A New Brain
A New Brain is an autobiographical musical by William Finn, of Falsettos and Spelling Bee fame, concerning his bout with an arteriovenous malformation in his brain and the healing power of art through the character of songwriter Gordon Schwinn. Gordon is working at his piano to meet a deadline, irritated because he must write a song about spring for a children’s television host, Mr. Bungee, who dresses as a frog. Later, at lunch with best friend and agent, Rhoda, Gordon collapses face first into his meal and is taken to the hospital. Gordon’s greatest fear is dying with his best songs still unwritten. Descending upon his hospital room are a hilariously absurd cast of characters: his oppressive mother, his supportive lover, hospital staff, and a wise homeless woman and a hallucination of his haranguing, amphibian boss. Facing his own mortality and awaiting brain surgery, Gordon wrestles with the person he has been, the legacy he will leave behind, and ultimately, the person he will be if he survives.