Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Musical examines brain tumor patient’s mindset

The University of Alabama Department of Theatre and Dance will feature its first musical this season with “A New Brain,” beginning Monday, Oct. 29.

The musical recounts the tale of a composer who receives treatment for a life-threatening brain tumor. The composer, Gordon Schwinn, awakes in the hospital to an array of characters that are real but modified and exaggerated by his imagination. Through the ordeal, Schwinn realizes it is the experience with his brain tumor that allows him to compose the songs he truly wanted.

“A New Brain” is directed by Jimmy Kontos, who also directed last season’s “Wonder of the World” and “Purgatorio.”

Although the musical deals with the gravity of a brain tumor, marketing manager for the UA Department of Theatre and Dance Collins Goss said it is still playful and lighthearted.

“It has a little of everything,” Goss said. “It’s kind of a serious subject matter, but it’s also quirky and fun. Some of the songs are kind of goofy.”

Goss said preparing for a musical is different than other productions because there are several more aspects for the cast to learn in the same amount of time.

“It’s a little bit different because you have to add music,” Goss said. “You also have to learn choreography. It has an extra layer that a normal play doesn’t.”

Christian Timothy, a sophomore majoring in musical theatre, plays the role of The Doctor, one of the characters of which Schwinn’s imagination takes hold. Timothy said the musical has been quite the challenge.

“This show is the hardest show I think I’ve ever been in,” he said. “It never stops. We never leave the space. We are very connected with the audience.”

Timothy said the way he sees it, the entire Allen Bales Theatre is Schwinn’s brain. The audience gets to come along for the journey.

“They’re going to love it,” Timothy said. “It’s funny, but at the same time it will make you cry and wonder about things in your own life.”

The musical opens Monday, Oct. 29, and runs through Saturday, Nov. 3, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2 p.m. in the Allen Bales Theatre. All tickets are $10 and can be bought at


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