UAB Theater Opens New Season With ‘A New Brain’ Musical, Oct. 12-16 – News


When we are about to live, how do we choose to spend our time? This sardonic comedy is from the authors of Tony Award-winning “Falsettos”.

UAB TheaterUAB Theater presents “A New Brain” will present “A new brain”, an energetic, sardonic and comedic musical about a composer during a medical crisis, from October 12 to 16.

Originally premiered off-Broadway in 1998, “A New Brain” – from the Tony Award-winning songwriters of “Falsettos” – captivated audiences with its laughter, heart and throbbing soul.

Based on the true story of William Finn himself suffering from a fatal diagnosis, Finn finds beauty in the darkest of situations. This work is inspired and designed on some of the characters Finn met in the hospital and examines the details of the human experience, however messy. “A New Brain” includes music and lyrics by William Finn and a book by Finn and James Lapine.

Theater UAB is the performance company of the Department of Theater at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Senior Cooper Ellis of Atlanta, Georgia will co-direct this show, which features an all-student cast of 10 actors as well as students assisting and taking the lead in choreography, musical direction, costume design, the team and more. “A New Brain” is co-directed by Roy Lightner, with musical direction by Carolyn Violi.

Shows are at 7:30 p.m. nightly October 12-15 and 2 p.m. Sunday, October 16 at UAB. Alys Stephens Center for the Performing Arts. This production contains strong language and mature themes. Tickets are $15 and $20, $6 for students and $10 for UAB employees and seniors. Call 205-975-2787 or visit for tickets.

About the show

“”A New Brain” is the voice in our heads that tells us we’re not good enough, makes us choose work over love, and compels us to look within when everything around us stops. “said Ellis, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music. a theater major is expected to graduate in 2023. “It’s a glimpse of life that gives us a second chance – the opportunity for a fresh start.”

The production is a fast-paced, all-sung exploration of the main character, Gordo, a composer working for a children’s TV show who’s stuck in a creative rut. Gordo collapses over lunch with his agent, Rhoda, and receives a medical diagnosis that turns his world upside down in an instant. This allows him to assess who he wants to be and teaches him to fight inner demons in the face of death. When we are about to live, how do we choose to spend our time? How do we behave after massive changes? “A New Brain” explores these questions.

Processed with VSCO with nc presetPrincipal Cooper Ellis“Our cast, crew, and creators in the UAB Theater Department tapped into their passions and put their all into this work,” Ellis said. “We have sought to create a safe and inclusive environment for students to explore their greatest potential, and I am so excited to bring this beautiful and complex show to life.”

In addition to her performance major, Ellis started on an achievement track — as an unofficial minor — and has continued since her freshman year. After COVID took over during her sophomore year, she was able to work as an assistant director for “Godspell” during her freshman year with Lightner and Cheryl Hall. After that experience, Ellis was also able to witness directing in the professional world for “Once,” presented by Red Mountain Theater with Lightner last spring, and had the opportunity to create and lead his own touring band company. for UAB. Co-directing “A New Brain” was the natural next step, she says.

Cast and crew

The cast is Troy Serena from Oneonta, Alabama as Gordon Schwinn; Birmingham’s Sadie Farmer as a homeless woman; Kara Scullin from Cincinnati, Ohio as Rhoda; Maddie Erwin from Houston, Texas as Waitress/Nancy D.; Travis Settoon from Ponchatoula, Louisiana as Mr. Bungee; Jason Torrey from Eureka, Kansas as Richard; Ryan Charest from Tampa, Florida as Dr. Jafar Berensteiner; Terrell Miller of Birmingham as minister; Jalen Kirkman of Florence, Alabama, as Roger Delli-Bovi; and Abigail Coats from Florence, Alabama as Mimi Schwinn. The stunt doubles are Cara Parisi of Kansas City, Missouri; Matthew Piper of Dora, Alabama; Devin Towery of New Braunfels, Texas; and Peyton Griffin of Ellisville, Mississippi.

Stage direction is provided by spring graduate Bailey Dumlao of Germantown, Tennessee, with stage management assistant by Brandon Marquez of Mandeville, Louisiana, and Cappy Elvir of New Orleans, Louisiana. Costume design is by Anna Medders of West Jefferson, Alabama. The assistant choreographer is Hannah Moss from Pasadena, California. The assistant musical director is Rose McClanahan from Lexington, Kentucky. The music direction intern is Olivia Scott from Panama City, Florida.

The production team includes Georgiana Dramble of Eufala, Alabama, and Jakira Dial of Bessemer, Alabama, for wardrobe; Emma Chippendale of Orlando, Fla. and Davis Carter of Alabaster, Alabama for the race team; Ellie Cornett of Madison, Alabama, for lightweight panel operations; Angus Black of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Gavin Cleckler of Fort Payne, Alabama, for the follow-up operation; and Khaliyah Williams of Birmingham and Deztonie Cunningham of Mobile, Alabama, for the sound platform. Sound design is by Jay Tumminello, scenic design by Cliff Simon, lighting design by Kelly Allison, and prop design by Jim Luther.


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