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Songs For A New World

Published 27 July 2015

What’s it all about?

Four strangers, connected only by a common sense of loss, each haunted by the past and trying to make sense of an unsure future. This is a show about what happens when life isn’t going to plan, when the story you have written for yourself doesn’t have the ending you quite expected and when the dreams you wished for turn out to have been the wrong ones all along.

These four characters may open the show pleading for strength but one thing they certainly don’t need is strength of voice. Jason Robert Brown’s soaring song cycle, with all its complex harmonies and demanding melodies, is in exceptionally good hands in this 20th anniversary revival production.

Who’s in it?

This is such harmonious stuff that musical theatre fan’s dreams are made on.

Take two much-loved established performers in the form of the brilliantly versatile Jenna Russell, whose performance sways from hilarious to heart-rending in a matter of seconds, and the hugely watchable Damian Humbley.

Now throw in two relative newcomers whose stars are in ascent; the soulful-voiced Dean John-Wilson and Cynthia Erivo. What can you say about the latter? Only to watch this space and catch her in such an intimate setting while you can; her voice is goosebump-inducing, soul-shivering and brings a weight to every second of Brown’s emotional score.

What should I look out for?

In the words of the opening song “It’s about one moment” and there are plenty of these to watch out for in this witty and clever piece. Russell as a unappreciated Mrs Claus in Surabaya Santa – herein lies a lesson for enjoying this show: don’t worry too much about making sense of a plot, it takes you on a journey through small snippets of people’s lives – Wilson’s edgy vocals and the moments when all four come together for climactic, sensational harmonies.

In a nutshell?

Revel in the talents of some of musical theatre’s most exciting performers in Jason Robert Brown’s stunning song cycle that in 90 minutes takes you from heartbreak to joyful hope.

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Will I like it?

High drama, soaring vocals and raw passion from a company you can’t tear your eyes off. That would be a yes. It’s an evening that will leave you filled to the brim with hope. Still not convinced?Check out our Spotify playlist (below) of our standout tracks from the original Off-Broadway cast recording for a taster of what you can expect.

Songs For A New World is playing until 8 August. You can book tickets through the St James Theatre website.

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