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A New Brain (Gallery Players)

Members say: Entertaining, Great singing, Quirky, Clever, Delightful

About the show

By the Tony Award-winning authors of 'Falsettos,' this autobiographical musical deals directly with the writer’s own harrowing personal experience with arteriovenous malformation and the healing power of art.

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The hero, Gordon, worries that he may not live to complete his work, and his near death experience encourages him to re-evaluate and better appreciate the people and relationships in his life. William Finn wrote many of the songs soon after his release from the hospital.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Applause! Applause!

“‘A New Brain’ is a musical written by William Finn shortly after his having successfully undergone surgery to repair an arteriovenous malformation. It contains too many songs (32 numbers), too many scenes, and a particularly unlikeable, neurotic, main character. The cast is extremely talented. At only $25.00 a ticket, seeing this show is worth your effort and time. You will receive good value in exchange for your hard-earned money.” Full Review

Show Showdown

"'A New Brain,' for all of its many strengths, is a flabby sort of musical..Most of the songs are pretty wonderful. However, the overall musical is less so. The main problem, for me, is the lack of real stakes--there is never any doubt that Gordon is going to live and prosper...Luckily, the Gallery Players can overcome one tone deaf apple, and, as with all of their musicals, this one is solid and smoothly directed." Full Review

Washington Square News

"Laugh-out-loud funny but refreshingly light during dramatic moments...Manocherian as Schwinn is the clear standout of the show...But other members of the ensemble fail to distinguish their characters, and director and choreographer Barrie Gelles sometimes seems to be at a loss for what to do with his actors in the space...A heartfelt and sentimental comedy tackling heavy themes in innovative ways...but the production doesn’t always have what it takes to realize the show’s fullest potential." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews


See it if It's not every day you get to see this great musical onstage!

Don't see it if I believe I had realistic expectations for this production; I knew it was a community theatre show. But I was very disappointed. See below:

Also Even as a community theatre and even with a small to nonexistent budge... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Refreshing, Great singing

See it if you enjoy song thru shows. lead male Jesse M. is back at Gallery & is great Barrie Gelles. gives her best directing and choreography

Don't see it if too late.. we caught the final performance. Gallery is so good. Rating is partner's 90% & my 80%

Dated, Great music, Over written

See it if You haven't seen it before. Sung through, with fabulous Finn's music. I Loved that it revived a show I had missed.

Don't see it if you don't like community theatre. Other then a couple of leads, was like a good college prod. The show itself ends 3Xs. At 1:40 felt long.

Quirky, Disappointing

See it if you like musicals about struggling artists suffering through life.

Don't see it if you can’t take sung-through musicals, or you want something heavily produced.

Also On the surface, this feels like something Jonathan Larson would have w... Read more Read less

Clever, Intelligent, Quirky, Resonant, Slow

See it if A musical about a brain clot?? Finn's quirky, autobiographical, musically dense piece is just that Doesn't work but Gallery gives it its all

Don't see it if Despite best vocal efforts of lead Manocherian, Gordon is an unsympathic crank on top of dark subject Finn's indecisive tone hurts concept


See it if you appreciate the talented lead; you can forgive uneven production of community theater; you have friends involved who you want to support.

Don't see it if you demand the generally higher professional standard of Bway. Some performers are belters; some can barely be heard. Show is not a dazzler.

Also I wanted to like it since I missed the original on Bway & liked the Fa... Read more Read less

Clever, Refreshing, Resonant, Great singing, Great staging

See it if Good singing by lead and relaxed choreography with a slightly quirky story intrigues you. Worth a trip to Brooklyn.

Don't see it if You only want high value Broadway quality.

Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if You want to spend almost two hours enjoying a good community theater production of a lesser known musical by William Finn

Don't see it if You expect a “ broadway “ quality production. This is definitely community theater but it is still worth the trip to Brooklyn.

Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You want to support a wonderful community theater and enjoy a good musical.

Don't see it if You don't like a show without any spoken dialogue---all the dialogue was sung

Funny, Delightful, Enchanting, Intelligent, Refreshing

See it if Lovely tale about a gay songwriter's brain operation. Enthusiastic performance by a large cast having a great time. Wonderful music.

Don't see it if You demand Broadway-quality performers/production. You don't want to travel to Brooklyn. I thought this was so charming & well worth it.

Clever, Enchanting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if You wish the difficult parts of life were set to music.

Don't see it if You're the type that sees 14th Street and assumes it's in Manhattan (I made it, but just barely).

Ambitious, Worth seeing, William finn-esque, Jesse manocherian = excellent, Community theatre inflected

See it if like Wm Finn, see neglected works, for many excellent performances, want to support Gallery Players

Don't see it if can't abide community theatre, dislike specific pitch problems, don't want 2 take finicky F train to Parkslope

Long, Some good songs, Earnestly acted, Loving, community theater feel, Storyline kind of all over the place

See it if you like songs that tell stories and give character, you want to support community theater.

Don't see it if you like your stories crisp. This is a bit disjointed. It's hard to like the main character for most of the show. Lots of talk of death

Funny, Delightful, Quirky, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you enjoy this lesser-known William Finn show.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy all-sung shows.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great singing, Informative

See it if you enjoy seeing an energetic, talented cast singing and dancing their way through a medical crisis in an enlightening, poignant manner.

Don't see it if you are particularly sensitive to hospital experiences, comas, inability to understand all the lyrics, and/or same-sex relationships.

Also Having personally had a near-death experience during which I emerged s... Read more Read less

Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if Nonstop singing from start to end from a talented cast that often break into a full choreography involving everyone. Such a delight

Don't see it if There’s a very annoying rattling fan from the ceiling that slightly ruins important moments. Nearly all lines are sung

Also The lead, Jesse, is an incredible singer. Unconventional storyline tha... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if you love William Finn and musicals sung through

Don't see it if you arent a fan of smaller scale musicals, without much spoken words

Ambitious, Intelligent, Quirky, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy good community theater, mostly well acted, sung and danced but not always audible or perfect.

Don't see it if you are disturbed by an ensemble that sometimes has breakout members looking to "star." Good, four-piece band overpowers singing at times.

Clever, Delightful, Quirky

See it if you enjoy a well thought out show that is nicely executed with some fine performances. If you are already a fan, this is worth a look.

Don't see it if you are not a fan of William Finn or don't appreciate very good community theater.

Ambitious, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Great direction

See it if you want to see a talented cast sing and dance in a well constructed, well choreographed show. Impressive for a small neighborhood theater!

Don't see it if you believe that only Broadway can present a quality musical.

Also I don't know if Gallery Players has a new director but the result was ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great writing, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you're a William Finn fan, as I am. Ambitious -- cast of 15, only 10 in original Lincoln Center 1998 production.

Don't see it if you dislike sung-through musicals and are uncomfortable with same sex relationships depicted on stage.

Also Great score and some good singing. During a few moments the lyrics wer... Read more Read less

Quirky, Entertaining

See it if You'd enjoy a large cast & a sung-thru musical about a guy who needs a serious brain operation. Kudos to the lead guy & the Mom!

Don't see it if Could use a 5 or 10 minute trim, as it runs 1 hour 50 minutes no intermission.


See it if .

Don't see it if you do not like long 1 3/4 intermission less musicals

Quirky, Disappointing, Slow, Fluffy

See it if You love any and all musicals or if you are a big fan of William Finn's work. You like fluffy, silly "feel-good" plays about serious topics.

Don't see it if you don't LOVE musicals since, in this show, every word is part of a song.

Also I love the Gallery Players and see most of their shows, but this one w... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Great staging

See it if You enjoy seeing rarely revived and cutting edge musicals in an intimate theater performed by a great cast of young talent.

Don't see it if No reason not to see A New Brain

Cast & Creatives (20)