Metro Weekly

Acclaimed musical “Songs for a New World” streams at Monumental Theatre

Jason Robert Brown's show, presented in a full virtual production, is about "the messiness of being human"

Monumental Theatre Company: Songs For a New World
Monumental Theatre Company: Songs For a New World

Fans of Tony-winning composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown are in luck, with not one but two of his musicals streaming from two local theater companies.

Through Sunday, July 11, you can catch Constellation Theatre’s stream of The Last Five Years starring Adelina Mitchell and Alex Stone.

Meanwhile, Monumental Theatre Company just launched a full-scale virtual offering of the acclaimed Songs for a New World, a pop/rock song cycle that premiered in a limited run Off-Broadway in 1995.

The show introduced the world to both Brown, who also served as pianist in the production’s five-piece band, and Billy Porter, who starred alongside Brooks Ashmanskas, Andréa Burns, and Jessical Molaskey in the original cast.

A series of seemingly unrelated stories revealing personal truths shared in confidence in the setting of a small support group, Songs for A New World presents a demanding and wide-ranging vocal and emotional showcase for its performers, and includes numbers that have since become showtune standards, among them “Stars and the Moon,” “King of the World,” and “I’m Not Afraid of Anything.”

Directed by Megan Bunn with choreography by David Singleton, Monumental’s production, based on the New York City Center’s 2018 Encores! version, features Kylie Clare Smith, Sarah Anne Sillers, Elvie Ellis, and Ryan Burke, along with a nine-piece orchestra led by Marika Countouris. Nearly twice the size of the band in the original Off-Broadway run, the Monumental production adds a luscious four-piece string section.

Songs for a New World is about how growth is constant, but not always linear — that’s the messiness of being human,” says Bunn in the show’s press release.

“After the past year of isolation, reflection, and reckoning, the potential for compassion and community present in these characters’ stories resonate with us now more than ever.”

Songs for a New World is available for streaming on-demand through July 31. Tickets, allowing unlimited views in a 48-hour window, start at $25 for one viewer on one device, or $30 for multi-viewers per device, plus service fees. Visit www.monumentaltheatre.org.

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