For its inaugural event, New Town Musical Theater (NCMT) – a non-profit company originally founded as the Cleveland Musical Theater in 2014, to create inclusive experiences for a contemporary generation – will feature a staging of a one-night-only concert from Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown’s popular theatrical song cycle Songs for a New World Thursday August 26. The outdoor social distance production, which will start at 7:30 p.m., will be presented in the Radial park Entertainment multiplex in Halletts Point, Queens, against the breathtaking Manhattan skyline.
Connected by the theme of ‘decision moment’, the song collection captures the stories and characters of today, with a fresh and contemporary perspective. Brown explained his work, looking at life, love, and the choices we make, as being “to hit the wall and have to make a choice, or take a stand, or turn around and go back.”
The list of powerful voices from Broadway and beyond includes Aladdin former Telly Leung and current star Michael James Scott, performing “The World Was Dancing” and “Flying Home” respectively; Candidate Tony Nancy Opel (Bad) bringing his comedic style to “Just One Step;” Bre Jackson (The color purple; The Book of Mormon) giving the floor to “The Flagmaker, 1775;” Marc G. Dalio (The beauty and the Beast tour) and Heath Saunders (The Great Comet) as a duet on “The River Won’t Flow”; and Darian Sanders (The Lion King tour) singing “Steam Train”.
Grace Stockdale (Waitress 1st national tour), Nya (The Musical SpongeBob tour), Nick Drake and Music Director Rick Edinger will open the show with “The New World”, as well as backing vocals throughout the evening. Christy Altomare (Anastasia), Derek Kléna (Little jagged pill), Bonnie Milligan (Crazy in Love), Kyle Taylor Parker (Kinky Boots; Smokey Joe’s Coffee), Shereen Pimentel (West Side Story) and Ciara Renée (Frozen), with dancers Yeman Brown (Little jagged pill), Jennifer Florentino (red Mill), Zuri Noëlle Ford (West Side Story), Yuka Notsuka and Michael Anthony Sylvester. Please note that candidate Tony Jenn Colella (Come from afar), previously announced to perform the number “She Cries”, has withdrawn from the show for personal reasons.
NCMT’s artistic director of production, Miles J. Sternfeld, directs the production, with musical direction by Rick Edinger and choreography by Ahmad Simmons. Musical performances are enhanced by stage design by Theron Wineinger, lighting by Alan Edwards, sound design by Julian Evans and costume consultation by Jake Poser.