Category Archives: A New Brain

CBC’s Triple Sensation: Vancouver Auditions

Triple Sensation made its way to Vancouver for the Western Canada auditions in its second episode on Monday night.  Last week, I said I’d be keeping an eye out for any familiar faces.

I was struck with déjà vu not once, but twice, by two of the featured auditioners.  Georgia Swinton and Andrew Cohen, who both recently impressed in A New Brain (Pipedream Theatre), were among forty hopefuls trying out for six spots.

Swinton was critiqued for her performance of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” (Funny Girl) by the judging panel.  Composer Marvin Hamlisch (A Chorus Line) arbitrarily panned her song choice and suggested something funnier would have been better suited.  Swinton does have ample comedic charms as evidenced in A New Brain, and will hopefully soon have a chance to show off her range to Vancouver audiences in future roles.

triple sensation1

A New Brain’s leading man Cohen sang a stirring rendition of “The Old Red Hills of Home” (Parade).   His strong vocals, along with his monologue and dance audition, landed him one of the six Vancouver spots in the finals.

Next week the Vancouver and Toronto top sixes join in a master class session, a kind of theatrical boot camp.

Triple Sensation airs in six parts, Mondays on CBC, through July 27th.

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A New Brain (Review)

William Finn and James Lapine’s A New Brain ranks highly in my musical theatre playlist and Pipedream Theatre’s production more than lives up to expectations in its Vancouver premiere.

Roger (Tyson Coady) and Gordon (Andrew Cohen) share a hospital bedside moment

Roger (Tyson Coady) and Gordon (Andrew Cohen) share a hospital bedside moment.

Save for a spattering of inaudible lyrics lost to upstage singing and some occasional overly-loud piano, Tuesday’s preview of A New Brain went off with few hitches.

It’s Finn’s semi-autobiographical story of a song-writer, Gordon Schwinn, who is hospitalized with a life-threatening illness and faces the possibility of not being able to finish the songs he dreams of writing.

Andrew Cohen more than holds his own as the lead Gordon, amid a very strong ensemble cast.  Cohen and Tyson Coady, as his lover, Roger, score some tender romantic moments in both “Just Go” and the reprise of “Sailing.”

Georgia Swinton playing multiple roles as an overly-familiar waitress and as nurse Nancy D. is a delight to watch.

Sabrina Prada as Gordon’s mother Mimi, is a stand-out, and neatly steals the spotlight in the tail half with “Throw It Out” and “Music Still Plays On.”  I can’t wait to see her again soon in more Vancouver productions.

William Finn’s score shines best in the ensemble numbers and choreographer Keri Minty (who I last saw this spring as Sheila in Royal City’s A Chorus Line) really makes the most of them in a balancing act of cohesiveness and controlled chaos.

The show runs for approximately 100 minutes with no intermission at Performance Works on Granville Island until June 21st.  Evening performances: Wed-Sat, June 17th-20, 8pm | Matinees: Sat-Sun, June 20-21, 2pm. Tickets available at http://www.ticketstonight.ca. Students: $15.00 | Adults: $20.00.

A New Brain: Vancouver Premiere

A New Brain

A New Brain, presented by Pipe Dream Theatre Project, previews tonight, June 16th, at Performance Works on Granville Island.   The musical by William Finn (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Falsettos) and James Lapine (Sunday in the Park with George, Into The Woods) is making its Vancouver debut and runs through June 21st.

Inaugural Post

I haven’t blogged in almost a year and I’m planning on making this launch as easy as possible.  I’d hoped to be able to cover Monday night’s Jessie Awards, but I’m still a little behind schedule.  This coming week, however, there are three shows that I’m planning to see and review.

  • Tuesday is the Western Canadian premiere of  A New Brain playing at Performance Works on Granville Island.
  • Wednesday has the Broadway Chorus unleashing The Supermusical on an unsuspecting public at the Waterfront Theatre also on Granville Island.
  • And Thursday is the opening preview of the Art’s Club Altar Boyz at the Granville Island Stage.

You can look forward to more posts and notes about these shows as the week progresses.

I have high hopes for what this week of summer Vancouver musical theatre has to offer.