Cast size: Small, 2 plus
Lyrics by: Jason Robert Brown Music by: Jason Robert Brown

Jason Robert Brown | abstract musical | small 2 plus

  • About the Show

    Says the author of this gripping revue, “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.” Newcomer Jason Robert Brown (composer-lyricist of the recent critical smash “Parade”) has the whole theatre community talking about his blend of savvy showmanship and exciting contemporary sound.

    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 ranging from a young man who has determined that basket-ball is his ticket out of the ghetto to a woman whose dream of marrying rich nabs her the man of her dreams and a soulless marriage. These are the stories and characters of today, the songs for a new world.

    With a small, powerhouse multi-ethnic cast and a driving, exquisitely crafted score running the gamut of today’s popular music, “Songs For A New World” is a great way to bring the next generation into the theatre. It’s a remarkable achievement from a remarkable new voice.

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    Synopsis

    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. The Americas of yesterday, today and tomorrow join hands across time and together discover “A New World.”

    The first snapshot of the American experience brings us “On the Deck of a Spanish Sailing Ship, 1492,” as the passengers plead to the Lord to give them the strength to survive the journey. Just as their struggle seems to have become too much to bear, the “New World” refrain echoes from the distance, giving them renewed hope of a better life.

    We next see what can become of that better life if taken for granted: a woman stands 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 take “Just One Step” off the edge. In truth, the attainment of her American dream has left her empty and wanting. She is left with nothing but the fear of taking one step to a new and genuinely better life.

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

    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 for most of us, “The River Won’t Flow.” We carry on, working hard and living our lives as best we can. “A New World” may show us different paths to follow.

    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, passion, the “Stars And The Moon,” but she chose money over everything else. Lamentably, she now regrets the misguided priorities of her youth.

    In a frustrating relationship, a man goes through many ups and downs with the woman he loves. She lies and he heads out the door, but then “She Cries” and he’s back holding her again. Though manipulative, her tears are a window to the woman he fell in love with, and he stays.

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

    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 and he leaves without saying goodbye (“The World Was Dancing”).

    Being married to Santa Claus is tumultuous for this woman, to say the least. She loves, wants and needs him, but just can’t take another Christmas alone. So with a flourish and a few choice words, she slams the door on their relationship for good (“Surabaya Santa”).

    In contemplating her life and soul, a woman looks to her faith to lift her up. She feels blessed and assured that her life will have meaning in the grand design of the world (“Christmas Lullaby”). Faith is given a shaking up by a man sitting in a prison cell. He does not understand why he is there and questions the good he was trying to do (“King of the World”).

    A couple broke up and went their separate ways, indulging in many wonderful adventures. 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 “one more star, one more stripe” (“The Flagmaker, 1775”).

    Echoes of the flagmaker linger as a young man hears the call of angels who will accompany him in “Flying Home.” Life is filled with moments: choices to make, directions to choose ([Transition] “The New World”). Our hopes and dreams continue to help light the way (“Hear My Song”) to “a new world…across the ocean.”

    Casting Information

    Musical Style: Contemporary,Pop
    Musical Difficulty: Challenging to learn, Challenging to sing
    Show Cast Size: Small (2-10) (2 Men/2 Women)
    Show Chorus Size: None
    Show Dance Required: Minimum
    Character Breakdown
    ALL Cast members use their own names
    Man #1 D to High D flat
    Man #2 Low F - High B flat
    Woman #1 Low G - High G (2 octaves)
    Woman #2 Low F - High F (2 octaves)

    Musical Numbers

    Opening Sequence: The New World - Company
    On The Deck Of A Spanish Sailing Ship, 1492 - Man 1, 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, Company
    The World Was Dancing - Man 2, Company
    Surabaya-Santa - Woman 2
    Christmas Lullaby - Woman 1
    King Of The World - Man 1
    I’d Give It All For You - Man 2, Woman 1
    Transition II - Man 1
    The Flagmaker, 1775 - Woman 2
    Flying Home - Man 1, Company
    Final Transition -Company
    Hear My Song - Company

    Rehearsal Set

    8 Libretti
    6 Piano-Vocal Scores

    Orchestration

    Bass
    Drums
    Keyboard 2
    Percussion
    Piano (Piano Vocal Score included in Rehearsal Set)

    Resources

    Logo Pack

    Forthcoming Productions

    Theory X Media
    Harare International School Performing Arts Centre
    9-18 October 2008

Partners & Associates

  • cipc
  • bsa
  • samro