‘Songs for a New World’: A Note from the Artistic Director

‘Songs for a New World’: A Note from the Artistic Director

Its emphasis on breaking past barriers to discover hope and redemption has made me a fan of Songs for a New World since it first appeared. It’s called a song cycle — like a collection of short stories — so I wanted to give you some thumbnail summaries for each song to help set them in context. Enjoy!

Bill English
– Artistic Director

“The New World” – Setting out on spiritual odysseys, four courageous adventurers share their excitement and their fears. They realize that all can be taken from them in an instant and yet they must forge on.
“On the Deck of a Spanish Sailing Ship, 1492” – With a ship full of pilgrims escaping the Spanish inquisition, the captain prays for help to weather the stormy sea.
“Just One Step” – A neglected and abused wife considers stepping off of her 57th floor balcony.
“I’m Not Afraid of Anything” – A young woman, locked in a codependent family and relationship, faces her fears of breaking away.
“The River Won’t Flow” – A struggling janitor and street walker rebel against the artificial ceilings imposed by poverty and racism.
“Stars and the Moon” – A successful woman looks back on romantic trysts offered by bohemian young vagabonds and tries to balance regret with acceptance of who she has become.
“She Cries” – A man struggles with his ambivalence to a mercurial lover whose tears he cannot resist. He is torn between the fiery relationship and the coldness of being alone.
“The Steam Train” – A rising young basketball star dispels the idol worship stereotype by sharing the poverty and abuse from which he has risen.
“The World Was Dancing” – A man comes to grips with how he let his father’s failures make him afraid of taking the risk committing to a woman he loved and lost.
“Surabaya-Santa” – One of a long line of Santa’s lovers commiserates on the plight of being with a celebrity.
“Christmas Lullaby” – A pregnant woman imagines that like the mother of Jesus, she will give birth to someone who will change the world.
“King of the World” – Two imprisoned revolutionaries, perhaps sons of the woman in the previous song, wonder if they may have just been a prophet of the moment whose time has passed.
“I’d Give It All for You” – After breaking up, two lovers have gone on separate journeys only to realize their successes are worthless without love.
“The Flagmaker, 1775” – A flagmaker expresses her helplessness and frustration and the irony of celebrating freedom while her husband has died in battle and her son struggles at the front.
“Flying Home“ – Her son, mortally wounded, laments the loss of his life, but takes solace that he will soon see his father in heaven.
“Hear My Song“ – Our journey ended, we bring our message of hope and redemption, comfort and love to all those who need it so much.

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