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William Finn

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William Alan Finn (b. February 28, 1952, Boston, Massachusetts) is an award-winning American composer and lyricist, especially of musicals.

William Finn grew up in Natick, Massachusetts with his parents and siblings, Michael and Nancy. He majored in music at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He lives with his life partner in New York City and Pittsfield, MA, where he is an independent composer and writer. He is also “Adjunct Faculty Composer/Lyricist” at NYU.

Finn is a heavily autobiographical textwriter (he always writes his own lyrics); his topics are the gay and Jewish experiences in contemporary America, and very often conflict, loyalty, family, belonging, sickness, healing, and loss.

Finn is especially well noted for his work on what was to become a trilogy of short musical shows off-broadway. In Trousers, March of the Falsettos, and Falsettoland all chronicle the lives of the character Marvin, his ex-wife Trina, his boyfriend, Whizzer, his psychiatrist, Mendel, and his son, Jason.

With Lapine, Finn penned a musical loosely based on his near-death experience following brain surgery, exploring the role of music in his life and recovery. The musical’s main character is a man who has what may be terminal brain cancer. The show, A New Brain, starred Malcolm Gets, Kristin Chenoweth and Chip Zien, and premiered at Lincoln Center. The UK premiere was at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2005.

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