There is a great deal of debate over how to define a piece like Jason Robert Brown’s iconic debut work; ‘Songs for a New World’. Some see it as a concept album, a young composer experimenting with snippets from a variety of unfinished or dismissed projects, others see it as a thematic song cycle, a collection of ideas about modernity. But in today’s world where song cycles can all too often be a lazy get-out for a composer looking to stage in his songs in a production that desperately needs a good book, it is refreshing to revisit this finely crafted work in a 20th anniversary staging of the show that truly defined Brown as a master in understanding the human condition.
At a professionally-packed first night for Songs For A New World even long-time theatre diehards were squeaky with anticipation: never before have so many been longing for a ‘decent’ production of their favourite 1995 off-Broadway concept show. And they raved about it, cheering every song and jumping to their feet at the end.