Songs for a New World

Shalom Life reviews the musical by Jason Robert Brown -- on stage at the Toronto Centre for the Arts.

Published: April 9th 2011
in Culture » Stage

Erica Peck and Justin Bott

If you’re a fan of Jason Robert Brown’s music, you shouldn’t think twice before seeing Songs for a New World -- the Jewish songwriter’s first musical. And if you haven’t heard of the Tony Award-winning composer, you only have until April 23 to become aquatinted with his heart-warming music. Songs for a New World is being staged at the Toronto Centre for the Arts’ Studio Theatre.


The play joins a growing list of musical theatre song cycles (a group of songs that are performed in a specific sequence as part of one entity). The off-Broadway musical was originally workshopped in Toronto and put on at New York’s WPA Theater in 1995. The play showcases four performers; each actor plays a number of different characters and sings about the challenges of everyday life.


The Angelwalk Theatre production features a talented cast, including Dora-award nominee Erica Peck (We Will Rock You, The Boys in the Photograph), Denise Oucharek (The Sound of Music), Stewart Adam (Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) and Justin Bott ([title of show]). Each actor plays a variety of characters, ranging from a basketball player to Mrs. Claus. The songs are vocally demanding, but the ensemble cast does justice to Brown’s music.


The no frills set lets the music stand out -- fans of Brown will definitely leave the theatre humming songs like “Stars and the Moon” and “I’m not Afraid of Anything.”


For tickets and more information, visit or call 416 872 1111.

Related articles: (Jason Robert Brown, Songs for a New World, Erica Peck, The Last Five Years)

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