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Songs For A New World offers great musical variety

Eastern theater’s latest production, Songs for a New World, presented a collection of 18 songs composed by musician Jason Robert Brown. SFANW represents the lighter side of Eastern’s theater, following the traditional plays, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea and Three Sisters, which were performed earlier in the academic year.

The musical did not have a storyline – instead, each of its 17 songs served as a brief character sketch. They were performed cabaret style, which typically consists of four singers, four stools and a small band.

“Since it’s not a storyline musical, we can do whatever we want,” said Teresa Moyer, assistant director of theater, who produced and directed SFANW. “The potential for creativity is so great.”

SFANW represented a diverse collection of songs centered around the discovery of different perspectives on a journey through life.

Performances ranged from a musical interpretation of Betsy Ross in “The Flagmaker,” to the comical “Surabaya Santa,” which depicts a sensuous, lonely Mrs. Claus who becomes embittered while her husband is away delivering toys.

Other songs explored concepts ranging from romance and marriage to faith, war, death and injustice.

Because of its nature as a musical theater production, SFANW provided more opportunities for choreography than a typical play. Each song focused on one or two individuals, but often the whole company was brought in by the end of the song. The choreography was done by alumnus Joshua Landis.

The original production of SFANW was produced by Daisy Prince, daughter of Broadway producer Hal Prince. The performance ran Off-Broadway at the WPA Theater in 1995 for 28 performances.

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