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Lycoming College’s theatre department kicks off its 50th season with a mainstage production of “Songs for a New World,” a contemporary abstract musical about decisions and self-discovery. Performances will be held Thursday, Oct. 18 through Saturday, Oct. 20 at 8:00 p.m. in the Mary Lindsay Welch Honors Hall.
Often produced by small theatre groups and colleges alike, “Songs for a New World” has long been on the theatre department’s radar. The show will feature a cast comprised of nine students under the direction of Chris Austin Hill, Ph.D., assistant visiting professor of theatre at Lycoming College, with Gary Boerkel, Ph.D., as the director of music. With a challenging vocal score and an abstract quality that allows for clever set designs, this show provides great opportunities for student actors and stage crew members alike.
Written by Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown, “Songs for a New World” weaves characters and history together to illuminate the timelessness of self-discovery. Contrary to more traditional musicals, “Songs for a New World” was composed as more of a song cycle than a musical play. The production captivates audiences with its dynamic characters as well as its extraordinary representation of life, love, and the choices people make.
“In terms of the themes of the show, ‘Songs for a New World’ is about those moments in all of our lives when we face a transition, or a moment when we have to make a difficult and life-changing choice—when we’ve been doing our thing, and then something happens that demands that we change direction,” Hill explained. “At the end of the day, ‘Songs for a New World’ tells us that if we think to look for it, it’s in those moments of fear, confusion, and transition that we find our community—our tribe—and that we aren’t alone, even in our worst moments.”
Musical theatre productions at Lycoming College are made possible in part by the support of the Otto L. Sonder Jr. Endowed Program in American Musical Theatre.
“We are extremely fortunate to have received the extraordinary gift of Dr. Otto Sonder, a graduate and former faculty member of the College,” said Biliana Stoytcheva-Horissian, Ph.D., associate professor of theatre and chair of the theatre department. “Due to his generosity, we were able to start a new musical theatre concentration and provide our students with exceptional opportunities to perform, design, and produce musical theatre at Lycoming College.”