Musical (1995)

Musique: Jason Robert Brown
Paroles: Jason Robert Brown
Production à la création:

Story: This show is a cross between a musical and a song cycle, being an abstract musical containing a series of songs all connected by theme rather than narrative. The show features four performers who do not actually play the same characters throughout the show but who do have consistently developing character arcs nonetheless. The composer himself described the show as being . . about one moment. . . .about hitting the wall and having to make a choice, or take a stand, or turn around and go back."

Acte I
Lights come up on a single woman. Another woman and two men soon join her. Their hopes and dreams, fears and failures conjure up images of explorers setting out to find new lands ("Opening: The New World").

The first snapshot of the American experience brings us onboard a 16th century ship as the passengers plead to the Lord to give them the strength to survive the journey. Just as their struggle becomes too much to bear, the passengers find renewed hope of a better life ("On the Deck of a Spanish Sailing Ship, 1492").

We next see a woman standing on the window ledge of her New York penthouse, carrying on with grievances about her husband, Murray. As a crowd gathers below, she threatens to step off the ledge and take her own life. She is left with nothing but the fear of taking one step to a new and genuinely better life ("Just One Step").

A young, adventurous mother & wife appears. She is seemingly ready for all of life’s challenges and questions the fears of her children, parents, and husband. We see that her strength is perhaps the very thing keeping a wall between her and the people she loves ("I’m Not Afraid of Anything").

We move from expectations of love to expectations of money. Two men wrestle with the dream of rewards that hard work should promise. Wealth flows easily for some, but others aren't as lucky ("The River Won’t Flow").

Elsewhere, a woman who married very well looks back on the path she chose. She knew wonderful men willing to give her laughter, love, companionship, adventure, and passion, but she chose money over everything else. She now regrets the misguided priorities of her youth ("Stars and the Moon").

In a different type of frustrating relationship, a man goes through many ups and downs with the woman he loves. She lies and he heads out the door, but he finds himself coming back to her. Though manipulative, her tears are a window to the woman he fell in love with ("She Cries").

Meanwhile, in the Bronx, a determined young man dreams of life as a famous basketball star. His sadness, anger, and passion have ignited a fire in him to realize the fantasy of his own new world ("The Steam Train").

Avte II
Act Two opens with a man struggling to reconcile his father’s failure in a risky business venture with his education and the commitment he’s made to his fiancée, Amy. His continual fear of failure makes him unable to choose what he truly wants ("The World Was Dancing").

Mrs. Claus appears. It seems being married to Santa Claus proves to be too much or, in her case, not enough. She loves, wants and needs him, but just can’t take another Christmas alone. With a flourish and a few choice words, she slams the door on their relationship for good ("Surabaya-Santa").

Next, a woman a bit less ferocious than Mrs. Claus looks to her faith to lift her up while contemplating her life and soul. She feels blessed and assured that her life will have meaning in the grand design of the world ("Christmas Lullaby").

But faith is shaken when we meet a desperate man in a prison cell, crying foul of his accused sins. He does not understand why he is there and questions the good he was trying to do ("King of the World").

A separated couple appears on stage. Now as they are reunited, they look back and understand they ran away out of fear of love. Though the adventures were thrilling, they realize they are home with each other at last ("I'd Give It All For You").

The mother of an American Revolutionary soldier anxiously awaits the end of the brutal war with no other way to manage her worry and frustration than to sew a flag ("The Flagmaker, 1775"). Echoes of the flagmaker linger as a young man hears the call of angels who will accompany him where he belongs ("Flying Home").

In the finale, we discover that our hopes and dreams will continue to help light the way to a new world ("Hear My Song").

The show sits on the boundary between musical and song cycle, but it is neither; it is an abstract musical, a series of songs all connected by a theme: "the moment of decision." The show employs four performers who do not literally play the same characters throughout the show but who do have consistently developing character arcs nonetheless. Composer Jason Robert Brown has said of his show, "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."

A workshop of the show was produced in Toronto. The original Off-Broadway production ran for a limited three and 1/2-week run, which included two 1/2 weeks of previews at the WPA Theater in 1995. The original cast consisted of Brooks Ashmanskas, Andrea Burns, Jessica Molaskey, and Billy Porter (Porter's part was sung by Ty Taylor on the original cast recording). Daisy Prince, daughter of Broadway director Harold Prince, directed. The original band consisted of Jason Robert Brown on piano, Randy Landau on bass, Tom Partington on drums, Joe Reina on keyboards, and Warren Smith and Rob McEwan on percussion.

The piano features heavily throughout the show's music and because of its small cast and orchestra, Songs for a New World has become a favorite small show for colleges and local theatres, despite its vocally demanding score. The music of Songs for a New World is heavily influenced by a broad range of musical genres, including pop, gospel and jazz. Many of the songs combine elements of two or more of these genres. An extensive background and analysis essay about the show was written by Scott Miller. The Variety reviewer noted :" His debut foray into his own spotlight comes with 'Songs for a New World,' a musical revue that shows Brown to be a capable songwriter of the Alan Menken school: commercial show-tune pop with palatable sentiment and easy-to-take melody.... 'Songs for a New World' seems to contain more cabaret convention and pianobar posing than any one revue should have to withstand."

The first professional revival in New York was staged in October 2008 at the Chernuchin Theatre, featuring a 14-member youth ensemble in addition to the four principal performers; it was directed by Debbie Slevin.

The show continues to be popular among amateur theatre groups with performances across Australia, the USA and the UK.

The score was recorded in 1996 by RCA and released in March 1997.

Act I
"Opening Sequence: The New World" – Company
"On the Deck of a Spanish Sailing Ship, 1492" – Man 1 and Company
"Just One Step" – Woman 2
"I'm Not Afraid of Anything" – Woman 1
"The River Won't Flow" – Company
"Transition I" – Woman 1
"Stars and the Moon" – Woman 2
"She Cries" – Man 2
"The Steam Train" – Man 1 and Company

Act II
"The World Was Dancing" – Man 2 and Company
"Surabaya-Santa" – Woman 2
"Christmas Lullaby" – Woman 1
"King of the World" – Man 1
"I'd Give It All for You" – Man 2 and Woman 1
"Transition II" – Man 1
"The Flagmaker, 1775" – Woman 2
"Flying Home" – Man 1 and Company
"Final Transition: The New World" – Company
"Hear My Song" – Company

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Songs for a New World

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Songs for a New World

Version 1

Songs for a New World (1995-10-WPA Theater-Off Off Broadway)

Type de série: Original
Théâtre: WPA Theater (Broadway (Off-Off) - Etats-Unis)
Durée : 2 semaines
Nombre : 28 représentations
Première Preview : 11 October 1995
Première: 11 October 1995
Dernière: 26 October 1995
Mise en scène : Daisy Prince
Chorégraphie : Michael Arnold
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Brooks Ashmanskas, Andréa Burns, Jessica Molaskey, Billy Porter

Version 2

Songs for a New World (2001-08-Bridewell Theatre-London)

Type de série: Original London
Théâtre: Bridewell Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée : 1 mois
Nombre :
Première Preview : 13 August 2001
Première: 13 August 2001
Dernière: 15 September 2001
Mise en scène : Clive Paget
Chorégraphie : Sam Spencer-Lane
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Craig Purnell, Sarah Redmond, Nigel Richards, Golda Rosheuvel
Commentaires : The original off-Broadway production ran for just 28 performances in 1995, but thereafter it was much revived at smaller theatres and college venues in spite of its vocally demanding score. The music encompasses a wide range of styles, including pop, gospel, jazz and classical music.

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