Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Jason Robert Brown, Andrea Burns, Jessica Molaskey|
Songs For A New World (1996 Original New York Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
No Description Available No Track Information Available Media Type: CD Artist: SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD Title: ORIGINAL CAST RECORDING Street Release Date: 03/11/1997
Listen to Samples
No Description Available
No Track Information Available
Media Type: CD
Artist: SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD
Title: ORIGINAL CAST RECORDING
Street Release Date: 03/11/1997
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The future has arrived!
burghtenor | Washington, DC | 01/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some people have been lamenting the supposed "death" of American musical theater since the 1960s. While such eulogies have always been overblown, the fact remains that producing a new musical has become increasingly expensive, discouraging producers from taking the risks necessary to produce great art.
SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD, an off-Broadway revue, introduced the world to musical theater's greatest new hope, composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown. From the first bars of the opening number, Brown boldly declares, "Time to fly!" The music soars, enhanced by four talented actor-singers, a five-piece band, and one neophyte director (Daisy Prince, Hal's daughter) to bring joy to the flight.
The opening number describes "A New World." What this world may be is subject to multiple interpretations: the transformations of individuals in challenging moments, the risks faced by innovators throughout the history of the western hemisphere ("The New World"), and perhaps Brown's and Prince's talents bursting forth into the musical theater world. Whatever else this world may be, it is bold. It's "crash[ing] down like thunder," "charging through the air," and "shattering the silence."
While each remaining song is a self-contained story, each portrays characters that inhabit this new world, facing their challenges with a variety of emotions: humor, angst, determination, and joy. There are the unnamed contemporary people, including the woman who finds her invulnerability to be the source of pain, the confident man inexplicably scared of commitment, and the former couple re-uniting after time of personal discovery. There are also the "historical" people: Christopher Columbus -- here a surprisingly apropro soulful African-American -- facing doubts amidst his trans-Atlantic journey, and Betsy Ross, struggling to find a way to support her husband and child during the Revolutionary War.
Brown's perfect lyrics for these characters speak our vernacular no matter how different their situation is from our own. The athlete driven to basketball stardom sees it as his only ticket out of the ghetto. (What else can he do? 10 of the 11 guys in his fifth grade class are now in jail or dead, and "Gordon Connors works at Twin Donut on 125th Street.") The latest Mrs. Claus questions her marriage to an overweight immortal who spends his time with reindeer. ("Oh yes, it's so easy to judge, isn't it? Deciding who's naughty and who's nice?") However, one angry character -- the desperate housewife threatening to jump from a skyscraper -- is cruder than I think she needs to be.
Jessica Molaskey, Andrea Burns, Ty Taylor, and Brooks Ashmanskas, disparate as they are, make a great team. All are great actors with good voices. Molaskey sings in a wide of range of accents (from the foreign-born Mrs. Claus to the Long Island housewife); Burns has a simple pure tone that lends a sense of earnestness; Taylor (who did not appear in the show, but substituted for Billy Porter on the recording) cleanly nails even the highest notes in his stratospheric upper range; Ashmankas's husky baritone gives him a "regular guy" aura even as he sings sophisticated lyrics with great technique.
Brown's music features deceptively complex rhythms and some occasionally funky chords, often giving his pieces an appealing, high-octane driving beat, such as in "On the Deck of a Spanish Sailing Ship," "The River Won't Flow," and "Steam Train," to name a few. But what distinguishes Brown from his contemporaries is his gift for melody, and this gift is the key to Brown's ability to push the envelope on musical theater conventions. For example, the tune of "Stars and the Moon" (perhaps the best song of the show) is so beautiful that the listener fails to notice how difficult the accompaniment is, nor to expect the surprise ending of the song's story. The simple melody of "Christmas Lullaby" allows Brown to sneak in a fairly overt religious idea without offending the most secular elements of the audience. (Producers take note: this is the key to simultaneous commercial and artistic success: make the music pretty, even if it's unconventional!)
One character sings: "A new world holds me to a promise." May the new world of musical theater promised by Jason Robert Brown continue to call across the sky for years to come!"
Show Tunes of a New Kind.......
Julie Jordan Scott | Bakersfield, CA United States | 06/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This CD has been my constant companion as I have been involved in a production of this show for the last eight weeks. I have really enjoyed the music and doubt I would ever get tired of listening to this CD unlike many other "show" CD's which wear out their welcome fairly rapidly.I am amazed at the maturity of the composer - who was in his early twenties when he scribed these very evocative songs. The harmonies are amazing and they cast does a wonderful job blending their voices effortlessly and beautifully.I suggest really listening carefully to the lyrics and watch how your perception can change as you grow from one stage of your life to the next - yes, its good enough to hold onto as a regular play for that long.Great stuff."
American musicals can live w/o Sondheim!! It's a New World.
burghtenor | 02/08/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Who are you and where did you come from Jason Robert Brown? "Songs for a New World" proves that there are still good young writers left. A musical genius who also can write incredible lyrics, almost every single track on the 16 song album gives even the most jaded musical theater critic hope for a brighter future. Defying the theory that composer-lyricists do not exist (and defying Adam Guettel, alleged heir to Sondheim's throne), Brown creates a masterpiece essential to CD collections of people who like music, not just people who like musicals. And he's barely 30! Watch this kid; he's really that good. Also, if in New York before Feb. 28, 1999, GO SEE PARADE!!! Unfortunately, another great show is closing because of money issues. Still, look for Jason Robert Brown to be at the forefront of musical theater in the 21st century."