You guys, I feel so . . . . hmmm what do I say? Blessed, and I don’t mean that in a religious way. I feel like The Drowsy Chaperone was such a gift and now A New Brain is another gift but completely different. I’m the “straight man” in this show. Aldolpho (in Chaperone) was insane and so over the top and as Roger (in Brain), I’m so subdued. It’s a really fantastic contrast to my time in Vancouver. I’m the emotional rock of this piece. It’s nice. I get to sing these extraordinary songs (one of which is one of the most well-known in the score – SAILING) and be a support for the wonderful Steven Gallagher. He is playing the lead, Gordon. People, if you don’t know him, you should. He is one of my favourite performers. So committed, so open, so hard-working and so joyful. Not to mention talented as hell. I play his lover and I think that, because we have such a great rapport as friends, we are able to go right to finding the core and heart of the relationship of these two men. As soon as I heard that Mitchell Marcus (the producing dynamo behind Acting Upstage) was doing the show, I knew that Steven was the perfect person for the part and he has not let anyone down. Come see the show just for him alone.
But if he wasn’t enough (and I guarantee it, he is) the rest of the cast is fantastic. Again, I can’t believe I’ve gotten to work with two fantastic, extraordinarily talented casts in a row. Barbara Barsky as Gordon’s mother is so right for this part. She just gets it and I haven’t even seen a lot of her big numbers yet but she already had us in tears (both of laughter and heart-break) with two lines. Juan Chioran should just be given the Dora already as Mr. Bungee, Gordon’s boss – F U N N Y ! ! ! Patricia Zentilli is quirky and sweet and fierce and complicated as Rhoda, Gordon’s friend and agent. Steve Ross, the unbelievable Steve Ross, as Richard the nurse, is funny, interesting, yearning, sad, joyous. Paula Wolfson who’s playing Lisa, the homeless lady, sang through her big solo for the first time and I was forced to throw my shoe at her (the North American black people sign for “you betta sing, bee-atch!”). AM-OW-ZING!! Plus the fresh on the scene Parris Greaves, Jonathan Tan, and Allie Hughes – all of whom are wonderful and ready to explode onto the scene. Kick-ass, y’all.
And I just have to say that Darryl Cloran, our director, is a jewel. Truly. He came in knowing what this show was about, what he wanted to do, how we all connected, who we all are in the scenes, what the arc of the show is. But at the same time, totally open to what we had to say and offer. It’s been a complete joy.
I’m not in a lot of the choreographed numbers but the ones I’m in, are looking so great. It’s a pleasure to watch Marc Kimelman, our choreographer do his thing. He’s young and vibrant and has beautiful and fun ideas and is not afraid to go “no, that doesn’t work, let’s scrap that and do this instead”. I totally respect that. It’s all about what is right for the show and for the moment and he seems totally on board. And the rest of the cast who are in the bigger numbers (which I haven’t seen yet) have said they are fantastic so I eagerly await.
Anyway, I feel like I’m gushing . . . . oh wait, I guess I am. But those of you who know me know and as I’ve said before – I won’t bullshit you. I may not always tell you the whole truth (as I’ve said, I don’t need to hurt or offend anyone cruelly) but I will always try to be as honest as I can about what I do say in my blog. Promise.
So I say this, come and see this show. Not because I’m in it. . . . well, not JUST because I’m in it. But because it’s a really cool, fascinating, bizarre show with and amazing cast, great design, exciting creative team and a really touching story – with lots of laughs. Now, having said that, it could all be shitty in the end . . . but I don’t think it will be.