The first show of Little Theatre of Fall River's summer season is "Songs For a New World", which is an off Broadway hit musical with music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. The show is about hitting the wall and having to make a choice, take a stand, or turn around and go back. It is a pop/rock revue, featuring an array of characters who seek the American dream through laughter, love, companionship, adventure and passion. The show sits on the boundary between musical and song cycle. It is a series of largely disjointed songs with no plot or characters that continue from song to song, but the songs and production themselves are highly theatrical and character driven. Brown transports the audience form the deck of a Spanish sailing ship to the ledge 37 stories above Fifth Avenue to meet a startling array of characters ranging from a young man determined that basket-ball 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 as well as some well known historical and fictional characters including Christopher Columbus, Mrs. Claus and Betsy Ross. The music in this show is heavily influenced by a broad range of genres including pop, gospel, jazz and classical music, making it an example of musical pastiche. First time director John Nunes casts 4 talented performers for this show, blocking them wonderfully while Dan Snizek musically directs this all singing show. Their expertise wins the cast a standing ovation at curtain call.
The talented performers with amazing voices are Kelly Morrell Camara, Tyler Bradley Indyck, Mario Moniz and Maureen Santos. John says "Many of the songs if not all of them have a special meaning to which we can all relate." The harmonies are splendid. The glorious score of this show soars with the vocal talents of this cast. Mario has a phenomenal high tenor voice that flows from full voice into falsetto perfectly in many of his songs including "The New World" as Christopher Columbus, "The Steam Train" about escaping an ordinary life, "King of the World" about a Wall Street tycoon and "Flying Home" about angels helping you. This last number is reminiscent of "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" from "Dreamgirls". Mario has a terrific rock voice and sings scat perfectly. Kelly's fabulous mezzo soprano voice is heard belting in "I'm Not Afraid of Anything", "The New World" reprise called Transition One and a gorgeous ballad about the Blessed Mother called "Christmas Lullaby" and in the fantastic duet with Tyler called "I'd Give It All for You" which is very tender and touching. Kelly handles ballad and up tempo numbers with ease.
Tyler's terrific baritone voice is heard in "The River Won't Flow", a jazz song, "The World Was Dancing" and "She Cries" are given powerful renditions by this young performer. Both songs are emotion packed numbers. He also sings a beautiful duet with Kelly called "I'd Give It All for You". Tyler will be playing Link Larkin in "Hairspray" in July. Maureen's lovely soprano voice is heard in a Miss Adelaide type song called "Just One Step" about her cheating husband where she is on a ledge threatening to jump off and the Betsy Ross song called "The Flagmaker 1775" which is an antiwar song about sewing more one more star on the flag, "The Stars and the Moon" about snagging a rich husband while living a shallow existence and a torch song called "Surabaya-Santa" where she is Mrs. Claus threatening to leave her hubby. All the chorus numbers sound beautiful especially the harmonic blend of this quartet. John does a terrific job directing this show. He will be directing "Steel Magnolias" later this season. Stage manager Rick Couitt keeps things running smoothly all night long. So for a superb musical treat, be sure to catch "Songs for a New World" where the voices soar off the charts with their beauty and power.