Skyline Theatre presents powerful “Songs for a New World” this weekend

Powerful voices perform powerful songs this week at Skyline High School.

Left to right: Elena Schroeder, Ben Nacht, Greer Taylor, Joseph Patrick Raney, and Hannah Connell prepare to sing “Songs For A New World.”

Skyline Theatre will present “Songs For A New World” May 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Skyline High School’s Experimental Theatre.  Directed by Anne-Marie Roberts with music direction by Rachel Xydis. Tickets are $10 for students and seniors, $15 for adults and are available at the door.

“Songs for a New World” is about one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice… or take a stand… or turn around and go back. These are the stories and characters of today. The first musical from Tony Award winner, Jason Robert Brown (“Parade,” “Bridges of Madison County”), this moving collection of powerful songs examines life, love and the choices that we make.

“Truly, this show is so applicable to today with all of the change going on in the US,” said Roberts.  “Each character is at that point where they are making a decision to change or not, for better or not.”

With a small, powerhouse cast (Joseph Patrick Raney, Greer Taylor, Elena Schroeder, Hannah Connell, and Ben Nacht) and a driving, exquisitely crafted score that runs the gamut of today’s popular music, Songs for a New World is a great way to bring the next generation into the theater.

Two of those voices (Raney and Taylor) were recently nominated for the Sutton Foster Ovation Award, recognizing outstanding high school performances in the state of Michigan for their performances in Skyline Theatre’s production of “Les Miserables” last fall.

Brown transports his audience from the deck of a 1492 Spanish sailing ship to a ledge, 57 stories above Fifth Avenue, to meet a startling array of characters that range from a young man who has determined that basketball is his ticket out of the ghetto to a woman whose dream of marrying rich nabs her the man of her dreams—and a soulless marriage.

Another interesting aspect of this production is that Skyline Theatre alum Rachel Xydis (a 2013 Skyline graduate who recently earned a music education and vocal performance degree from  Grand Valley State University) is returning to the program as music director for this production.

“It’s so neat to work with alumni as adults,” said Roberts.  “I get to know them in a deeper way.”


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