Arts and Living Editor
“Songs for a New World,” a heartfelt piece following a non-linear plotline tied together by the threads of happiness and heartbreak, debuts today in Theater West.
A theatrical sound cycle exploring crucial themes such as death, war, immigration and unplanned pregnancy, “Songs for a New World” sets itself apart with gorgeous music and a unified promise throughout its production – hope.
“You think you are in one path in life, and then something happens that changes your life entirely,” Dr. Grace Edgar, director of the production, said.
Creator Jason Robert Brown describes the show as the moment in your life where you have to make the decision to be safe or be free.
Edgar regards the amount of challenge which goes into a musical which lacks clear structure.
Artistic decisions for both the director and the many actors of “Songs for a New World” run rampant and allow for personality and heartfelt moments to shine through in the performance that Edgar hopes will leave an impression.
Edgar wants the themes addressed in the show to “challenge the audience and hopefully spark further conversations” about these issues that are still relevant today.
Emannuel Dunn, senior who plays Man F, recognizes the unique difficulty in a musical with no individual story and the importance of the quiet truths of the many characters he must take on as a performer.
“A lot of it has underlying meaning and messages,” Dunn said. “It’s really special in the sense it can reach a lot of people in today’s society.”
Dunn thinks that relating this message would not be the same without his fellow cast mates, who he said are talented and responsible for aiding in making sure that “Songs for a New World” is something beautiful.
“We’ve been able to have these moments where it just feels like we can all come together,” Dunn said. “We want to be able to share that feeling with the people who will come to see the show.”
Emily Ricalde, senior who plays Woman D, accepted the challenge of playing many characters without connections to each other as a welcome one. Describing “Songs for a New World” as an intimate piece, she is ecstatic about the advantage that Theater West will hold for the production.
“It is not so much a presentational work of art,” Ricalde said. “It is a more audience-connection, intimate-type thing.”
For Ricalde, the unifying themes of difficulty of rebirth and freeing oneself are ones that not only define “Songs for a New World” but themes she hopes audiences will take to heart.
“No matter what happens in life everything is going to be okay,” Ricalde said. “Everything will be okay in the end.”
“Songs for a New World” will be performed Nov. 6 through 9 and Nov. 13 through 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. Adults tickets cost $15, and children and senior tickets cost $12. Admission is free for all NSU, LSMSA and BPCC students with a current ID and sticker.