Reviewed by Paula Citron
Songs for a New World
Music and lyrics by Jason Roberts Brown
Directed by Andrew Lamb
Musical direction by Anthony Bastianon
Performed by Erica Peck, Denise Oucharek, Stewart Adam McKensy and Justin Bott
Toronto Centre for the Arts
Mar. 30 to Apr. 23, 2011
The enterprising Angelwalk Theatre puts on small musicals. Jason Robert Brown’s 1995 hit Songs for a New World comprises of a group of un-related songs about life in the New World, and the lyrics are by turn hopeful, humorous and despairing.
Brown, who writes both music and lyrics, has been compared to Stephen Sondheim, but I have to say, I like his clever lyrics better than his soft rock repetitive music.
Angelwalk always gets singers who can act – in this case Erica Peck, Denise Oucharek and Justin Bott. The three can belt out a tune, according to today’s musical demands, but I worry about Stewart Adam McKensy’s softer voice lasting the run of the show.
My chief complaint is about the supremely ugly costumes by Alex and Carmen Amini. Other than that, Andrew Lamb’s direction works because it is minimalist, while Anthony Bastianon’s four-piece band is tight.
Songs for a New World continues at the Toronto Centre for the Arts until Apr. 23.