'Songs' production notes universal moments of hope

Cast in basketball uniforms.The SUNY Oswego production “Songs for a New World,” opening Feb. 26, notes a universal theme of reaching for hope in life’s challenging moments.

“‘Songs for a New World’ follows the various stories of individuals from all different classes, locations and even time periods,” said Katherine Boswell, the production’s student dramaturge. “Despite their differences, the characters in each of the songs are connected by a common hope for a better life and the determination to overcome the struggles that come along the way.”

Written by Jason Robert Brown, the show is song-cycle—meaning instead of a traditional plot, it is presented through vignettes. A cast of 12 plays the various characters experiencing moments of struggle and survival.

An example is “Steam Train,” about a young man who sees basketball as a way to escape his life of poverty. “In the song, he talks about his aspirations of making it pro while also talking about his difficult childhood,” Boswell said. “In addition, he talks about those he grew up with who have succumbed to crime, death or poverty.”

Jonel Langenfeld-Rial of the SUNY Oswego theatre faculty directs the production, with Todd Graber of the music faculty providing musical direction.

The show is suggested for audiences 15 years old and older.

“Songs for a New World” will preview at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre with all seats priced at $6. Additional 8 p.m. performances will take place Feb. 26 and 27, and March 5 and 6, with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, March 7. 

Tickets for the regular run cost $14 ($12 seniors and students, $7 for SUNY Oswego students).

Tickets may be purchased by calling the Tyler Box Office at 315-312-2141 or online at http://tickets.oswego.edu. Parking is free in campus lots on evenings and weekends.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Ready to play—The SUNY Oswego production of “Songs for a New World,” opening Feb. 26, will feature an ensemble cast taking on life’s pivotal moments, from love and loss to following hoop dreams. Cast members include, top from left, Jamine Coley, Rob Beshures and Dylan Duffy; middle row from left, Charles Smith, Olivia Zeis, Alysha Taggart, Erik Shuler and Elizabeth Enwright; and bottom from left, Melissa Erwin, Jessica Quindlen and Jackie Mienkiewicz.

(Posted: Feb 11, 2010)