Photo Flash: Gloucester Stage Presents SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD
Gloucester Stage Company continues its 37th season of professional theater on Cape Ann with a limited run of Jason Robert Brown's Songs For A New World from August 4 through August 27 at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. Songs For A New World with music and lyrics by three time Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown is a stirring musical journey examining the moments of decision and difficult choices faced in everyday life. Known for such Broadway hits as Parade, The Bridges of Madison County, Honeymoon in Vegas, and The Last Five Years, MR. Brown artfully blends pop, jazz and gospel in solos and ensemble styles to create this inspiring song cycle. Directed by Gloucester Stage Artistic Director Robert Walsh, the production features five singers including Tony Award nominee Barbara Walsh, Broadway veterans Rockport's Wendy Waring and Jack Donahue, Berklee College of Music graduate Chris Pittman and Brandeis' Nyah Macklin, all four in their Gloucester Stage debut. According to Director and GSC Artistic Director Walsh, "Songs For A New World is an enthralling evening of storytelling through song and movement reminiscent of Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. We are so fortunate to have such a talented group of actor-singers to bring this work to our audience. It's a particular treat to work with my cousin Barbara again after so many years! Wendy, Jack, Chris and Nyah are also incredibly fun, hugely talented and all working together in such a fun way - it's a thrill!"
Songs For A New World, Brown's first musical, premiered to wide critical acclaim Off-Broadway directed by Daisy Prince at the WPA Theatre in the fall of 1995 and went on to be produced all over the world. Composer, conductor, arranger, lyricist, singer, and pianist Jason Robert Brown was born in 1970 in Tarrytown, NY. He studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, and began working in musical theater in New York City in the early '90s, where he concentrated on merging pop/rock sensibilities with the long tradition of Broadway musicals. Parade, a musical Brown wrote with Alfred Uhry based on the trial and lynching of Leo Frank, premiered at the Lincoln Center Theatre in 1998, winning Brown a Tony Award for Best Original Score. His next work, The Last Five Years was cited as one of Time Magazine's 10 Best of 2001 as well as earning Brown Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics. In 2013 Brown directed the record-breaking Off-Broadway revival of The Last Five Years at Second Stage Theatre. MR. Brown was last represented on Broadway with Honeymoon in Vegas and The Bridges of Madison County. He won 2014 Tony Awards for Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations. Recently, Brown held the first reading of the first draft of his new musical, The Connector, with a book by Jonathan Marc Sherman and directed by Daisy Prince. MR. Brown is also the composer of the incidental music for David Lindsay-Abaire's Kimberly Akimbo and Fuddy Meers, MarSha Norman's Last Dance, David Marshall Grant's Current Events, Kenneth Lonergan's The Waverly Gallery, and the Irish Repertory Theater's production of A Long Day's Journey Into Night. He was a Tony Award nominee for his contributions to the score of Urban Cowboy the Musical.
Tony Award nominee Barbara Walsh makes her GSC debut in Songs For A New World directed by her cousin, Robert Walsh. On Broadway most recently, Ms. Walsh played Pat Nixon in the new Michael John LaChiusa musical, First Daughter Suite, at The Public Theater. Her other Broadway credits include Falsettos for which she received Tony, Drama Desk, and Drama League nominations, and an LA Ovation Award; Company for which she received Drama Desk and Drama League nominations; Nine; Big; Blood Brothers; Hairspray; and the Chicago company of Ragtime. Off-Broadway her credits include: Three Days To See with Transport Group; Normal; Birds of Paradise and Forbidden Broadway. Regionally she has been seen in Master Class at Paper Mill Playhouse; Dinner With Friends at The Old Globe; Carrie at Studio Theatre for which she won a Helen Hayes Award; Vanya, Sonia...at KC Repertory Theatre; 33 Variations at Capital Repertory Theatre; and A Little Night Music at Center Stage. Her film and TV appearances include NBC-TV's Law and Order Criminal Intent and Law & Order; and ABC-TV's One Life to Live and the feature film, Life With Mikey.
Wendy Waring has starred on Broadway as Ulla in The Producers, Z's Favorite in The Will Rogers Follies, and Irene in Crazy For You as well as supporting roles in Mathew Warchus's Follies and Legs Diamond with Peter Allen. She has had roles in Kiss of The Spiderwoman directed by Hal Prince, Cabaret at The George Street Playhouse, and Sunshine Boys at Syracuse Stage. Her skills also translate to the small screen with portrayals in the HBO pilot The Wino Crossing, the independent film The Definite Maybe, and The Producers movie. Her talents have also been utilized as a choreographer and assistant director in association with director Dale Lally and Jo Cimato in over fifteen productions guiding the students of Beacon High School for the last decade. This summer she was a guest teaching artist in Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshop sharing her talent and experience to teach a Broadway dance class. Her home is in New York City though she has roots in Rockport with her family. As a child she spent her summers in Rockport and currently returns on a regular basis to visit her parents, Rockport residents Bayard and Bea Waring. Bea Waring is a past president of the GSC Board of Directors and a current Board member as well a Miss America 1948.
Jack Donahue recently appeared in the New York revival of Once Upon a Mattress. His New York and regional credits include The Audience with Transport Group New York; first National Tour of Floyd Collins; What the World Needs Now at Old Globe Theater; The Ballad of Little Joe at Steppenwolf; and Songs for a New World at George Street Playhouse, among many others. Mr. Donhue has headlined on the QE II onboard Cunard's famous World Cruises, and sung at nearly every major jazz venue in the country including Birdland, The Blue Note, and The Jazz Standard. He headlined a two week engagement at The Algonquin Hotel's classic Oak Room, was a soloist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and has four critically acclaimed solo recordings available on Amazon and iTunes. He was awarded Outstanding Male Vocalist three times by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs. In Boston he has sung the National Anthem at Fenway Park twice.
A graduate of the Berklee College of Music where he studied Vocal Performance & Music Business, Chris Pittman has been a Boston resident for the past several years and has been seen in various productions throughout New England. Regionally his credits include: Pete in Showboat at the Shubert Theatre; Marvin in Sweet Charity at Stoneham Theatre; Mr. Jefferson and understudy Tom Collins in Rent and Flotsam in The Little Mermaid with Fiddlehead Theatre; Colossal with Company One at the Calderwood Pavilion and A Chorus Line at Norwood Theatre.
Originally from New Haven, CT, Nyah Macklin is currently a B.A candidate in Black Studies at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. Her credits include The Lady in Red in For Colored Girls ; Glenda in The Wiz (Glenda), and Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray all with Brandeis University Theater and Martha in Spring Awakening at Goucher College in Towson, MD.
Artistic Director and Songs For A New World director Robert Walsh has worked at Gloucester Stage as both an actor and director for over 20 years. Most recently, in 2015 GSC season he directed the Elliot Norton Award winning The New Electric Ballroom and starred in Israel Horovitz's Gloucester Blue. Walsh GSC directing credits include North Shore Fish, Fighting Over Beverley, The Widow's Blind Date, The Primary English Class, and Our Town. As an actor he has appeared on the stage in Gloucester in Sins of the Mother, The Subject Was Roses, The Barking Sharks, and Two for the Seesaw. He has also served as the Producing Artistic Director at the American Stage Festival where he directed Bus Stop, Intimate Exchanges, Jacques Brel..., and Lend Me a Tenor, among others. As Artistic Associate at Actors' Shakespeare Project he has directed As You Like It, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Coriolanus, Twelfth Night, and Measure For Measure. Other productions directed include: Othello with Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey; Round and Round The Garden, Table Manners, K2, Later Life and Holiday Memories at Merrimack Rep; Rancho Mirage, Race, Speed-The-Plow, and True West with New Repertory Theatre; The Secret of Sherlock Holmes and The Goatwoman of Corvis County at Shakespeare & Co.; Misalliance and A Life in the Theatre at Two River Theatre Co.; I Hate Hamlet with StageWest; The Little Foxes at Barter Theatre; and Of Mice and Men at Stoneham Theatre, among others. Mr. Walsh directed the on-field ceremonies for the '99 All-Star Game at Fenway Park. He is on the faculty at A.R.T/M.X.A.T. (Harvard) and Brandeis University.
Jason Robert Brown's Songs For A New World runs August 4 through August 27 at Gloucester Stage. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Following the 2 pm performances on Sunday, August 14 and Sunday, August 21 audiences are invited to free post-show discussions with the artists from Songs For A New World. Single ticket prices are $28 to $38 with discounts available for Preview Performances, Cape Ann Residents, Senior Citizens and Patrons 25 years old and under. In addition to regular reserved tickets, Pay What You Wish tickets are available for the Saturday, August 13 matinee at 2 pm. Pay What You Wish tickets can only be purchased day of show at the door. All performances are held at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. For more information about Gloucester Stage, or to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 978-281-4433 or visit www.gloucesterstage.com.
All Photos by Gary Ng