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USU Opera Theatre performs 'Songs for a New World'

LOGAN — Utah State University students participating in USU Opera Theatre perform Jason Robert Brown’s “Songs for a New World” April 8 at 7:30 p.m. and April 9 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. in the Morgan Theatre on the USU Logan campus.

In the musical piece Brown transports his audience from the deck of a 1492 Spanish sailing ship to a ledge 57 stories above Fifth Avenue through a starling array of characters ranging 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.

“‘Songs for a New World’ is considered a song cycle,” said Stefan Espinosa, the production’s director. “It’s a sequence of individual songs that are connected thematically, somewhat akin to a musical revue, except without sketches. In the case of ‘Songs for a New World,’ we have a series of 17 songs all written by one of the most prolific composers of the late 20th century and all dealing with people standing at crossroads in their lives.”

In the opening prologue of the show Brown doesn’t introduce characters or plotlines but rather prepares the audience for the ideas of the show; the moments in our lives when the ground shifts beneath us, the winds suddenly change, the skies grow dark and we lose our way, Espinosa said.

“As I said, there are no predefined characters and no overarching plot but there are a great many complex but connecting themes spun through each song that weave them together in a vibrant picture of humanity,” Espinosa said. “This is, in fact one of my favorite aspects of the piece; the characters in each song are so terribly human. Full of contradictions and little paradoxes, they struggle on the brink of literal or metaphorical annihilation, fighting to find their way in a world that is fraught with possibilities and dangers known and unknown.”

“Songs for a New World” is showing April 8 at 7:30 p.m. and April 9 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 adults, $8 seniors and youth, $5 USU faculty/staff and free for USU students with ID.

“Songs for a New World” contains adult themes and some mature language. For more information, contact the CCA Box Office in room L101 of the Chase Fine Arts Center on USU’s campus, call 435-797-8022 or go to the Caine College’s website (cca.usu.edu).

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Writer: Whitney Schulte, CCA Production Services, for USU Public Relations and Marketing, 04/05/16

Photo: USU Students in the USU Opera Theatre production of ‘Songs for a New World.’ L to R: Jared Campbell, Rebecca Soelberg, Sean Peters, Devin Davis, Kimberly Muhlestein, Nicole Vander Does. (photo by Andrew McAllister)