culpeper, Va., as Mimi, the Mother.

“A New Brain” is directed and choreographed by Senior David Loudermilk of Richmond, Va., as part of his bachelor of fine arts directing thesis, while Jonn Stafford of Charlotte serves as resident musical director.   Stage manager is Sophomore Lauren Connolly of Moon Township, Pa., while Freshman Sara Scronce of Newton serves as assistant stage manager.   Junior Andy Maben of Morganton is in charge of the set, while Junior Kathy Manny of Jacksonville, Fla., is responsible for costumes.   Senior Jason Evarts of Newington, Conn., is lighting director; Sophomore McKenna Dabbs of Nashville, Tenn., make-up and hair; and Freshman Will Randall of Tifton, Ga., technician.

Tickets for “A New Brain” are $6 for adults and $4 for students and senior citizens.   For more information, call the box office at 704-637-4481. Group rates are available.