Friday, October 30, 2009

ICT's "Songs For a New World" Soars


Songs For A New World - ICT

Life is made up of millions upon millions of moments strung together. Some are ordinary, quietly passing before we even have a chance to notice. Others crash awkwardly into our path and demand attention whether we’re ready for them or not. And then there are the critical moments that require us to summon up our inner strength and become the larger part of who we are. These are the ones that chart our course and define us.

All of these are present in International City Theatre’s production of Jason Robert Brown’s Songs For a New World - moments of resignation, regret, fear, joy, courage, and ultimately hope. There is an elegance in this production, directed by Jules Aaron, choreographed by Allison Bibikoff and under the musical direction of Brent Crayon that complements the sophistication of Brown’s musical scenes.

The cast of four appears onstage throughout, always in some way connected to each other. They are a radiant Jennifer Shelton and powerful Anthony Manough (who has some of the most poignant moments in the show), Brent Schindele, (who especially shines in the angst-ridden “She Cries”) and humorous character woman Parnia Ayari.

Each of Brown’s songs is a self-contained “moment” of its own, effectively staged to invite the audience into the thoughts and feelings of the actors, and when they open up in glorious four-part harmony the effect is stunning. This is a contemporary, yet timeless piece full of weight and meaning.

John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” Perhaps we would do well to remember that it's all about the present moment too. Life does have a way of moving on whether we're paying attention or not.

Songs For a New World runs through November 15 at Long Beach Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available at www.ictlongbeach.com/ or by calling 562 436-4610.
Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
1:41 PM
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