Songs for a New World, presented by Music Theatre Fargo-Moorhead
The Stage at Island Park
February 14, 15, and 16, 7:30 p.m.
February 16 and 17, 2 p.m.
The setup for Music Theatre Fargo-Moorhead’s production is simple. It’s a wooden ship, perhaps either embarking or arriving, and little else. Four cast members clad in simple black outfits embrace unnamed, archetypical roles.
But underneath the surface simplicity is the teeming life of Songs for a New World, penned by Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown, which seeks to remind us that beneath our simplified constructions of the world lie critical moments of change and transformation.
Lynette Burgan, co-director of the production, said that the show compiles stories of life-changing decisions and “big moments,” like death or falling in love, tied together with the theme of arriving somewhere new. The characters take on broad human characteristics, like maternalism, materialism, and spirituality.
Burgan said that the group was motivated to do the show after meeting Brown. Songs for a New World was a turning point in his career, sparking a run of successful projects over the past 20 years and turning Songs for a New World into a popular cabaret standard in the process.
“He talked about his journey and how he wrote this show, and talked about how his life changed because of it,” she said, “and it was fantastic.”
These universal themes of growth and change resonated with the cast as well. Adam Harfield, in bio information prepared for the production, describes a life-changing event in his own life:
I was just out of college, working three different jobs, and basically living paycheck to paycheck. It was extremely difficult to commit to any theatre projects and I found myself unable to pay for any additional luxuries such as going out eat or to go see the newest movie. Feeling myself starting to fall into a depression, I was faced with two options: move back home to the Twin Cities, leaving my friends and girlfriend in Fargo or stay in Fargo with my girlfriend and focus on finding a full-time job that would allow me to breathe easier. Something that would allow me to follow my passion and more importantly keep me close to the woman I love. I learned that, together, there is nothing we can’t accomplish and that no matter how tough times seem, we will always find a way.
Image: (l to r) Angie Schultz, Kathy Hanson, Adam Harfield, and Ted Horan, the cast of Songs for a New World, at rehearsal earlier this week. Photo by the author.
Video: via The Stage at Island Park on Vimeo, by Scott Brusven.