Songs for a New World is a song cycle style musical, composed and written by Jason Robert Brown, 2-time Tony award winner. The show was first performed off-broadway in 1995. Since then, the show has been performed hundreds of times, and adored by many.
This musical takes it’s audience through musical monologues that describe what it means to go through life changes, particularly in American history.
The show has 19 songs and is separated by two acts. Some of the most frequently performed songs outside the formal production include “Stars and the Moon,” “I’m not afraid of anything,” and the duet “I’d give it all for you.”
These stories of love, exploration, and grief left me feeling connected to the characters and their experiences.
Listen to the cast, here.
4th Wall Theater in Bloomfield New Jersey, opened Songs for a New World to the public the weekend of March 11-1, 2016, as a fundraiser. The show was set to run for only one weekend.
The exceptional arrangement of the opening number “The New World” immediately brought me into the world of the characters and extraordinary music.
This show was one of the most impressive shows I have had the pleasure to experience and I urge you to get a copy of the music if you can’t find a live performance. (It might be hard to find a show, it’s not performed very often!)
The directing team made some interesting choices that separated this production from other shows, particularly the arrangement of the stage.
Director, Kate Swan
Music Director, Markus Grae-Hauk
Light Designer, Nicholas Marmo
Sound Design, Nicholas Von Hagel
The chosen venue was the Bloomfield College Westminster Arts Center and the theater had a beautiful proscenium style structure. The pit was placed upstage and the cast used risers to create a dynamic image. This allowed the audience to appreciate all parts of the show at once.
Songs for a New World calls for two males actors and two female actors but Kate Swan strategically added 5 more actors which created diversity on the stage and life to the stories.
Marisa Cucuzza, Julie Galorenzo, Angela Rose Masi, Jenna Rose, Alyssa DePonte,
Andre Jamal Williams, Joshua Clifton Powell, Cory Herbert, and Daniel Peter Vissers
Each and every actor had an incredible voice and talent for telling a story. Since there was no set, props, or intensive choreography to work with, the cast built a world through their ability to act.
Some of the fantastic performances included “Stars and the Moon,” (Julie Galorenzo,) “On the Deck of a Spanish Sailing Ship, 1492,” (Daniel Peter Vissers,) and “Flying Home,” (Andre Jamal Williams.)
Williams gave an unforgettable performance of “Flying Home.” Besides bringing tears to my eyes, he made me feel as if I was going through heartbreak, just like his character was. “Flying Home” is about grief and the unbearable desire to be with someone who has recently passed. On stage, Williams started singing to a grave. It was the most intimate moments of the show and it led to the climax.
Watch Williams sing “Flying Home” here.
This show doesn’t have a traditional plot which sometimes makes the songs appear unrelated. However, it is clear that each character learns a precious lesson by the end of the show. Especially during Williams’ performance, his character learns that the end of a relationship, or moment, is the beginning of a new one. A new world, that’s waiting to be lived.
It sounds like a cliché but it is so relatable that you can’t help to love it anyways.
Songs for a New World isn’t performed as much as it should be, so it was an absolute pleasure to be able to go see such an exceptional production of it. 4th Wall Theater is a company that ought to be followed and kept an eye out for. What great talent they have attracted.