Posts Tagged ‘songs for a new world

18
Jul
13

Songs For a New World: Sunshine Coast Premiere Tonight

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Songs For a New World opens at The Lind Tonight!

 

How excitement! The Tipokis have teamed up, synched calendars and produced Jason Robert Brown’s Songs For a New World for the Sunshine Coast! Actually, I suspect it’s for a national tour, but we’re happy here being the outta’ town try-out audience. I hope it will go everywhere so you get to experience it too!

 

The show opens tonight at The Lind in Nambour, and Sam and I will see it tomorrow night.

 

In the meantime, I’ve been reading what Scott Miller had to say about the show.

 

One of the characters in Songs for a New World says “I don’t want to philosophize. I just want to tell a story.” And that line describes Songs for a New World perfectly; in fact, it tells a whole collection of stories. It’s not a book musical – there is no over-arching plot and no consistent characters throughout the evening. In its construction, it owes much toJacques Brel is Alive and Well and living in Paris and the theatre experiments of the 1960s. It’s a collection of independent scene-songs but it’s also more than that. In a 1998 review in St. Louis’ Riverfront Times, Mike Isaacson wrote, “Songs for a New World is that very rare beast: an abstract musical. There is no specific location other than the natural ambiguity of the human heart and mind.” And yet it has a very strong sense of unity about it. Even though many of these songs were actually written for other projects over the span of several years, this show feels like it was planned as a unified whole from the beginning.

 

It accomplishes this mainly because every song in the show is essentially about the same thing: those moments in life when everything seems perfect and then suddenly disaster strikes, in the form of the loss of a job, an unexpected pregnancy, the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage, imprisonment, even suicide. But it’s even more about surviving those moments. It’s about the way we regroup and figure out how to survive in a new set of circumstances – a new world – even against seemingly overwhelming odds. These are songs about that new world, a world in which the definitions of family, distance, money, technology, the very nature of human contact is changing every day, a world in which the rules don’t apply as often as they do, a world in which the solutions our parents found don’t work for us, and a world in which today’s answers probably won’t apply tomorrow. For someone who has lost his job or lost a spouse, our everyday world becomes just as frightening, just as dangerous, just as uncharted as the New World was to Columbus.

 

The other thing that lends unity to this show is composer Jason Robert Brown’s musical habits. There are a handful of rhythmic, melodic, and accompaniment patterns that he obviously likes and that he uses frequently throughout the show. And because he wrote the opening number last, most of these patterns are gathered together in the opening to provide a nice musical framework for the evening. Also, the melody and sometimes the lyric of the opening are used throughout the show as transition pieces and even occasionally show up within other songs.

 

This is one of my fave songs from the show. I can’t wait to hear all of these incredible songs performed live by this awesome cast!

 

 

 

 

And how did the show come to be? Mr Miller can tell us.

 

Composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown came to New York City at age twenty, determined to write Broadway musicals. Because he had no contacts or connections, he decided to do a cabaret show of songs he had written for various past projects. He had the good fortune to run into Daisy Prince, daughter of the legendary Broadway director/producer Hal Prince, at a piano bar where Brown was working. Out of the blue, Brown asked Daisy Prince to direct this show he was putting together, having no idea if she had ever directed anything before in her life. She agreed immediately. They worked on the material for three years but still had no opening number and no clear idea what the show was about. As they discarded existing songs, Brown wrote new ones. Finally it hit him. In his own words,

 

“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.”

 

They did a workshop of the show in Toronto, and then it was brought to the WPA Theatre in New York where it played a limited run of twenty-eight performances. The score was recorded in 1996 by RCA and released commercially. In 1998, Brown was given his first Big Time assignment – writing the score for the new musicalParade, opening at Lincoln Center in the fall of 1998, with a book by Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy) and directed by Daisy’s dad, the legendary Hal Prince. Up until this point, Brown had done a lot of work writing orchestrations and vocal arrangements for other people’s musicals (including William Finn’s A New Brain) but now it was time for him to get the spotlight and no doubt he will become one of the strongest new musical theatre writers of this generation.

 

Starring Patrice Tipoki Arkins, Kuki Tipoki, Jennifer Vuletic and Mark Doggett, and Musically Directed by Laura Tipoki Songs For a New World runs for a strictly limited season July 18th – July 20th 7pm and a matinee on Saturday July 20th 2pm.

Book online or call 07 54411 814

 

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01
Jun
13

The Boat & Big Rig Casanova

 

The Boat & Big Rig Casanova

Lind Lane Theatre

24th May – 1st June 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

The Boat

by Jill Shearer

 

Directed by Anne Grant

Featuring Ray Paine, Denise Hauville, Sean McBride & Kathryn Barnes

 

Confident direction and a decent exploration of Jill Shearer’s affecting text about a family man who is retrenched isn’t enough to send it skimming across the waves to us, but The Boat drifts along nicely for a while, and reveals a new creative force in Director, Anne Grant.

 

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In the little Lind Lane Theatre foyer, Grant provides terrific detail about absurdist theatre, for those who are unfamiliar with the genre, and a copy of the heartfelt tribute to Shearer, which David Berthold wrote at the time of her passing in 2012. It’s lovely to know that the production will be re-staged in the Seaside Museum on Bribie Island, where Shearer originally imagined the play, in a twilight performance on June 9th.

 

Sel (Ray Paine) sets up his reality confidently, without question, and the wife (Denise Hauville) and son (Sean McBride) support him in it just long enough to make sure we’ve invested too. A neat theatrical convention – an excellent choice – allows us time to process the unlikely image before us, which is a boat in the middle of a living room. Shearer’s is poignant, perfect writing, beautifully realised, and losing nothing until the introduction of the son’s girlfriend (Kathryn Barnes), which leads to a climax that seems undermined by some awkward moments. The naturalistic delivery style gets a little lost in the water at this stage, but on a special note; for his theatrical debut, Paine shines in this production.


The Boat
sets out from the shore strongly, and suffers a little as it suddenly loses the wind from its sails, but I did enjoy it, and I can imagine it will feel just perfect in the Seaside Museum. If you can catch it there, on June 9th, go see Grant’s production of Jill Shearer’s The Boat for yourself.

 

 

Big Rig Casanova

by David Haviland

 

Directed by David Haviland

featuring Michael Healy, David Haviland, Kirsty White, Julian White & Rex Halverson

 

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As with any new, unheralded thing, one goes in slightly wary, but there was no need for any misgivings about David Haviland’s Big Rig Casanova; it’s an entertaining, amusing and mysterious plot-driven piece that gives us a unique Australian story, a couple of good outback characters, and an upbeat song to boot! It feels like it wants to be a bigger show, something on the scale of Bob Cat Dancing perhaps?! Just imagine!

 

With projected images of a painted sunburnt country scene – picture an army of anthills and a windmill under various shades of blazing sun and sunsets – and minimal set pieces, we settle into an empty, eerie, outback out-station that hides away an artistic soul and his alter ego (some might say “muse”) from the harsh reality of the exterior, the “real world”. Colin Grevett  and Josh Wilson (Lighting & Sound) have contributed a distinct, almost hollow ambience to this production. It’s just right. With an odd assortment of additional characters to lead us, eventually, in the right direction, we see the pieces of the puzzle fall into place and start to understand the man…and a little bit about what it must be like to live alone in an ancient sacred place. I’d love to hear more about the spiritual aspects of the setting; the Indigenous aspect of the tale is so alluring and could easily help to raise the stakes when developed further. It seems a stronger character piece than perhaps first intended (or at least, advertised), but there’s a high-stakes sub-plot begging to be explored.

 

I look forward to seeing more from Haviland, and whether or not anything more is done with his Big Rig Casanova.

 

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Tonight is the final performance of the two one-act plays at Lind Lane Theatre but there’s certainly some must-sees coming up, among them, JRB’s superb Songs for a New World, produced by The Tipokis and starring Patrice Tipoki Arkins, Kuki Arkins, Jennifer Vuletic and Mark Doggett, together with Musical Director Laura Tipoki. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about this production!

 

Book early because SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD WILL SELL OUT!

 

26
Oct
12

Auditions: Songs for a New World

Songs For A New World

Phoenix Theatre Ensemble

EMAIL TO BOOK YOUR AUDITION

 sfnw.phoenix@gmail.com

At age twenty-five, songwriter Jason Robert Brown pulled together sixteen of the songs he had written for various projects (shows, cabaret, concerts) and director Daisy Prince found a common theme to make a show of the pieces. The theme is the moment of decision, the point at which you transition from the old to the new. The change may be geographical, emotional, professional or marital, but things are different than they were before.

The result is neither musical play nor revue, it is closer to a theatrical song cycle. A very theatrical song cycle.

Director: Zane C Weber

Musical Director: Luke Volker

Songs for a New World

WHEN

Auditions: November 4th

Calback: November 11th

WHERE
Pavillion Theatre Beenleigh

WHAT TO PREPARE
Please prepare TWO (2) songs, one ballad and comedic or upbeat: at least 32 bars each. An accompanist will be present at the auditions, but you are welcome to bring along backing tracks.

**AGE RESTRICTION**
Must be at least 18-years-old to audition

CAST REQUIREMENTS
The cast is made up of four talented performers (two women and two men) of any ethnicity between the ages of 18 and 60. These performers do not play the same characters throughout the show, but rather play new characters with each song performed.

 

It’s important to develop a fully formed character with each song, showing a full character arc in each number.

ALL PERFORMERS WILL BE UNDERSTUDIED.

ALL UNDERSTUDIES WILL BE GUARANTEED THE CHANCE TO PERFORM.

CAST VOCAL RANGE

Man #1 – D to High C (Tenor)
Man #2 – Low F – High A flat (Baritone)
Woman #1 – Low G – High F (2 octaves)
Woman #2 – Low F – High F (2 octaves)

SEASON
February 22nd – March 23rd, Friday and Saturday nights.

TO BOOK AN AUDITION

Email: sfnw.phoenix@gmail.com