A beautifully performed ‘Songs for a New World’ from Triune Entertainment

The actors were flawless in both voice and portrayal of their characters.

By Drew Fleming 

Wind River Theater at the Art Factory was alive with excitement as you opened the door to the top floor of what was originally Hopkins Candy Factory where Director Matt Moore and Triune Entertainment presented Songs for a New World, a work for musical theater written and composed by Jason Robert Brown.

The songs in Songs for a New World were originally written for other venues and events culminating in an abstract musical theme. The show is a series of vignettes where the actors take on different roles spanning the period from 1492 to 2026. It will keep you on your toes. All actors are leads, and just when you pick your favorite, everything changes with the next transition. My favorite moment was “I’m Not Afraid of Anything” from Act 1.

Cate Murray, Sarah Bright, Josh Ewalt, and Shakil Azizi perform the beautiful, soaring vocal blends of ‘Hear my Song’ in ‘Songs for a New World.’ Photo courtesy of Triune Entertainment.

We are introduced to a small ensemble of actors called Woman 1, Woman 2, Man 1, and Man 2. As the show opens, Woman 1, played by Cate Murray, enters stage right. Her voice fills the air with the show’s theme song, “The New World,” as Woman 2 (Sarah Bright), Man 1 (Shakil Azizi), and Man 2 (Josh Ewalt) join in. The audience knew they were in for a treat. This show is vocally demanding, and the actors were flawless in both voice and portrayal of their characters.

The orchestra (Chris Calavas, drums; Jason Cardenas, bass; Melanie Waddy, violin; Ahnika Emory, violin/viola; Joan Wolfe, Cello; Ken Hall, guitar) under the direction of Chris Smith provided the audience with beautifully performed musical numbers.

Matt Moore assembled a first-class crew that shared in his vision and embraced it. The technical aspects of Songs for a New World under the direction of Dan Martin were executed in a way that let the actors flow in and out of scenes seamlessly. The set was simple, the lighting focused on the actors and the rear scrim allowed for silhouettes of the actors performing in real-time.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Jack Tessier is given difficult news by Sarah Bright in ‘Stars and the Moon’;
Cate Murray shares her past, present, and future in ‘I’m Not Afraid of Anything’; Shakil Azizi rails against his imprisonment in ‘King of the World,’ in ‘Songs for a New World.’ Photos courtesy of Triune Entertainment.

This musical ran one weekend only, January 19 to 21, 2024. I only wish there were more shows for everyone to enjoy. As the actors took their bows, the audience jumped to their feet to give a well-deserved standing ovation. Bravo to the cast, crew, and orchestra for Songs for a New World.

Songs for a New World played January 19, 20, and 21, 2024, presented by Triune Entertainment performing at the Wind River Theater in the ARTfactory of Manassas at 9419 Battle Street, Manassas, VA 20110.

Drew Fleming is an actor and singer/songwriter in Northern Virginia.

Songs for a New World
Written and composed by Jason Robert Brown
Directed by Matt Moore
Producer: Mary Beth Balint, Vocal Director: Carolyn Scott, Choreographer: Christie Dubansky, Asst. Director: Scott Pierce, Stage Manager: Debbie Martin, Production Asst.: Ryan Balint, Lighting Operator: Lex Hartung, Asst. Vocal Director: Robert  DeBroeck, Asst.

Stage Manager: Samantha Wong, Camera Operator: Jack Tessier.

‘Songs for a New World’ rings in new year for Triune Entertainment
(news story by Laura Mills, December 29, 2023)


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