The College of Saint Rose Theatre presents “Songs for a New World,” a work of musical theater that depicts individuals who are forced to make a life-altering decision instantly.
The show will be performed Thursday, November 1, and Friday, November 2, at 7 p.m.; Sunday, November 3, at 2 p.m.; and November 8 through 10 at 7 p.m. Performances take place in the Saint Rose Campus Theatre, 996A Madison Ave. (behind 1000 Madison Avenue). Tickets for November 1 through 3 are $12 and $8 for students. Tickets for the November 8 through 10 performances are $15; $12 for students. No reservations are taken, and payment is accepted only in cash.
Written by Jason Robert Brown, the play opened off-Broadway in 1995. In a departure from a traditional musical, “Songs for a New World” has no specific plot or single set of characters. Instead, the songs revolve around a unifying theme: What happens when someone has to react instantly – perhaps jump, freeze, or run. These include moments in history and those our country is facing today.
“There is so much we are saying with this production,” said the director, Angela Ryan-Ledtke, Saint Rose instructor of acting. “We all know what it feels like to have to decide something, whether to literally move or to make a life change. This play shows the struggle and result.”
One song, set on a Spanish sailing ship, takes up slavery. Ryan said the discussion is similar to our contentious national dialogue about asylum-seekers. Another song, originally showing Betsy Ross sewing a flag, becomes a statement about the recent shootings at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Other situations are less specific but universal. Ryan sees the work as a call to action.
“We want the audience to be thinking when they leave, ‘What do I do now about these important matters?’”
Originally set for a cast of four, the Saint Rose production features seven actors:
Juliana Rivelli, music education major (musical theater minor), from Smithfield, Rhode Island
Nicholas Harry Edwards, music education major, from Berlin, New York
Mark Manning, music industry major, Patchogue, New York
Aileen Burke, political science major (journalism and drama minors), from Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania
Kyra Vazquez, music industry major, from Powell, Ohio
Breanne Morrissey, music industry major, from Chicago, Illinois
Matthew Boyce, music industry major (musical theater minor), from Saratoga Springs
Choreographer: Jillian Ruddy
Assistant choreographer: Alex Choppy
Stage Managers: Emily Paolicelli and Sam Karian