Gordon Schwinn is the frustrated composer of a children’s TV show who, on one otherwise ordinary day, collapses into his lunch and wakes up in the hospital. As doctors and nurses fly in and out of his room, trying to figure out what’s wrong with his brain, Gordon drifts in and out of consciousness as he contemplates his life, legacy, and the meaning of music—all while navigating his relationships with his best friend, mother, and boyfriend. Oh, and he’s also being haunted by Mr. Bungee, an imaginary frog and the star of the children’s show he’s supposed to be composing for. A semi-autobiographical musical by Tony Award-winning composer William Finn, A New Brain features Finn’s signature lyricism and is an unexpectedly funny, relatable, and ultimately touching meditation on how beautiful the world is when we slow down enough to look.
Riley McNutt is a familiar face to Artistry audiences, having taken on such roles as Marius in Les Miserables and Motel in Fiddler on the Roof . He was most recently seen in 2018's Noises Off (Lloyd Dallas) and Candide. Riley's other Twin Cities credits include Theatre Latté Da, Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, Trademark Theater, and the Ordway.
C Ryan Shipley played Bert in last fall's production of Mary Poppins. His other Artistry credits include The Music Man (Olin Britt), The Drowsy Chaperone (Robert Martin), Singin' in the Rain (Don Lockwood) On the Town (Gabey), 42nd Street (Billy Lawlor), and Thoroughly Modern Millie (Jimmy), among others. He has also appeared at Park Square Theater, Paul Bunyan Playhouse, and the Old Log Theater.
Bradley Greenwald last appeared at Artistry in 2018's production of Follies (Benjamin Stone). He also led The Baker's Wife (Aimable Castagnet). Bradley is one of the Twin Cities most beloved actors, with credits including Jungle Theater, Guthrie Theater, and Theatre Latté Da, among numerous others. This is, interestingly, not the first time he has played a frog: Bradley played Frog in A Year With Frog and Toad at Children's Theater Company.
Mary Palazzolo, Caitin Burns, Sarah DeYong, and Reese Britts also return to Artistry for A New Brain. Mary Palazzolo was last seen in Footloose (Lulu Warnicker) and also played Paulette Bonafonté in Legally Blonde. Caitlin Burns played Sally Durant-Plummer in Follies, as well as Mrs. Brill in Mary Poppins and Belinda Blair in Noises Off. Sarah DeYong is most recognizable to Artistry audiences as Amalia Balash in She Loves Me; she also appeared in Legally Blonde and Follies (Young Heidi). Reese Britts returns to Artistry for the second time after playing Willard Hewitt in Footloose this summer.
Jen Burleigh-Bentz, Rodolfo Nieto, and Evan Tyler Wilson also all make their Artistry debut in A New Brain. Jen Burleigh-Bentz appeared on Broadway in Mamma Mia as Tanya, and her local credits include Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Duluth Playhouse, and the Ordway. Rodolfo Nieto is an accomplished opera and musical theater performer who has appeared in the Twin Cities with Minnesota Opera, Theatre Latté Da, and Mill City Summer Opea. Evan Tyler Wilson was a part of the Drama Desk-award-winning Off-Broadway Company of All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914. He has also been seen at Asolo Rep, Theatre Latté Da, and Chanhassen Dinner Theatres.