The diagnosis proved grim: Finn had a burst arteriovenous malformation AVM ; that is, a tangle of several vital blood vessels in his brain had erupted. Little did he know that this life-or-death experience would go on to inspire one of his most poignant musicals, A New Brain. Off-Center season. Leading the company in Lapine's profoundly moving production is Jonathan Groff as Finn stand-in Gordon Michael Schwinn, the middling composer of a children's television show. Mid-composition, Gordon collapses and is rushed to the hospital, where he is diagnosed with an AVM.
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Jonathan Groff was born to suffer incandescently. He has other talents, too. But put him in a spotlight with a heart full of anguish and eyes on the brink of floods, and his face blossoms into radiant beatitude, like a model posing for Rubens as a martyred saint. Off-Center summer season. Given an attractively abstract, shadow-filled production directed by Mr. Lapine, the show remains, as it was, what is essentially one long, harmonious thank-you note for second chances in life. Steeped in a melodic sentimentality that is given full due here by the Encores!
Excerpt: ‘A New Brain’
Though many of Finn's previous musicals were to some extent autobiographical, A New Brain dealt directly with his own harrowing experience with an arteriovenous malformation and the healing power of art. Finn wrote many of the songs soon after his release from the hospital. The musical premiered Off-Broadway in and has been revived in the U. A New Brain started as a "series of songs that Bill Finn wrote after he left the hospital", with a concert of those songs produced at The Public Theater. The musical was first produced Off-Broadway at the Mitzi E.
An autobiographical Musical. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center 14 May, A New Brain dealt directly with his own harrowing personal experience with arteriovenous malformation and the healing power of art. The hero, Gordon, worries that he may not live to complete his work. Finn wrote many of the songs soon after his release from the hospital. Gordon Schwinn, a talented young songwriter, works at his piano to meet a deadline. Gordon is irritated because he must write a song about Spring for a children's television entertainer who dresses as a frog. He takes a break from his writing and meets his friend Rhoda at a restaurant for pasta.