Songs for a New World

Songs for a New World
Music & Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Auckland Music Theatre. Directed by Minouk van der Velde. 12th – 15th September, 2018.

Songs for A New World - It's about one moment. It's about hitting the wall and having to make a choice... or take a stand... or turn around and go back. These are the stories and characters of today, the Songs for a New World.

Written at age 25, Songs is the first musical from Tony Award winner, Jason Robert Brown (Parade, Bridges of Madison County). This collection of his early songs examines life, love and the choices that we make.

Brown transports his audience from the deck of a 1492 Spanish sailing ship to a ledge, 57 stories above Fifth Avenue, to meet a startling array of characters that range from a young man who has determined that basketball is his ticket out of the ghetto to a woman whose dream of marrying rich nabs her the man of her dreams... but a soulless marriage.

The music of Songs for a New World is heavily influenced by a broad range of musical genres, including popgospel and jazz. Many of the songs combine elements of two or more of these genres.

Director Minouk van der Velde cleverly sets this song cycle in a cabaret setting, in what appears to be an internet café, where the seven characters gather but tell their own individual collection of stories, never to meet. As a person who collects the stories of strangers in cafes, this concept appealed to me.

The seven actor/singers are sublime vocalists, the difficult harmonies are gorgeous and when the voices all blend it is musical heaven.

I had some standout favourite moments – “Just One Step” sung by Delia Hannah, Jennifer Quail - Allen’s “Christmas Lullaby” and Bevan Williams’ emotional rendition of “King of The World”. Anthony Cotton, Bridget Chasemore, Caroline Everitt and Jesse Reynolds were all equally as impressive in this vocal masterclass.

The Musical Director, Mark Bradley, enhances his reputation for excellence once again by both the vocal preparation and his band leadership. His piano performance was brilliantly supported by Graham Trail on bass, and Andrew Rooney on drums.

The technical teams on lighting and sound were outstanding.

If singing is your passion, you will love this show.

Pauline Vella

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