Production's cast sings of struggle, strife, survival

Rehearsal image.SUNY Oswego’s musical production “Songs for a New World” looks at characters finding support and solace among the struggles of life and love.

From its development in Toronto to its first stage production off-Broadway in October 1995, “Songs for a New World” has provided a glimpse at the next generation of musical theatre. The pop-infused score was released by RCA in 1996 to critical acclaim, giving author Jason Robert Brown a springboard to future renown as a lyricist. 

“‘Songs for a New World’ is not your traditional musical theatre fare,” stage director Jonel Langenfeld-Rial explained. “There is little to no spoken dialogue, no real dance breaks included, and no traditional plot structure tying the entire piece together. What it does have is lots of songs and a theme which weaves itself in and around each song.”

The show draws in audiences with the vulnerability and accessibility of the lyrics and the pop score, taking moments of sadness and creating the joy of possibility that stems from the challenge of survival.

“The songs come together so when the characters come together to comfort the sadness of one or share in the joy of another, there’s a feeling of sweet reality—people really do care about each other,” noted columnist Madeleine Shaner from

An ensemble cast weaves and blends the various storylines throughout the show. While author Brown wrote the piece for a four-member cast, Langenfeld-Rial and musical director Todd Graber have expanded the cast to 12.

“Since these singers do not play consistent characters throughout the show, we have cast a larger group of 12 singers to handle the vocal chores and help flesh out some of the gorgeous ensemble moments,” Graber said.

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 Parking is free in campus lots on evenings and weekends.

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PHOTO CAPTION—Three to get ready—SUNY Oswego students Olivia Zeis, left, Dylan Duffy and Alicia Taggert rehearse the pop-infused musical “Songs for a New World,” opening Feb. 26 in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Tyler Box Office at 315-312-2141 or online at

(Posted: Feb 04, 2010)

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