Wednesday 18th May - Saturday 21st May 2011
Supporting new talent
EXIT STAGE LEFT Proudly Presents
A SPECTACULAR MUSICAL COMEDY
MUSIC AND LYRICS BY WILLIAM
FINN BOOK BY WILLIAM FINN AND JAMES LAPINE VOCAL ARRANGEMENTS BY JASON ROBERT BROWN An amateur production by kind permission of Samuel French Ltd Originally Produced by Lincoln Centre Theatre, New York City
Directed by ALISON McCAUSLAND
Co-Director JAMES MOORE
Musical Director HARRY BURT
Lighting Design by JAMES SELLICK
Sound Design by TIM REID
Publicity Material by MARK SELLICK
Please be advised that due to copyright restrictions and for the safety of actors on stage, the use of flash photography and/or video and audio recording equipment of any kind is strictly prohibited. Flashing lights (including strobe lighting) may be used throughout this performance. Should you have any concerns, please alert a member of the front of house team. Exit Stage Left are proud to be supporting There will be an exit collection at all performances of A New Brain.
Supporting new talent
A New Brain is entered for The Bristol Evening Post Rose Bowl Awards 2011
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CRAIG CAMPBELL LIVE Thurs 26th May - 8:00PM
We are here today thanks to the generosity of the BBC Performing Arts Fund without whom this production would never have happened. It has given us a fabulous opportunity to develop what is already a very talented group, an opportunity which would not normally present itself due to financial constraints. The grant was part of a funding pot from the BBC Performing Arts Fund which aims to help groups realise more ambitious projects. It will also help with our July production of Seussical as all profits from A New Brain will go towards the costumes and performance rights for the show. All in all this grant has helped over 50 people and we cannot thank the BBC Performing Arts fund enough. The only date we could get The Rondo Theatre, before the spending deadline, was this week so we had to get our skates on. Our frantic rehearsal schedule began in February and has passed in the blink of an eye with much of the rehearsal time spent working on the difficult harmonies.
Birnbeck Actors Company
COOKING WITH ELVIS Fri 27th May - 8:00PM
CLIVE GREGSON Sat 28th May - 8:00PM
Bish Bash Bosh Productions and Iron Shoes Theatre
SURFING TOMMIES Wed 1st June - 8:00PM
I can’t thank enough all the people who have worked on-stage and off to make this production happen. Harry has proved to be an excellent find as Musical Director, working wonders with a cast who have never performed anything this challenging before. James has been a tower of strength, helping direct and choreograph this show, helping me bring to life a script that is almost bereft of directions and descriptions. Hannah has also found time to assist with some of the choreography despite training for her Grade 6 Ballet exam, and her GCSE’s. Mark, has worked tirelessly on the programme and publicity material, as well as finding sponsors to pay for the printing of the programme. I am sure you agree that he has done a super job. A huge thank you must go to Gerry Hunt, without whom, this show wouldn’t have happened. We found out about the BBC grant on his website Musical Theatre Connections South West and it was Gerry who suggested asking Harry to be our Musical Director, something that we will be eternally grateful for. He also introduced us to Nicky, Orion and our sound designer, Tim. I would also like to thank Peasedown Youth Centre and Westfield Methodist Church for providing us with excellent rehearsal space. Please support our chosen charity, Sue Ryder, by giving in to the homeless lady’s demands for change! There will also be a retiring collection after the performance. I would like to thank you all for joining us at The Rondo Theatre. I hope you enjoy our attempt to bring you something different, risky and exciting.
The Rondo Theatre St. Saviours Road Bath BA1 6RT Theatre Director Ian McGlynn Box Office 01225 463362 Main Office 01225 444003 www.rondotheatre.co.uk
ALISON McCAUSLAND Director, Exit Stage Left
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THE LONG-RUNNING MUSICAL OF WILLIAM FINN’S LIFE BY ELLEN PALL, THE NEW YORK TIMES It was, and is, a striking face; heavy eyebrows slightly tented with concentration, high, narrow forehead, spectacles halfway down an owlish nose, thick neck sloping gently into his shoulders, then on along the same angle into a lumpy, tactful indistinctness. Bulky and awkward, he walks with a strange, teeter-tottering gait. He fumbles a dozen times simply preparing a cup of tea. He gestures expansively, speaks loudly and generally seems to take up more room than his mere mass would explain. He loves to laugh, and to make others laugh. He also appears to be missing a few of the protective social filters people usually keep between themselves and the world. He will flatly declare a startling truth, “I’m more talented than most people”, then look surprised when it startles.
At the start of A New Brain, Gordon Schwinn meets a friend for lunch. Half way through, he puts down his fork, sings woozily, “Something is... very... very... wrong,” and collapses. In May 1992, when he accepted two Tony awards for his first Broadway show, Falsettos, something was also very wrong with William Finn. He sometimes felt so dizzy that he couldn’t stand. For the next six months, he would play tag with death, a harrowing chase that unexpectedly left him with what he calls a new brain. Falsettos was a fusion of earlier musicals about a charming but self-absorbed man named Marvin who leaves his wife for another man. The wife runs off with Marvin’s psychiatrist; the new lover eventually dies of aids. Finn is as much a child of his generation as he is of traditional musical theatre. A William Finn show is an event, because of the galvanic, indelible effect his work can have on an audience. His biting, peculiarly idiomatic lyrics are twisted with irony and subtext. The words don’t always rhyme, and the subjects of the songs are as unorthodox as the story. Finn’s brilliant form first bowled critics over in 1981, when his March of the Falsettos made its debut Off Broadway. “The songs are so fresh that the show is only a few bars old before one feels the unmistakable, revivifying charge of pure talent,” Frank Rich wrote of it in The New York Times. Nine years later, Finn’s Off Broadway follow-up Falsettoland found even greater acclaim as a unique statement of its moment. Still, Falsettos won its Tony Awards greatly against the odds. Subversive, neurotic, funny, tragic and, like Finn, Jewish and gay. It was a breakthrough for Finn, his first taste of Broadway glamour, mainstream visibility, real money. After the Tonys were announced, his face was everywhere; in magazines, in newspapers and on television.
“Bill is just not like anybody I know,” says James Lapine, Finn’s longtime co-librettist, who also directed several of his shows. “He’s so unedited. You always know what he feels.” And indeed, minutes after we first meet, near a rehearsal room at Lincoln Center, Finn blurts out his fear. “Is it squishy?” he demands. We have just seen an early run-through of A New Brain, and now he wonders if it has enough grit. Is it funny? Soft? Schmaltzy, God forbid? The trouble with Finn’s brain announced itself over the course of a year in a hundred ways. Apart from the dizziness and the swift decline of his vision, his legs would sometimes jerk up and down of their own accord. He jumped into the sea one day and suddenly couldn’t swim. Yet, “denial is so strong,” he says, “I really didn’t think there was anything wrong with me.” His eccentricities masked the trouble. Lapine remembers laughing: he would clutch at the seats on the aisles of the theater where Falsettos was playing, or prop himself up on the buildings outside. Finn laughed too, and blamed his neuroses. When his legs acted up, he says, “I thought: You have to relax. You’re a wreck!” It was his vision though that finally drove him to a doctor in August 1992. Months earlier, he says: “I had gotten to the point where I could only see a tiny bit, out of the bottom of my eyes. Everything else was white. I’d sometimes walk around like this.” He tilts his bearded chin high in the air, first to the left, then to the right. “If you see tapes of me being interviewed around then, I look like a crazy person.” The visit to his ophthalmologist triggered a rapid series of urgent consultations. Something, it was soon clear, was blocking the flow of fluid around his brain, causing it to accumulate in his skull, a condition that can lead to coma, brain damage and death. The first reading of a CAT scan suggested an inoperable tumor. Finn wrote his will. Then he checked into New York University Hospital, where a shunt was inserted to drain the excess liquid.
Unexpectedly, he woke up from the procedure with half his face paralyzed. “This was the worst night of my life,” he says. “I still thought I had a tumor, and I thought it had taken over. I said, ‘Could you give me some painkillers?’ And the nurses said, ‘Sure!’ And when they said that,” he laughs, “I knew I was a dead man.” It turned out he had an arteriovenous malformation, or AVM, a congenital plumbing error that allows blood from an artery to flow directly into a vein, gradually creating a mass of tissue, which was what had blocked the fluid in Finn’s head. Because the AVM was in his brain stem, conventional surgery would be too dangerous; he was referred to the University of Virginia Hospital for Gamma Knife surgery (a form of radiation). He didn’t make it to Virginia just then, however. Finn was out of the hospital only a few days when his AVM hemorrhaged. Now, whenever he tried to stand up, he would “tip over.” Back in the hospital again, “Every night, I dreamed of standing,” he remembers. “Lapine would visit and say: ‘Oh, good, you’re in a walker! We’ll have a walker song.’ He’d say, ‘Take it down, take it down,’ meaning keep notes so you can write about this later. But I was dying. I wasn’t taking anything down.”
at the hospital constantly. After Finn’s hemorrhage, his doctors decided to inject glue into the vessels of the AVM to plug it up. A first attempt failed. In preparation for a second, he was kept in bed for two weeks, hopped up on steroids, which made him hallucinate. In September 1992, he had the Gamma surgery, which obliterated the AVM.
Lapine was only one of a crowd who surrounded Finn during his ordeal. Finn is famously loyal to his friends and family. He grew up the oldest of three children in a comfortably middle-class home, and started composing on a guitar he was given for his bar mitzvah. At College, he majored in literature and American civilization, but wrote, directed and sang in musicals for fun. He moved to New York in 1976 and was soon surrounded by first-rate young singers eager to hitch their careers to his talent.
A New Brain began as a sudden spate of creativity during Finn’s recuperation. “I would get to the middle of one song and it would suggest another. I was in a groove. The music had a pop feel that I didn’t find irritating.” In other words, words sung by Mr. Bungee toward the end of the show, “What once seemed boorish and hokey, now seems incredibly okey-dokey.” The first song he wrote was ‘I Feel So Much Spring’, the song that Gordon is wrestling with as a A New Brain starts, and that in its completed form ends the show. Lapine invented Mr. Bungee; the medical information grew less accurate and more funny. As Lapine suggested, a song about using walkers was written, tried, then thrown out. But the life-affirming ‘Spring’ song stayed. “If you try to articulate what the show’s about,” Lapine admits, “it’s so cliched, but what makes it unique is that it is told through Bill’s voice.”
“People orbited him,” says Chip Zien, who had major roles in the Falsetto shows and A New Brain. “I think they thought he had magical powers of songwriting.” Zien himself dropped a perfectly good role in an established show to appear in In Trousers, Finn’s first New York show. “When I met him,” he says, “I basically thought Bill was crazy. He was sitting there at my audition, this gigantic person, and he started screaming at me: ‘Do it again! Do it with your hands in your pockets!’ But I felt it was somehow the wave of the future, this wild, funny, strange, very original music.” In Trousers made its debut in 1979. It flopped; but a year or so later, Finn met Lapine, who had just directed a play of his own. Around this same time, Finn also met Arthur Salvadore, with whom he has shared his life ever since. Salvadore, a businessman, figures in A New Brain as Roger Delli-Bovi, Gordon’s patient, responsible lover. Finn’s mother was his greatest enthusiast, also figures largely in the piece; with the rest of his family, she was
After the radiation, Finn experienced a year or so of unprecedented serenity. “This was the time that I felt I had the new brain,” he says. “A new way of thinking. Simplifying, not being cynical. All these embarrassing things to say that are actually true.” Before he got his new brain, Finn says, “The littlest things used to bother me. I’d stand at the elevator and curse it.” He laughs. “Now I thought: ‘Everything’s wonderful. The elevator’s taking its own time, and don’t rush it.’ Nothing irritated me. I was dancing around the city.” After the radiation, “I felt like a totally new person, given a second amazing chance,” he says. Before, “I had always felt either superior or inferior, outside normal interaction. Now for the first time, I felt a part of the human race.”
“I don’t think A New Brain is without spikiness,” he says. “But it’s tempered. The lyrics; I was no longer afraid to say simple things simply. You can be rueful and dark and ironic and say these simple things cleverly,” he adds. But to let a song flow directly from the heart is harder. “I don’t know that I could have achieved this in earlier days.” Originally published in The New York Times on June 14th 2008. Adapted for inclusion within this programme, the original article is available in full online, at www.nytimes.com
Supporting new talent Exit Stage Left have been extrememly fortunate to be awarded funding from the BBC Performing Arts Fund to stage A New Brain. This has given the actors and actresses you are watching on stage at this performance an incredible opportunity to develop both their professional and personal skills. The funding has enabled the cast to work with highly experienced and talented musicians, has assisted with the production costs, and has allowed the group to communicate the show’s themes and values to a much wider audience than would normally be possible. The performing arts scene in the UK has some of the most exciting and determined performers, yet some of these talents will never achieve their dreams because of a lack of money. This is where the BBC Performing Arts Fund comes in. As a registered charity (number 1101276), it was established in 2003 and is now the largest UK funder of Musical Theatre training within the charitable sector, and the only BBC charity devoted to ensuring the creative dreams of struggling artists across the nation through revenue from the voting lines of BBC One entertainment programmes such as Over the Rainbow. Since 2003 it has helped over 1,000 individuals with funding, instruments, training and development as well as helping 98 choirs by funding community projects and commissions of new music. It has now awarded over £3m of funding to aspiring musicians and performers across a range of genres over 7 years. The Fund’s mission is to seek out and support excellent aspiring performers and those directly supporting performing artists, who for reasons of lack of existing opportunity, personal background or circumstance, would not have been able to achieve their most ambitious goals, or their talent’s greatest potential without the Fund’s support or intervention. The Fund is run by a high profile and experienced Board of Trustees including Sir Paul McCartney and Alan Yentob, Creative Director of the BBC. Dorothy Wilson, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Midlands Arts Centre Birmingham, chairs the Fund. Further information, including how to apply for funding can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/performingartsfund
WILLIAM FINN MUSIC, LYRICS AND BOOK William Finn was Tony Nominated for his score in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee that premiered in the West End earlier this year. He is the writer/composer of Falsettos (two Tony Awards: Best Book of a Musical [with James Lapine] and Best Original Score). He has written/composed In Trousers (L.A. Drama Critics Award), March of the Falsettos (Outer Critics Circle Award for outstanding Musical, L.A. Drama Critics Award), Falsettoland (two Drama Desk Awards and Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical), Romance in Hard Times (Public Theater), A New Brain (Lincoln Center/Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical) and Elegies: A Song Cycle (Lincoln Center). He graduated from Williams College, where he was awarded the Hutchinson Fellowship in Musical Composition, and currently teaches a weekly master class at NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.
JAMES LAPINE BOOK James Lapine collaborated with Stephen Sondheim on Into The Woods, Sunday in the Park with George, a revised version of Merrily We Roll Along and, most recently, Passion. He collaborated with William Finn on the musicals March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, which were later presented on Broadway as Falsettos and A New Brain. He has written and directed the plays Luck, Pluck and Virtue;
Twelve Dreams; Table Settings; and adapted Gertrude Stein’s poem/play Photograph. He has also directed The Winter’s Tale and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the New York Shakespeare Festival and directed the films Impromptu and Life With Mikey. Lapine’s work has been recognised with both Tony, Drama Desk Obie and NY Drama Critics Circle awards, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Sunday in the Park With George.
JASON ROBERT BROWN VOCAL ARRANGEMENTS Jason Robert Brown has been hailed as “one of Broadway’s smartest and most sophisticated songwriters since Stephen Sondheim” (Philadelphia Inquirer), and his “extraordinary, jubilant theatre music“ (Chicago Tribune) has been heard all over the world, whether in one of the hundreds of productions of his musicals every year or in his own live performances. He made his Broadway debut as a composer with Parade and received the 1999 Tony Award for Best Score. His first musical, Songs for a New World, debuted Off-Broadway at the WPA Theatre in 1995. For his work on that show and others in progress at the time, Brown received the 1996 Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Musical Theatre Award. He also has worked as arranger for William Finn’s A New Brain, as orchestrator for Andrew Lippa’s John & Jen and Yoko Ono’s New York Rock, and as musical director for Michael John LaChiusa’s The Petrified Prince and Howard Crabtree’s When Pigs Fly. Other projects include The Moneyman Dances, a musical
about Michael Milkmen, and the American national tour of his first Broadway show, Parade.
ALISON McCAUSLAND DIRECTOR Alison’s passion for theatre has seen her appear with various different groups in the past, including Coleford Theatre Group and Platform 8, but her fondest memories were of the hugely successful Musical Youth Theatre Company, which Alison was a part of for many years. When Musical Youth folded in 2002, Alison set about establishing a drama group of her own. Her intention was to set up a group that gave everyone a chance to shine, no matter what their age, background or acting ability. She wanted to help young people develop both their personal and professional skills, but at the same time wanted the group to be fun and provide the foundations for life-long friendships. Alison has been so successful in her efforts that in 2008 she was presented with the Bath and North East Somerset Woman Who Makes a Difference Award. Since Exit Stage Left has been established, Alison has brought hundreds of young people together to perform high quality theatrical entertainment to the Norton Radstock community. It has long been one of Alison’s ambitions to stage something in Bath with the group, an ambition that is being realised this week with A New Brain. As well as directing, Alison has also appeared in many of the group’s productions to date, with roles including Bridget in A Slice of Saturday Night, Barbara in Billy, Widow Corney in Oliver! and
Ronnette in Little Shop of Horrors. Alison’s favourite role to date was the part of Linda, alongside Andrew Knowles and Mark Sellick as Mickey and Edward in A Tribute to Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers back in 2006. The entire cast and crew of A New Brain would like to extend a massive thank you to Alison, for the time and dedication she has put in to ensure the production you are watching this week is a great success. We will all be in debt to her for years to come, not only for bringing us all together in the first place, but for ensuring that, through the great time had by all, we keep coming back for more.
HARRY BURT MUSICAL DIRECTOR A New Brain is Harry Burt’s third foray into Musical Directing, after West Side Story with Full Tilt Theatre at the beautiful Minack in Cornwall (“you should go, it’s the most magical place in the world”) and Curtains at Scotch Horn with Nailsea Musicals. Both shows were incredibly rewarding and Harry suspects he has finally found his purpose. (Spot the geeky Avenue Q reference!) No stranger to the stage, Harry has played a number of gormless saps, from Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Jack in Into the Woods, Toby in Menotti’s The Medium (the best part in any atonal opera is clearly the mute!) and Anthony in Sweeney Todd. He has played letharios and womanisers from Bobby in Company, The Fox in Stravinsky’s Reynard, and Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods. Other roles included “all round nice guys” Collins in Rent and Curly in Oklahoma.
This is Harry’s first ever Exit Stage Left production, after becoming aware of them with their production of I Love You Because, which he saw in a little village hall in Kilmersdon. He loved the production and was surprised and excited by the talent of the performers on show. He stayed in touch with the group after that, watching Just So and West End Comes to Norton, while they, in turn, faithfully watched everything he did. When Harry was approached to musically direct A New Brain, he jumped at the chance to work on such a unique and interesting show with such a talented cast in such a beautiful venue. Who wouldn’t? He knows you’ll think it was worth it. Harry is very proud to be involved in the show, and has been surprised and delighted with the progress and dedication of the whole cast throughout rehearsals. He is amazed at how so many people who have never sung together before have blended so well. Harry says: “I hope you love watching it as much as we have enjoyed putting it on”. In the (slightly amended) words of Neil Gaiman, “this performance is dedicated to you”.
JAMES SELLICK LIGHTING DESIGNER James has been heavily involved in technical theatre over the past three years, as he is currently studying Theatre Production at Bath Spa University, covering all aspects of stage management, lighting, sound, set design and construction. James has previously designed the lighting for shows at Bath Spa University, including King Lear, 28 Laburnum Lane and Beast. He was also lighting designer for Writhlington School’s full-scale
musical production of My Fair Lady late last year. James has worked and performed in many musicals before, ranging from sound designer for Fiddler on the Roof and A Little Night Music to playing Bill Sykes in Oliver! and the voice of Audrey II, the plant in Little Shop of Horrors. This is the first show where James has been on the technical side of an Exit Stage Left production. When he graduates this summer, he hopes to go further into stage management or become a theatre technician. Ultimately, he hopes to be able to get a full-time job in a theatre... eventually.
TIM REID SOUND DESIGNER Tim is thrilled to be joining Exit Stage Left at The Rondo Theatre this week as part of the A New Brain team. Tim has produced and directed many shows and tours over the last fifteen years, as well as performing in many. He has been touring Europe and Asia with his Tribute Bands this year, but is looking forward to a whole week in the South West on the other side of the stage, looking after Sound with the talented performers of Exit Stage Left. We would like to thank Tim for working with some of the group’s younger members throughout show week, passing on his extensive knowledge of all things technical.
ANDREW ENGLISH GORDON MICHAEL SCHWINN Andrew grew up in Bath and after studying at Beechen Cliff School and Bath College he went on to read Performing Arts at Winchester University. After living in London for short while, he began to feel homesick and missed his family and friends terribly, so he moved back to Bath. (He also ran out of money!) Andrew has been performing from a very early age, starting out in ITV’s Junior Drama Workshop, then known as HTV, where he had the opportunity to work with Rolf Harris on Rolf’s Cartoon Club. To this day he still considers this to be his career highlight. More recently he has appeared in Exit Stage Left’s West End Comes to Norton, playing the role of Emmett in the Legally Blonde section and a number of gigs with vocal harmony group Upfront and Casual. Since moving back to Bath, Andrew has been a member of many groups in the area, most notably playing Curly in Oklahoma! with Keynsham Light Opera Group, where he was nominated for a Rose Bowl award for Best Actor, and as Pirelli in Bath Light Opera Group’s production of Sweeney Todd. On top of performing, Andrew is currently on the Graduate Teaching Programme at the University of Bath, training to be an English and Drama teacher. He has already secured a permanent position at a secondary school in Swindon and we wish him the very best of luck. It’s been a hectic time for him studying and rehearsing for A New Brain but he knows it will all be worth it in the end! Where does he find the time?! A New Brain is one of Andrew’s all time favourite musicals since stumbling across it way back in 2003. He has wanted to perform the show ever since, so he is thrilled to be playing the part of Gordon and to be part of such a great company. We have had a blast in rehearsals! Andrew would like to dedicate his performance to his parents and his Nan for all the support they have given him over the years. Andrew is kindly sponsored by Geoff and Christine English.
FRANCESCA BEST MIMI SCHWINN, THE MOTHER Francesca initially trained at the Rambert School of Ballet where she attained a Diploma in Classical Ballet and Related Arts. Her career with the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, was predominantly as a character dancer, roles included The Maiden in Rite of Spring. After starting a family Francesca began her vocal training and quickly began a career as an oratorio singer, performing at churches and festivals predominantly in North Rhein Westfalia, Germany. Repertoire included sacred works by W. A. Mozart including the Requiem, countless Cantatas by J. S. Bach including the St John’s Passion, as well as works by Telemann, Händel, Schütz and Monteverdi amongst others. Francesca returned to England nearly five years ago and is currently studying at Bath Spa University for a degree in Creative Arts. When she heard Exit Stage Left were looking for a mother for their next production A New Brain, she couldn’t resist auditioning and was thrilled to get the part. Francesca always wanted to perform in musical theatre so this opportunity is a dream come true! We are delighted that Francesca is part of our cast for A New Brain; she has brightened up rehearsals with her unique sense of humour, which we are sure will shine through on stage with her portrayal of Gordon’s flamboyant, slightly eccentric Mother, Mimi Schwinn. Francesca is kindly sponsored by Best Vocals www.francescabest.co.uk
NICKY SHIPTON LISA, A HOMELESS LADY This is Nicky’s first production with Exit Stage Left and she is delighted to be playing the part of Lisa, the homeless lady, in this production of A New Brain. Nicky has also been a member of Sodbury Players on and off for many years and recently won Best Supporting Performance at the Avon One Act Festival in the group’s production of Paul Godfrey’s A Bucket of Eels. She has performed in drama, cabaret and pantomime and also directed their production of Billy Liar in 2008. Nicky quite enjoys getting scruffy on stage, one of her favourite parts having been the Smelly Woman in Sodbury Players’ production of Dick Whittington in 1993. Other favourite parts include Helena in Look Back in Anger, Bessy Watty in The Corn is Green, Marie-Louise Durham in The Constant Wife, Anna in The Day After the Fair and Captain Flint the Parrot in Treasure Island. Nicky has also been a member of Backwell Drama Club, taking a break from amateur drama for several years to complete a degree in Theatre and Media Drama and a masters degree in Film Studies. In the last year of her degree Nicky co-directed the Wales Actors’ Company’s successful summer touring production of W.Somerset Maugham’s The Noble Spaniard. Nicky then taught film and media in Southampton and Basingstoke for several years before moving back to the South West to work at UWE, Bristol. She no longer teaches and misses class time with the students very much, but loves having her Sundays back! Drama takes up most of Nicky’s spare time but she also enjoys a shimmy on the salsa dance floor with her partner Orion Abbot-Davies, who is playing Richard the nice nurse in the show. Although Nicky has sung on stage before, she has never tackled a musical and is thrilled (and a little scared!) to be given the opportunity to flex her singing muscles in such a challenging show. Nicky would like to thank Exit Stage Left for welcoming her into their fold and hopes to do justice to the wonderful songs in this fabulous musical. Nicky is kindly sponsored by Musical Theatre Connections South West - musicaltheatreconnectionssw.ning.com
ACT I - MUSICAL NUMBERS
(In order of appearance) GORDON MICHAEL SCHWINN Andrew English ...................................................................................... LISA, A HOMELESS LADY Nicky Shipton ...................................................................................... RHODA Vicky Shadwick ...................................................................................... WAITRESS Hannah Long ...................................................................................... MR. BUNGEE Andrew Knowles ...................................................................................... RICHARD, THE NICE NURSE Orion Abbot-Davies ...................................................................................... NANCY, THE THIN NURSE Jessica Withers ...................................................................................... DR. JAFAR BERENSTEINER Michael Bijok ...................................................................................... THE MINISTER Mark Sellick ...................................................................................... ROGER DELLI-BOVI James Moore ...................................................................................... MIMI SCHWINN, THE MOTHER
CALAMARI Gordon, Rhoda, Waitress and Mr. Bungee 911 EMERGENCY/I HAVE SO MANY SONGS Gordon and Company HEART AND MUSIC The Minister, Gordon and Company TROUBLE IN HIS BRAIN The Doctor and Mother MOTHER’S GONNA MAKE THINGS FINE Mother and Gordon BE POLITE TO EVERYONE Mr. Bungee
THE BAND Musical Director/Piano HARRY BURT ...................................................................................... Synthesizers WILL ASHWORTH ...................................................................................... Reeds AL CUBBIN ...................................................................................... Horn STUART PENNEY ...................................................................................... Cello RACHEL BURGESS ...................................................................................... MATT SHEARD
FROGS HAVE SO MUCH SPRING Gordon
I’D RATHER BE SAILING Roger and Gordon FAMILY HISTORY Nancy, Richard and Mother GORDO’S LAW OF GENETICS Company AND THEY’RE OFF Gordon with Company
SUE RYDER Sue Ryder provides end of life and long-term care for people living with conditions including; Cancer, Stroke, Brain Injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Dementia, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Motor Neurone Disease. Founded in 1953, the charity has a long and distinguished history of delivering care and today operates hospices, neurological care centres, homecare and community based services nationwide. We would like to personally thank Exit Stage Left for choosing Sue Ryder to be the beneficiary of this wonderful production of A New Brain. This musical is fresh, exciting and shows enormous strength and this mirrors the work of Sue Ryder. There will be an exit collection, and we ask that you donate as much as you can to help us continue to deliver the specialist care - Thank you. AMBER ANDREWS Area Fundraising Manager, Sue Ryder
ROGER ARRIVES/JUST GO Gordon Mother, Rhoda and Roger OPERATION TOMORROW Richard POOR, UNSUCCESSFUL AND FAT Richard, Gordon and Mr. Bungee SITTING BECALMED IN THE LEE OF CUTTYHUNK Company CRANIOTOMY The Doctor, Nancy and The Minister AN INVITATION TO SLEEP IN MY ARMS Gordon, Roger, Rhoda and Mother
ACT II - MUSICAL NUMBERS
A NEW BRAIN - SYNOPSIS
Gordon Schwinn is unhappy - he’s a composer who wants to write great symphonies and Broadway shows, but he’s stuck writing patronising children’s songs for Mister Bungee’s Lily Pad, an inane TV show hosted by a man wearing a frog costume.
YES Gordon, Mr. Bungee and Company IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM Gordon and Mother THROW IT OUT Mother IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM (REPRISE) Gordon and Mother A REALLY LOUSY DAY IN THE UNIVERSE Lisa and Roger BRAIN DEAD Gordon and Roger WHENEVER I DREAM Rhoda and Gordon EATING MYSELF UP ALIVE Richard with Company THE MUSIC STILL PLAYS ON Mother DON’T GIVE IN Mr. Bungee, Gordon, Roger, Rhoda and Mother YOU BOYS ARE GONNA GET ME IN SO MUCH TROUBLE/I’D RATHER BE SAILING (REPRISE) Richard, Roger and Gordon THE HOMELESS LADY’S REVENGE Lisa, Gordon and Roger TIME Roger and Gordon TIME AND MUSIC The Minister, Gordon and Company I FEEL SO MUCH SPRING Gordon, Lisa, The Minister and Company
His life is a mess; he can’t get on with his mother, his partner or his friends. Things can’t continue like this. One day at a restaurant he collapses face-first into his pasta. Diagnosed with a brain condition which may kill him, offered an operation which may do the same, Gordon is suddenly out of time. What’s important to him? Love, music, friends, or the approval of Mister Bungee? Does he live? Does he live or die? Will he really get a new brain? From the moment you meet Gordon, you’ll see life as he sees it. Some of the people on stage are rarely, if ever, ‘really there’; Gordon’s inner and outer worlds collide in a fantastic spectacle which mirrors the Broadway stage he loves so much. Do we really know what Mister Bungee is like? Why would professional hospital staff burst into song and dance? Why would a homeless lady be allowed in to accompany them? Identifying what’s real and what isn’t is part of the fun. What’s real enough is the inspiration for the story: the true-life experiences of the show’s composer, William Finn. Days after accepting his Tony awards for an earlier show, Finn was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Fortunately, this turned out to be a misdiagnosis, and he underwent successful treatment for the same condition Gordon suffers within the show. Finn’s career has gone from strength to strength; but will Gordon’s story end as happily?
JAMES MOORE ROGER DELLI-BOVI James joined Exit Stage Left almost right at its inception. After being headhunted by Alison, the group’s Director, James was coerced into performing in ESL’s premiere production. James likes to pretend that he had to beat off offers from other local groups because of his talent, but in actual fact Alison just needed more boys, and thus the beautiful and wonderful relationship began. Ali and James would work together on many occasions after the first show where James ‘starred’ in some rather revealing shorts, and over time Alison learned about James’ kleptomaniac tendencies; props would go missing, costumes disappear and we still don’t know the whereabouts of a couple of rather large set pieces. Although there are many hilarious and ‘programme worthy’ accounts of how the pair gallivant around the country, the duo would be lost without their third amigo, Vicky. The trio create havoc wherever they are; tube trains, mazes, dungeons and theatres, leaving chaos in their path. James is delighted to finally have the chance to not play Vicky’s boyfriend, but is worried that she hasn’t fully understood the concept and might have to have words with her before the constant kissing and touching in rehearsals becomes too much. James is a master of many trades; after directing and producing the South West’s, no, the Country’s most adventurous production of My Fair Lady at Writhlington School, an amazing accomplishment for one so young, James discovered he had a taste for directing. He put down his paint brush and exercised his creative talents by co-directing A New Brain with Alison. James is a local lad and, after completing his training at Birmingham School of Acting, he returned to the school he attended to become a teacher of Drama. James loves teaching and is delighted that he can give something back to the school that first introduced him to acting. Since his return James has kept his feet on the stage, performing with Next Stage, BODS and of course, Exit Stage Left. James would like to thank Nathan for filling in at rehearsals and for saying it as it is. James is kindly sponsored by Old Meadow Properties.
VICKY SHADWICK RHODA Vicky is a founder member of Exit Stage Left who has not only appeared in our productions but has also helped run rehearsals from a very early age - even though she was half way through her GSCE’s at the time she joined the group. She has played a number of diverse roles over the years, including a heart rending performance of Mrs Johnstone in A Tribute to Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers which reduced the audience to tears. She recently played Elle in our excerpts from Legally Blonde - a complete contrast to Mrs Johnstone, showing her versatility as a performer. Her favourite role to date has been Marcy Fitzwilliams in the South West premiere production of I Love You Because back in 2009. She loved everything about the show, from rehearsals to the performances and would love to put it on again, for a second time, one day… Watch this space! Although she has found it challenging, Vicky has thoroughly enjoyed rehearsing for A New Brain and feels she has learnt so much in such a short space of time. She has never had to tackle such difficult harmonies before, but has done remarkably well. Vicky would like to thank James Moore and Mark Sellick for allowing her to sit next to them at rehearsals and copy exactly what they were singing. She is, however, devastated that her character doesn’t kiss anybody, specifically James Moore, at any point in the show. Vicky has just completed her first year as a reception teacher in Glastonbury, after completing her PGCE at Bath Spa University. She is absolutely loving it, despite being shattered at the end of each day. Although Vicky loves teaching, if she won the Lottery she’d give it all up to spend all day, every day shopping. Vicky is kindly sponsored by Reboot Computer Services www.rebootltd.com
JESSICA WITHERS NANCY, THE THIN NURSE Jessica is one of the original members of Exit Stage Left, after having appeared in the group’s first production Let Me Entertain You back in 2002, aged nine. Since then, Jessica has gone on to have leading roles in a number of our productions, including Addaperle in The Wiz, the title role in our 2006 Pantomime Cinderella, Queenie, the posh cat in Honk!, Sandra in A Slice of Saturday Night and Diana in I Love You Because. A dedicated member of the group, she has also performed in our talent shows and fundraisers over the years. Along with other members of Exit Stage Left, Jessica regularly appears with Encore Northenders Theatre Company in Batheaston, where she has played roles such as Rita in Billy Liar and the title role in the group’s 2009 Rose Bowl Award winning Pantomime, Sleeping Beauty. She will be appearing in their upcoming Pizzazz cabaret, as they celebrate sixty years of music, dance and comedy, raising funds for a much needed new Village Hall. We were very lucky to have Jessica join the cast of A New Brain half way through the rehearsal period. She is thrilled to be playing the part of Nancy, the perfect role for her as she is no stranger to the medical uniform; Jessica is currently in her first year of studying Midwifery at the University of the West of England, in Bristol. We are all very proud of her, as she has already delivered no less than thirteen babies - hopefully though, there won’t be anyone in the audience giving birth throughout the run! Jessica is kindly sponsored by Focus Interiors www.focusinteriorsltd.co.uk
ORION ABBOT-DAVIES RICHARD, THE NICE NURSE Orion joins us from Bristol where he has been involved in Amateur Dramatics since 2008. Although this is his first musical, his first experience on stage was in the Sodbury Players 2008 Pantomime Treasure Island where he played the part of Blind Pew, the bearer of the black spot. The first line he ever said was “I have a surprise for one of you!” and that surprise turned out to be a rapidly growing love of amateur dramatics, both on and off stage. Orion went on to direct the 2009 Sodbury Players One Act Festival Play Samaritans, Can I help you? which was nominated for Best Dramatic Endeavour and won Best Supporting Actor. Later he joined the main cast of Daisy Pulls It Off as Mr Scoblowski, the enigmatic Russian music teacher, and then took a place on the Sodbury Players committee as Public Relations Officer and Box Office Manager for the farce Don’t Dress For Dinner. His first major leading role was in 2010 as Alfred Doolittle in Pygmalion where he really enjoyed getting to grips with this larger than life character and his cockney accent. His most recent role was as King Rumbletum in the Sodbury Players 2011 Pantomime Sleeping Beauty where he played a confectionery obsessed, hen-pecked King. This gave Orion his first opportunity to get directly involved with the audience which he loved, although he did try to steal their sweets! Working near Oxford as a Business Intelligence Executive Manager for The Marketing Practice (a full service business-to-business marketing agency), Orion has sometimes managed to entice his colleagues to come and see his performances. Some of them may even be in the audience today! Orion is delighted to be a part of this wonderful production and would like to thank Alison for the opportunity to show everyone his massive octave. Orion is kindly sponsored by Musical Theatre Connections South West - musicaltheatreconnectionssw.ning.com
MICHAEL BIJOK DR. JAFAR BERENSTEINER We are delighted that Mike has found the time to join Exit Stage Left for A New Brain, as he is currently half way through sixth form at Writhlington School, working hard towards his AS and A Levels which are fast approaching. A natural on stage, you would be forgiven for thinking he has been performing for years, but in reality this is only his second appearance! Mike discovered his love of acting and singing whilst playing the part of Professor Henry Higgins opposite Hannah Long as Eliza Doolittle in Writhlington School’s recent production of My Fair Lady. After being head-hunted by Mr Moore, it took weeks of begging to finally get him to agree to appear on stage - we’re glad he wasn’t as difficult to persuade to join the cast of A New Brain. Apart from Exit Stage Left, Mike is also a member of Bath Astronomers Group, who regularly meet up in the dead of night in random fields, to gaze at the universe and all it has to offer. He is often up in the clouds at rehearsals too, and can be found lost in a book, missing his cues to come on stage. However, his attendance at rehearsals has generally been very good, apart from one Tuesday night when he failed to turn up. Upon checking his Facebook profile, we discovered he had gone walking his dog shortly before rehearsal started. After several failed attempts to contact him, we were all worried that he had got lost. Thankfully though, he managed to find his way back. After he completes his studying, Mike would like to go on to a career in Physics, or continue to appear on stage. The role of Dr. Jafar Berensteiner, possibly the best character name ever, is therefore perfect for him, and should help him make his mind up. We’re sure you’ll love his performance, which Mike would like to dedicate to his dog Sunny. Mike is kindly sponsored by Bijok Associates www.bijok.net
MARK SELLICK THE MINISTER Mark joined Exit Stage Left in 2005 whilst he was in the first year of sixth form at Writhlington School, aged 17, as a late replacement for Mr Mushnik in Little Shop of Horrors. After sticking around and performing in several pantomimes, a lot of musicals, plays, fund-raisers and cabarets, he hasn’t appeared on stage with the group for a while now, which he has missed. So, he is delighted to be returning now to play the part of The Minister. He performs with several other groups in the local area including Keynsham Light Opera Group and Encore Northenders Theatre Company. Mark will be appearing in Encore’s production Pizzazz between the 13th and 15th July in Batheaston. A personal highlight for Mark was performing extracts from Les Misérables at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London with Keynsham Youth Theatre. What takes up most of his time these days is playing piano/keyboards for the increasingly in-demand Bath Blues Brothers, a 13-piece function band that regularly performs at both public and private events across the South West, including weddings, parties, corporate events and... Butlins Minehead; to quote Mr Graham Avent, “you play this venue twice in your career, once on the way up...” Although a quiet spell in May has meant that Mark can take part in this production. He is looking forward to cramming in no fewer than 7 gigs in July, something which he says “will keep him out of trouble”. Working in Bath as a technical support technician for Cyclescheme, (the UK’s number one provider of tax-free bikes for work, under the Government’s cycle to work initiative) he spends his time actively encouraging others to cycle to work, not only for the personal health and financial benefits, but also in an attempt to generally cut down the amount of traffic in Bath in the mornings, so he can stay in bed a bit later! Mark would like to thank Alison for her continued support in letting him loose with the publicity material and programme design - he hopes the group can collect a third Rose Bowl Award sometime in the near future! Mark is kindly sponsored by Kepella Ltd www.kepella.co.uk and Bath Blues Brothers www.bathbluesbrothers.com
HANNAH LONG WAITRESS A valued member of Exit Stage Left, Hannah joined the group back in 2005, following in the footsteps of her older sister Becca. Her debut with the group, and indeed on stage, was at the age of eleven, when she played the role of Teen Angel in our 2005 production, Grease. More recently she has played the leading role of Eliza Doolittle opposite Michael Bijok in Writhlington School’s ambitious production of My Fair Lady, which was directed by our very own James Moore. Both Hannah and Mike excelled in the production, and Hannah says that she loved the experience. Although Hannah has played many roles to date, with both Exit Stage Left and Encore Northenders Theatre Company in Batheaston, My Fair Lady will remain her fondest memory. Even though Hannah has only has a small cameo role as the waitress in A New Brain due to the on-going pressures of her exams, she has really enjoyed the experience and has loved choreographing some of the larger group numbers. Alongside rehearsals for A New Brain, Hannah has somehow found the time to gain a distinction in her Grade 6 Tap and Ballet exam at the Royal Academy of Dance, choreograph the group’s next production, Seussical, appear in the play Teachers at Writhlington School and revise for her year eleven GCSE exams, which have just started. Hannah hopes to get through two years of sixth form after this year, and would love to progress to a career in Musical Theatre in the future. We are all very proud of her, and wish her every success - we’re just glad she’s not leaving us just yet! Hannah is kindly sponsored by Hillside Carpentry.
ANDREW KNOWLES MR. BUNGEE Andrew has been a member of Exit Stage Left pretty much right from the start, and has appeared in almost all of the group’s productions, cabarets, talent shows and fundraisers over the years even having his leg in plaster hasn’t stopped him in the past! One of his favourite roles with the group to date was the part of The Parsee Cake Man in Just So, with which he stole the show. He also received tremendous critical acclaim for his portrayal of Mickey from A Tribute to Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers. Living and working as a Teaching Assistant in Radstock, Andrew comes from a highly talented family, with both his brothers, Matt and Pip, also members of the group. Their combined singing talents have been showcased on numerous occasions, most recently as part of Upfront and Casual, a new vocal harmony group who perform songs from Jersey Boys and The Rat Pack. The group, also featuring Andrew English and James Sellick have been performing regularly at public and private functions, and are now looking to make their mark on the wedding circuit. They recently played their biggest gig so far, supporting sixties legends The Dreamers and Mike Pender’s Searchers at the Springfest South West Music Festival in Ilminster at the beginning of May. Andrew is also a highly active member of Encore Northenders Theatre Company in Batheaston, and has appeared on stage many times over the years. One of his most notable performances was as one of the country’s youngest pantomime dames, at the age of 18, in Encore’s 2007 pantomime Mother Goose. He will be performing alongside other members of Exit Stage Left at the Pizzazz cabaret in July. Andrew has thoroughly enjoyed rehearsals for A New Brain and is very much looking forward to getting his teeth into the role of Mr Bungee - we know he will certainly make it his own. Hopefully though, he won’t get too hot inside his interesting costume, should the ‘Summer’ weather hold out. Andrew is kindly sponsored by Upfront and Casual www.upfrontandcasual.co.uk
“Pimms Punch... On a Sunday?... It’d be rude to waste it!”
After effects of drinking the Pimms Punch
“Well done, Alison, what a brilliant idea!?!”
“Wow! A first edition Harry Potter!”
“Braaaain dead...” - All day rehearsal taking its toll
“James, there is a massive wart on your shoulder...”
Group therapy just didn’t seem to be working for Andrew and James
Hillside Carpentry For all your carpentry needs Jason Long 39 Hillside View Peasedown St John BATH BA2 8ES
Kepella is a UK human resources consultancy specialising in brokering high quality, cost effective and creative career management and outplacement solutions. Tel: 07980 694681 Web: www.kepella.co.uk
T: 07986400521 Email: Hillsidecarpentry@hotmail.co.uk
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Available for weddings, functions, parties etc these talented singers will entertain you for a reasonable fee.
Bryn Withers, Director
Ratpack, Motown, Swing and songs from the musicals are among their repertoire.
Telephone: 01761 420055 Mobile: 07970 710804 www.focusinteriorsltd.co.uk
For further information or to make a booking please visit our website www.upfrontandcasual.co.uk or telephone 07525 475546
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OLD MEADOW PROPERTIES LEE MOONEY
COMPANY DIRECTOR OLD MEADOW HOUSE, LIPYEATE, COLEFORD, BATH BA3 5PW TEL: 01373 812668 FAX: 01373 812025
REBOOT COMPUTER SERVICES
Bijok Associates 29 Bath Road Peasedown St John Bath BA2 8DJ e: firstname.lastname@example.org t: 01761 436 436 f: 01761 436 828 w: www.bijok.net Mark Bijok
BATH’S FINEST PC AND LAPTOP EMPORIUM 106 WALCOT STREET BATH BA1 5BG 01225 447227 WWW.REBOOTLTD.COM
PRODUCTION TEAM Director Co-Director Musical Director
JOINING THE GROUP Alison McCausland James Moore Harry Burt
Choreography Hannah Long Alison McCausland James Moore Rehearsal Pianist
Stage Manager Ed Hill Backstage Crew Aidan Jones John Obern Props Gerry Hunt Carol Lewis Mark Lewis Susan Sellick Costumes Becca Long Alison McCausland James Moore Kate Moore Lighting Design/Operation Assisted by
James Sellick Andrew Whiting
Sound Design/Operation Assisted by
Tim Reid Ben Curd
Front of House Team The Rondo Theatre Staff Maria Blacker Paige Blacker Tracy Hunt Kerry Knowles Sharon Martin Lee Mooney Chris Newman Laura Newman Tanya Roy Bar and Refreshments
The Rondo Theatre Staff
Andy Brodrick of Print Kiosk
SPECIAL THANKS Exit Stage Left would like to that the following people for their assistance in staging A New Brain; BBC Performing Arts Fund for providing us with this fantastic opportunity, Harry Burt for his talent and dediction, James Moore for his never-ending help and support, Gerry Hunt for absolutely everything, Becca Long for making Mr. Bungee’s costume, Mummy Moore for making the nurses outfits, Mark and Carol Lewis for making the hospital screens, Peasedown Youth Centre, Westfield Methodist Church and Radstock Methodist Church for their kindness and hospitality, Dawn Robinson for her continued support and Ian McGlynn at The Rondo Theatre.
Exit Stage Left is an award winning theatre company based in the Norton Radstock area, for both adults and young people of all ages and abilities. The group stages a variety of productions throughout the year including musicals, plays, cabarets and fund-raising events. New members to the group are always welcome! If you are interested in joining as an acting or singing member, helping out behind the scenes (including the back stage team, wardrobe department and front of house team), we would be glad to hear from you. Production rehearsals take place in Radstock on Saturday Mornings and at Westfield on Tuesday evenings throughout the year. Productions are generally staged at Kilmersdon Village Hall, near Radstock. Please feel free to speak to any member of our front of house team, or cast, who will be more than happy to take your details. ADVERTISING AND SPONSORSHIP If your business, theatre company or organisation could benefit from advertising in a future Exit Stage Left programme, we would love to hear from you. There are a selection of advertising opportunities available, including individual cast sponsorship and prominent full page advertising. For further information, please email Mark Sellick on ‘email@example.com’
FACEBOOK For further information on the group, photographs from some of our previous productions, booking information for future shows and more, please search for ‘Exit Stage Left’ on Facebook.
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Published on May 7, 2011