These are the stories and characters of today, the Songs for a New World. Each song follows a different character, a different person on the edge of a decision. Whether it is reflecting on a new pregnancy or fighting in the American revolution, five actors will tell a whole host of stories through the beautiful and complex Jason Robert Brown score. We talk to Jessi (Director) and George (Musical Director) about the show.
Why did you choose to stage Songs For A New World?
Jessi: I have loved this show for a really long time - many of the songs have been in my audition book over the years! I always find myself coming back to this show and finding new meanings in the numbers. It’s one of the only shows that I can go back to over and over and get something new out of it. I love that as I grow older my favourite songs/characters changes as I find myself relating to each of them differently.
George: There is something about Brown’s music that always leaves me wanting to come back for more! I find it fascinating to see how his musical style has developed over time, and I truly believe that some of his first songs remain his best to this day.
What is your favourite moment in the show and why?
Jessi: It is so so hard to choose this - I think my favourite moment is when everyone comes back together for “Hear My Song.” I get chills everytime this amazing cast sings together - but this moment is so special. We get the recurring motif from the Opening Number but we finally see the hope and joy they’ve been anticipating since Act One. My favourite solo moment as of right now is “Flagmaker,” it is my favourite song from the revival album and April is doing an amazing job with it. These songs just make you feel something in a way that not all musicals can - it's so cathartic.
George: I always have such a great time playing the end of ‘Christmas Lullaby’ straight into ‘King of the World’. The melodies and intimate nature of ‘Christmas Lullaby’ sit so well in the hands and it is always a joy to play. 3 seconds later Brown asks you to play random notes and instructs the rest of the band to play ‘extremely loud awful screechy noises’. Each song is so different musically and that is why it is such a fun score to tackle!
What do you want people to take away from Songs For A New World?
Jessi: I hope people leave feeling a bit lighter than when they came in. It’s all about change and making decisions, and the audience members may not relate to all the specific scenarios in the show but they can relate to this period of uncertainty and hope. I would love for people to walk away from the show feeling that joy and peace that we get from the finale of the show - and maybe having gained a new perspective on their own ‘moments.’’
George: People should be able to map themselves onto some of the characters they see in the show. I would hope that these characters inspire hope, strength and nostalgia within the audience who may walk away from the show with an unlocked memory or a sense of excitement for the future.
What lies at the crux of the song cycle?
Jessi: I really think it’s about these moments of decisions and what comes next. Each of these characters are grappling with something and they have to decide which route to take next. Not to sound cheesy but it really is about “one moment.” It is a very human show. It’s trying to encapsulate this very human moment of change and show us a variety of examples of it - hoping that one of them will resonate with you. I used to say that this show was the “everyman” show - it’s one that is at its core about the human experience and that we can all project ourselves onto these characters.
George: Despite the numerous characters and situations that we navigate, we can still feel connected together by hope and courage. The show achieves this so well by presenting this array of characters but linking them together through community. .
Grab your tickets now for this beautiful production.