|City Center A New Brain|
I am one lucky man. I walked out of seeing the concert production of "A New Brain" at City Center Wednesday night, and millions of thoughts were running through my brain.
This series which shows musicals in concert offers lessor known musicals that have already passed through New York for a new audience to see. Or in the case of those of us who have done the show before gets to relive the moment. Led by Jonathan Groff in the lead role of a man dealing with having brain surgery, the cast including Ana Gasteyer, Aaron Lazar, Rema Webb, Josh
Lamon (to name a few) gave a full out production that felt nothing like a concert. Each of them were wonderful (with Gasteyer completely moving me in her ballad). William Finn's score sounded as incredible as ever (even with new lyrics and a few songs that were cut). James Lapine wrote the original book with Finn and directed this production. The staging, lights, everything was top notch as they always are in this Encores Off-Center series. (Thank you, Jeanine Tesori!)
|4th Wall Theatre A New Brain 2002|
The reason I felt lucky was thinking back to that time 13 years ago when I played the role Groff so beautifully portrayed tonight and looking at my life since then. His character is concerned with writing something great before he dies (in case the surgery doesn't work). Knowing I would never be a parent, I often thought of that in my 20s/30s…wanting to leave something behind I had my hand in creating. I can almost recall working through that feeling in rehearsals for this show as if it were yesterday and yet since that moment I played the man hoping to leave something behind, I've had a musical produced, a reading of an original play, several books published and a film completed. An abundance of life-altering, wonderful moments! Realizing that 'full-circle moment', a feeling washed over me that I can't explain.
Groff's character and Lazar's are boyfriends working through juggling career and relationship. Like most people in a relationship, I know a little something about that one too. However, tonight I was transported back to our production when I was not even two years into my relationship. Working through the ups & downs of those early times and now 13 years later, we're happily married and he has been so supportive of my ability to juggle. It feels as if I've spent an entire lifetime with him since our production…and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Sure, I've seen shows before that I've previously done, but for some reason this one hit me in such a profound way. I'm not sure if it were subject matter, the score, lyrics, being with dear friends, or using it as a barometer on my life - but I feel so much spring in my heart afterwards…I hope that this 46 year old Greg can look back at that guy I was 13 years ago and take some of the lessons taught to us in this musical. To live in the moment more and enjoy what life brings our way each day. There is no promise or guarantee of tomorrow so just go for it!
The one sadness that hit me was thinking I could never sing like that again in a show. This 'little' show is a mammoth one vocally for the lead. Honestly, I look back now and can't believe I was able to do it. I suddenly realized I miss singing. Maybe someday that will come back into my life again. But, who knows. If I don't, at least I can remember what it felt like to do it back when I was a performer and be happy for the projects I'm able to throw myself into today.
A beautiful production. Wonderful memories. And huge thanks to a talented cast & crew for bringing it alive on 55th street once again for these very few performances.
Spring within me,
Blow, winds blow;
Spring has just begun.
And something's taken
Wing within me.
What was dark so long
Had felt like winter,
Finally there's sun.
And so I sing
That I feel so much spring."
- William Finn