Songs for a new oneWorld Iis the first musical from Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown. Written in 1995 when he was only 25 years old, this cycle of songs is made up of unfinished works or stand-alone pieces from the composer’s imagination. Brown went on to write the musicals, Parade, The last five years, and Madison County Bridges.
This collection of his early songs examines life, romantic misfortune, ambition and the choices we make. They all revolve around a common theme: decisions that change life. Each of the songs addresses a moment of decision, crisis or change in the lives of a wide variety of characters.
It is a difficult part to take on. Unlike a conventional musical, there is no central plot, nor consistency of the characters. These “moments” include shared experiences such as breakups and reunions at cataclysmic events such as the sinking of a ship full of immigrants or the end of Christmas as we know it. The show attempts to explore a diversity of characters and recognize the unique challenges of each experience while also highlighting the common ground that unites us as human beings.
The music is influenced by a range of musical genres including jazz, pop and gospel. Many songs combine elements of these genres.
The group numbers really shine, the four performers are all great singers and the difficult harmonies are really beautiful. Each of the actors delivers engaged performances, bringing so much character and emotion to the songs. Some favorite moments include “The stars and the moon,” and the comic, “Surabaya-Santa ”, sung by the formidable Raquelle Viteri; James Harris paints an ironic and engaging portrayal of emotional indecision in “She’s crying;” To agree Evan is touching “King of the world” and the exciting “” by Stéphanie ScuderiI’m not afraid of anything” and “Christmas lullaby.”
Stephen Ferri’s musical direction brings the score to life. He does a masterful job both in vocal preparation and in directing his band. Her virtuoso piano performance is brilliantly supported by Gary Copozziello on violin 1, Ally Jenkins on violin 2, Entela Barci on viola, Jessica Wang on cello, Matt Sangiovanni on guitar, Jerry Devore on bass, Greg Germann on drums. and Michael Blancaflor on percussion. . Sound designer John Weston and his partner John Millerd also bring the perfect touch to the balance of the live band and vocals.
Skillfully led by Richard F. Grasso, his evolving scenic imagery and lively pace make things interesting. Kudos to stage manager Sierra Cervantes, lighting designer Adam Lobelson and costume designer Karen Pursel, who all contributed to a well-designed production.
This is the inaugural production of Westchester’s newest non-profit professional theater company; Limelight Theater Company. They plan a range of future events, including stage productions, staged readings and concerts, as they raise the voice and inclusiveness of all the artists, cultures and backgrounds of our performing arts community. .
Shows Songs for a New World are Friday August 27 at 8 p.m. Saturday August 28 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday August 29 at 3 p.m. To buy tickets for the visit https://www.limelighttheatrecompany.com/performances. For more information, you can visit their website at www.limelighttheatrecompany.comor email
Photo credit: Rebecca Tocci Photography