Friday, November 13, 2009

Songs For A New World

It's just been a Jason Robert Brown kind of fall for me. His first musical, Songs For A New World, produced by the International City Theatre in Long Beach, was the second I've seen in the last few months, and while it's a completely different animal from Parade, I still left humming.

The stage was mostly bare except for some scaffolding off to one side and a large metal half cross with some cloth draped over the side- I think it was unintentionally channeling an Easter Sunday altar. Pictures of random sights and events hung upstage near a screen that quasi-covered the band. This play has no story and is more of a string of songs that are unrelated dramatically but have a strange musical coherence. The four actors, two men and two women, without exception, had incredible voices and the acting ability to carry an audience for two hours without an overarching story. The shift in characters from song to song was impressive, but not as wonderful as the four part harmonies and chords that they belted out. Each actor had standout moments individually, but my favorite thing about this music are those harmonies and gorgeous group dynamics.

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