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Songs for a New World

From 12 critic and 89 member reviews
Members say: Great singing, Entertaining, Great staging, Resonant, Must see

About the show

The first musical by Tony Award-winner Jason Robert Brown comes to Encores! Off-Center. A collection of songs examining life, love, and the choices ordinary people make when faced with extraordinary moments. More…

From the deck of a 1492 Spanish sailing ship to the ledge of a Fifth Avenue high-rise, each character faces the new world which follows the unique challenge they encounter. Kate Whoriskey, director of the recent Pulitzer Prize-winning and Tony-nominated 'Sweat,' directs this City Center revival. 

Times Square Chronicles

“Musical nirvana. I wish, I had been at the first performance, so I could have sent ever producer I know in town to see this brilliantly conceived and slightly updated version, because it is spectacular…The cast is perfection…creating complex characters with the heightened thrill of powerful vocal chops…What makes this production even more spectacular is the expanded orchestrations and backup dancers who give the songs and the show a new feel.” Full Review


“Sublime…Music director Tom Murray's nine-piece on-stage orchestra plays Brown's new orchestrations that bring out more of the music's contrasting and blending rock, gospel, chamber and folk textures...The focus, as is should be, is on the characters created by the music and lyrics, performed by a top-shelf quartet of actor/singers. Though each song stands on its own, the recurring theme of opportunities for new beginnings shines brightly…This is a great work of musical theatre." Full Review

AM New York

"At first glance, Jason Robert Brown’s 1995 revue 'Songs for a New World' appears to have no plot or characters. But a closer inspection reveals it to be a complex, thematically-linked work in which each song (written in diverse styles of pop) is a one-act play...The piece is receiving an unexpectedly thrilling concert-style revival...Shoshana Bean, Colin Donnell, Solea Pfeiffer, and Mykal Kilgore provide powerhouse vocals coupled with great acting choices." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

“The show offers a great assortment of songs, ranging in style...All four singers are excellent...Where Bean and Kilgore stand out is in their ability to create actual characters drawn from the lyrics to each of their songs...Terrific nine-person orchestra...An exceptionally fine production, and a rare and highly successful example of a plotless song cycle that manages to be as theatrical as a book musical, filled with unexpected pleasures throughout.” Full Review

The New York Times

"Flourishing in a glorious Encores! Off-Center iteration, savvily directed by Kate Whoriskey...For all the richness of Mr. Brown’s new orchestrations, and the vitality of a five-person dance ensemble choreographed by Rennie Harris, this staging smartly errs on the side of less is more...Ms. Whoriskey has done some sensible problem-solving with her casting, which is multiracial, and with the dancers, using them partly to open up the show’s worldview." Full Review


"It's everything someone who was obsessed with the recording could want...The joy of seeing it onstage comes from being able to fully appreciate how certain songs and arcs are connected...It's easy to see why 'Songs for a New World' resonates with so many people. Brown's score is filled with soul-stirring melodies (played here by an excellent nine-piece band), and his lyrics brim with emotion, hope, and soul." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Whoriskey's well-conceived production doesn't make any more of a case for these rather unrelated songs being put together in one show than the original production did. But it matters very little given how consistently persuasively and often thrillingly these tunes are being performed by a cast of four excellent vocalists, five amazingly athletic dancers (flawlessly executing Harris' hip-hop-inspired choreography) and a glorious sounding nine-piece orchestra." Full Review

Front Row Center

“The entire evening is tailored and tweaked to show off the talent assembled. And the audience was appreciative in the extreme from the start...Spectacular voices that blended and soared seamlessly. So seamlessly that within a few minutes they started to sound alike...The music begins to sound like it was a soundtrack for a movie. Not that this is a bad thing – it is just on the dull side. The standout performance, to my mind, was Shoshana Bean." Full Review


“A gem, a self-contained, fully developed story that tells of someone on the precipice...the show, with its complex musical styles requires a versatile cast that can go from lullaby to bawdy parody without missing a beat. You get all that and more from these four superb singers...For reasons unclear, this production adds an ensemble of five dancers, and while taking nothing away from their undeniable talent, it is an unnecessary extravagance, often a distraction.” Full Review


“Other than the piece itself, the two main attractions in the current production lie in its talented cast and expert production team. Bean is sharp and funny...Pfeiffer is full voiced and sweet...but with a slight tendency to hyper-emote...The clear audience favorite in the cast was Kilgore, a very animated and appealing performer...Harris’ choreography created a sort of connective tissue for the production, drawing the feel of one song into the world of the next.” Full Review

New York Stage Review

“A beautiful collection of numbers—including two of the best songs Brown has ever written...Brown could hardly have asked for better performers...But I’m still scratching my head over the inclusion of an ensemble of five dancers, who seem to serve no purpose other than filling the expansive City Center stage...If all the numbers in ‘Song’ share a common theme...You’ll have to search really hard for it...Just appreciate ‘Songs for a New World’ for what it is: an awesome concert.” Full Review

New York Theater

“Each song is well-crafted and terrifically theatrical. But ‘Songs for A New World’ as a whole feels less like an integrated work of theater, and more like a concert...If the revival was unavoidably a concert, director Kate Whoriskey ramped up the stagecraft to make it an especially theatrical concert, with elaborate lighting, a descending moon, and five extraordinary dancers executing Rennie Harris’ thrilling hip-hop-inflected choreography.” Full Review

Absorbing, Ambitious, Exquisite, Masterful, Great writing

See it if you enjoy musicals that do not fit the traditional mold. The show creates a new kind of musical sound-- one that should be emulated.

Don't see it if you dislike song cycles or do not enjoy modern scores

Great singing, Relevant, Resonant, Must see, Masterful

See it if Well. It’s over so you can’t. But you should have. Mykal Kilgore is the most ridiculous performer I’ve seen in ages. Maybe ever. Wow.

Don't see it if I mean. If you didn’t. It’s too late. But yeah. This song cycle should have a permanent home in the city even though it won’t.

Enchanting, Great singing, Resonant, Refreshing, Intelligent

See it if One of musical theater's finest song cycles. Wonderful ful production with top notch performances.

Don't see it if See it, if not too late.

Great singing, Must see, Exquisite, Clever, Intelligent

See it if You enjoy unbelievably fine singing, minimal staging and no definable plot.

Don't see it if You expect a typical full-blown Broadway musical.

Exquisite, Great acting, Great singing, Must see, Riveting

See it if you are a fan of Jason Robert Brown's work, and want to see a masterclass in Perfect Musical Theater Performances! This show is INCREDIBLE!

Don't see it if there is literally no reason not to see this's perfection. GO SEE IT! It's only open for a week! It needs to run on Broadway!!!

Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you want to be entertained. I love City Center everything there is great !!!!

Don't see it if no reason not to see it

Unforgettable, Touching, Must see

See it if You enjoy seeing a talented cast take terrific material and make it shine on stage and pierce your heart, with simple but smart direction.

Don't see it if You don’t mind missing an important musical theater event that is intelligent, expertly executed and simply beautiful to watch and hear.

Masterful, Great staging, Great singing, Exquisite, Enchanting

See it if Energetic fast paced amzing abundently talented singers & dancers who held attention without a dull moment Great choreography.

Don't see it if You missed Encores usual limited runs. One of Encores best. Don't see Encores expecting full Broadway musical productions.

Great singing, Masterful, Must see, Refreshing, Great writing

See it if you want to see one of the most talented group of people I have ever seen perform together! Standing ovations mid-show!!

Don't see it if you are looking for a story. It is a collection of songs that aren't really cohesive, but it doesn't even matter!!

Great singing, Great staging, Must see, Resonant, Absorbing

See it if Love great voices singing perfectly.

Don't see it if You missed it this past weekend.

Clever, Great singing, Great writing, Must see, Great staging

See it if You want to enjoy a show so much you start nodding to the music! Fan night for JRB lovers.

Don't see it if You want a story with a plot. This is more of a song revue with a tenuous connection. Just sit back and enjoy the show.

Also The only downside for me is that the orchestra occasionally overpowere... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Exquisite, Great singing, Must see, Riveting

See it if This was exceptional. The energy between the audience and performers was palpable. JRB made a cameo, and people went crazy. Amazing night.

Don't see it if You need a staged production, or are looking for a fleshed out story. It’s a night of vignettes, with 4 performers playing multiple roles.

Exquisite, Great singing, Great dancing

See it if You appreciate great lyrics, strong vocals, and evocative dancing.

Don't see it if You need a plot or a big production, Staging is lovely but simple.

Great singing, Great staging, Must see, Refreshing

See it if you want some of the best singing and dancing on stage right now. Shame it's only here thru Sat.

Don't see it if you don't like review or cabaret style musicals. There is no story.

Also A joy to see so many young people in the audience for a B'way composer... Read more Read less

Delightful, Great singing, Great staging, Entertaining, Refreshing

See it if If you are a fan of Jason Robert Brown, and appreciate “doing more with less,” this show is a must-see for fans of musical theater.

Don't see it if If you only like fully-staged “big” musicals.

Great singing, Great staging, Masterful

See it if you like Jason Robert Brown's music and performers who sing their faces off. Seriously, the best singing I have heard in a long time.

Don't see it if you want to see something with a plot. That is not this show.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great singing, Must see, Resonant

See it if you are a Jason Robert Brown fan, love the music, or just want to listen to incredible singers do their thing

Don't see it if you want a show with any sort of plot

Must see, Refreshing, Must-see, Perfectly cast, Showstopper

See it if you are a fan of JRB or contemporary musical theater. These songs really shaped the modern MT canon. The cast could not be better. So good!

Don't see it if You really don't like modern musical theater repertoire.

Great singing, Great score, Resonant, Must see, Intelligent

See it if you love great scores written for the stage! This is arguably still JRB's best one. Some shows actually get more relevant as time goes on.

Don't see it if you need a story and a book. It doesn't have one.

Entertaining, Great singing, Great acting, Great staging, Relevant

See it if you like Jason Robert Brown and want to see his early work and love song cycles and appreciate incredibly talented singers and dancers!!!1

Don't see it if You need a lot of dialogue.

Absorbing, Exquisite, Timely, Great singing, Great staging

See it if it returns to the professional stage in NYC. JRB's song cycle feels like it was written today. Glorious performances and staging.

Don't see it if don't miss it.

Enchanting, Entertaining, Great staging, Great singing, Riveting

See it if You appreciate a fresh take on the music of Jason Robert Brown.

Don't see it if You need a show with a linear plot or dialogue.

Clever, Great singing, Great dancing, Electric

See it if You like Jason Robert Brown or any of the singers. You like richly layered showtune pop.

Don't see it if You want a fully fleshed out plot (this is more of a song cycle). You want full sets or costumes.

Also I didn’t know most of these songs before I sat down, and only Jes JRB ... Read more Read less

Must see for a jrb fan, Great singing, Refreshing, 4 well matched talents

See it if Its 2 hours of pure singing. Four performers with different niches. Each assuming his role perfectly. Voices meld (usually) brilliantly.

Don't see it if You want a straightforward narrative. You dont want a young, loud enthusiastic audience.

Also Kilgore is the obvious star here and Shoshona Bean and Donnell yield t... Read more Read less

Great singing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Emotional, Great acting

See it if you like contemporary musical theatre and want to hear amazing singers act through a song cycle. And hear Mykal Kilgore's voice!

Don't see it if you like traditional musicals or plays or need a book to connect your musical experience.

Cast & Creatives (8)