Full name? Matthew William Panek
Where you were born/where you were raised? Northwest side of Chicago.
Your position within the A NEW BRAIN family? Proud director.
What does that mean/what do you do? Craft the show's approach and make sure everyone attached to the production has a clear view of where we're headed. As a musical theatre operetta, A NEW BRAIN has been exciting with its heavy dose of creative collaboration. I've been extremely reliant on our handful of designers and production staff in crafting the shape (Jaime, Cat, Michelle, Charlie), flow (Stephanie, Danny, Luke, Monty, Patrick), and sound (T.J., Justin) of the show. So in a nutshell, I'm a super lucky guy organizing 20 Chicago artists to tell Bill's story.
In 5 words, how do you describe A NEW BRAIN? Beautiful, Life-Affirming, So much spring
How would you describe Bill's writing? Writing this in the midst of vocal rehearsals, the first thing I've noticed about Bill's writing is how insanely difficult it is to master. Our amazing cast of 10 is tackling 7-part harmonies in many of the songs (thanks to vocal arrangers Jason Robert Brown and Ted Sperling), so it really speaks to his storytelling skills and keen ear for . A NEW BRAIN has a mix of conversational book songs, spot-lit musical theatre numbers, and full-fledged
Fill in the blanks: ____Dedication____ + ___#werk_____ = a song.
What was your must-see TV show as a kid? X-Men, the animated series. Saturday morning cartoon slot. 10am. FOX Chicago. My brother and I. Every weekend.
Who would play you in the Lifetime movie of your life? Not in terms of looks (I'd kill for those eyebrows), but Brian D'Arcy James. And if Lifetime could make it a musical so "I" could get a sweet new song maybe written by Bobby Lopez or Jeanine Tesori, that would be great. 'K thanks, Lifetime.
Special hidden talent? I'm great at parallel parking. Mad great.
Something you're REALLY bad at? Drawing. Anything. Please, don't make me.
Favorite Chicago neighborhood? Favorite as a whole in terms of nightlife, food, and fun stuff to do? I'd have to say Boystown/Lakeview ... bu don't want to live there.
Current local show you have been recommending to friends?
Most played song on your iPod? Not counting A New Brain or Godspell songs, iTunes says it's "27 Jennifers" by Mike Doughty.
Pop culture guilty pleasure? Listing anything other than RuPaul's Drag Race first would be a complete and utter lie. And I'll be goddamn'd if I don't watch each and every one of The Skivvies' videos at least, um, 12 times. Wish they'd visit Chicago some time :)
Three things you can't live without? Hoodies. My folks. A car wi radio.
Come see William's work in William Finn and James Lapine's A NEW BRAIN February 21 - March 9, 2014 at Rivendell Theatre. Ticketing and performance information can be found at The Brown Paper Box Co.'s site.
Brown Paper Blog
Making theatre. Writing about it. Maybe some hilarious Youtube cat videos in between.