The Brain That Wouldn't Die!

The Brain That Wouldn't Die!

Written by: Bruce Bernhard, Music by: Chris Cassone

Sat · June 24, 2017

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

$25 - Student / Military / Seniors | $35 - Individual

Dinner & Show option available for an additional $32 

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The Brain That Wouldn't Die! The Musical
A Tale of Love, Loyalty ... and Organ Transplants

A car accident decapitates the fiancée of a brilliant surgeon. He keeps her head alive while he searches for a suitable body ... in time for their wedding.

In 1962, the B-movie, “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die”, was released to absolutely dreadful reviews...and the film became an instant cult classic.

Fifty years later, Hollywood writer/producer Bruce Bernhard acquired the rights and collaborated with pop songwriter, Chris Cassone, to create a staged musical comedy based upon the original film.

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
Written by: Bruce Bernhard
BIO: Bruce’s career took a series of sharp turns before he began writing and producing “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die”: After journalism school, he served in the Army as a reporter for “Stars & Stripes”, where he won numerous awards for journalistic excellence; then came a stint as a publicist for top rock artists including: The Doors, Jefferson Starship, and Chicago; he was Partner and Creative Director in the NY ad agency Lambert, Dale & Bernhard; his last job before moving to Charleston was as a script consultant in Hollywood. “Brain” is Bruce’s first foray into the world of musical theater.

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.
Music by: Chris Cassone
Music by: Chris Cassone
Bio: Chris began his career in music as a recording engineer in the late 70’s. He mentored with hitmaker, Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Peter Frampton) where he learned production and the importance of story in song. He worked with Dr. John, Billy Joel, and many other major artists. In 1992, actor Chazz Palminteri and director Robert DeNiro, tapped him to record the music for the film, A Bronx Tale. Last year he had his first top ten record, co-writing with old friend Ace Frehley (KISS guitarist) on his CD, “Space Invader”. “Brain” is Chris’ first stage musical.

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!”
Venue Information:
Charleston Music Hall
37 John Street
Charleston, South Carolina, 29403