The Brain That Wouldn't Die!
Written by: Bruce Bernhard, Music by: Chris Cassone
Sat · June 24, 2017
Doors: 1:00 pm / Show: 2:00 pmCharleston Music Hall
$25 - Student / Military / Seniors | $35 - Individual
Dinner & Show option available for an additional $32
Call for reservations after purchasing Dinner & Show option
Dinner at Vincent Chicco's - (843) 203-3002
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Tickets can also be purchased at Music Hall Box Office:
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The play was adapted from the 1962 B-movie by screenwriter, Bruce Bernhard, who moved to Charleston from Los Angeles three years ago. Brain tells the story of a surgeon who must re-assemble his fiancée after she is decapitated in a car accident. To accomplish this medical miracle, he must keep her head alive while he searches for a suitable body in time for their wedding.
Bernhard’s Spinnaker Productions is co-producing the show with The Charleston Music Hall’s Charles Carmody. Brain is directed by Linda Eisen, with musical direction and orchestrations by David McLaughlin, and choreography by Anthony Nannini. The cast is assembled from the finest talent in the Lowcountry, the musicians are the hottest players in town.
Performances at the CHARLESTON MUSIC HALL Performance Dates & Times:
THURSDAY, 6/22, 7:30PM
FRIDAY, 6/23, 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, 6/24, 2:00PM
SATURDAY, 6/24, 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, 6/25, 2:00 PM
AUTHOR’S NOTES: One of the things that struck me about the 1962 version of “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die” was that the filmmaker made absolutely no attempt to adhere to any internal logic. No matter how preposterous the material, an audience will usually buy into it, as long as the film makes sense within its own universe. This film did not. Release from that kind of constraint may be liberating for the director, but it’s challenging for the viewer. For example: Jan, the female lead, is decapitated and incinerated in a car accident. An hour later, we see her head in Doctor Cortner’s basement laboratory (her fiancé). Her face is unmarked by trauma, her makeup is perfect - a Vogue cover. Another anomaly in the original is there are no sympathetic characters. Cortner is an evil genius, and Jan is a bitch. Granted, she has reason to be cranky (having lost 90% of her total body mass), but seeking the destruction of everyone and everything around her is, in my view, an overreaction. That said, I still loved the premise, and set about re-imagining it with a more positive message. This version is a love story that pays off to everyone’s satisfaction. Jan gets a replacement body, the good doctor is re-united with the love of his life, and they both live happily ever after. A solid basis for a musical -- which of course requires music. A phone call to my gifted, but benignly insane composer friend, Chris Cassone, and the problem was solved. The result: “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die…the Musical”. May God have mercy on our souls. Why Charleston? I love this city, it’s history, and it’s people. Three years ago I came here from Los Angeles, a major entertainment hub. But Charleston gives nothing away to the City of Angels in terms of talent. We have such a rich talent pool there is no reason why Charleston can’t be the genesis of creative content, rather than just another stop on the tour of shows created elsewhere. That’s my mission – to help establish The Holy City as the incubator for Broadway fare. “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die” is just the beginning. Stay tuned.
Composer’s Notes: I've worked with some of the top song writers of the world: Chip Taylor wrote “Wild Thing”, “Angel of the Morning” and hundreds more. Billy Vera wrote the huge hit “At This Moment”, and Larry Brown wrote “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” among many others. They taught me a valuable lesson – every song must tell a story.
Then I met Bruce Bernhard in Los Angeles in 2011. He was adapting one of my favorite cheesy horror films into a musical comedy. He asked if I’d be willing to write some songs, and I jumped at the chance. The process on the opening number, “God Is In The House”, continued through the remaining seventeen. He’d need a song to underscore a dramatic moment — maybe he had a title, maybe he had a stanza or two for direction. I would take that home, and after the Muse arrived, I would send him a simple MP3 recorded at my desk. A little more tinkering with lyrics and melody, and then into my studio in NY for a demo.
Bruce was always reminding me that each song was part of the whole narrative, it had to propel the story line. I coupled that imperative with my instinct to have each song stand on its musical merit. We ended up with eighteen story songs telling one big ol’ crazy tale.
The best compliment I received was from cast members’ Facebook posts: “Help! I can’t get this one out of my head!”
Charleston Music Hall
37 John Street
Charleston, South Carolina, 29403