SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD Comes to Palm Beach

Performances run June 30 – July 2 on the mainstage at Palm Beach Dramaworks.

By: Jun. 16, 2023
SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD Comes to Palm Beach
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Five talented teenagers from Palm Beach County will be featured onstage in theAcademy@pbd’s production of Jason Robert Brown’s acclaimed Songs for a New World, which runs from June 30 – July 2 on the mainstage at Palm Beach Dramaworks. The Academy is a summer program that offers rigorous, professional-level training for both teen actors and stage managers, and creates a safe and positive environment for optimal learning. In addition to the five performers, two students are working on the show as assistant stage managers.  

Songs for a New World, staged Off-Broadway at The WPA Theatre in 1995, was Jason Robert Brown’s first produced show. It has since gone on to enjoy tremendous popularity across the country, in the UK, and in Australia. The piece is a song cycle and the songs, Brown said in a 2018 Playbill interview, are like “musical short stories.” Although each song stands on its own, the connective tissue is that most are about people on the precipice of some kind of change. The music is a stylistic smorgasbord; in that same interview, Brown said “there’s a very deliberate attempt to have a little of everything in there, gospel and R&B and jazz and rock and salsa and polkas and German music hall parodies and country and singer-songwritery things.” The Academy’s production features four musicians. 

"Songs for a New World explores the journey of life, from birth to death,” said Director of Education and Community Engagement Gary Cadwallader. “Each song examines what it means to face life’s challenges as an adult: work through the conflict, stay passive, or run backwards. I chose this piece so that we, as an ensemble, can challenge ourselves and the audience to think more deeply about our relationships and contemplate what it means to be an adult.”

Casting was by audition and stage managers were chosen via interviews. The performers are Isabela Aronson (A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts), Nicolette Clivio (Dreyfoos), Nisa Guvenilir (Boca Raton High School), Connor Hullender (G-Star School of the Arts), and JJ Korkin (Dreyfoos). The stage managers are Alivia Adams (Dreyfoos) and Jacob Quartell (G-Star). The production is directed by Cadwallader, with Elizabeth Dimon as assistant director. Joshua Lubben is the music director, Paul Tine is the vocal director, Brian O’Keefe is the costume designer, Addie Pawlick is the lighting designer, and Roger Arnold is the sound engineer.  

Jason Robert Brown (composer/lyricist) is a gifted multi-hyphenate: a skilled composer, lyricist, conductor, arranger, orchestrator, director, and performer. He won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Score for his seminal Parade – a new Broadway production recently won the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival – and Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Orchestration for The Bridges of Madison County in 2014. Songs for a New World, staged Off-Broadway at The WPA Theatre in 1995, was his first produced show. He also wrote the scores for The Last Five Years, 13, Honeymoon in Vegas, and Mr. Saturday Night, and composed the music for The Trumpet of the Swan, an acclaimed children’s symphony based on E.B. White’s classic novel, which he adapted with playwright Marsha Norman. Jason has performed in concerts around the world, as a soloist or with his band The Caucasian Rhythm Kings, and has released several albums. He spent ten years teaching at the USC School of Dramatic Arts, and has also taught at Harvard University, Princeton University, and Emerson College. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and the American Federation of Musicians Local 802.

Songs for a New World is sponsored by Mary Keymer and the Sean Boneri Creative Fellowship.

Performances are June 30 and July 1 at 7pm, and July 2 at 2pm. Tickets are $15 for students and $35 for adults. Tickets can be purchased through the box office, in person, or by phone (561.514.4042 ext. 2), and online 24 hours a day at    

Palm Beach Dramaworks is a professional, nonprofit theatre company founded in 2000 and located in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach. Each season, the award-winning company produces five mainstage shows and offers a wide variety of programs for students at the theatre, in schools, and online. Committed to fostering the future of theatre, PBD has become a hub for playwrights in Florida and around the country to nurture their work through initiatives including the annual New Year/New Plays Festival. PBD is a member of Theatre Communications Group, Florida Professional Theatres Association, and the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County. 


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