Talented Cast is worlds ahead of Brown's lyrics
by Rebecca Ugolini
Musical theatre has risen greatly in popularity in mainstream entertainment lately, and it’s no wonder viewers raised on Disney’s song-filled productions and sing-song holiday staples like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas can’t help but find something comforting and nostalgic in the show-tunes of Wicked and Glee.
Riding that wave, the McGill Players Theatre’s latest billing, an interpretation of Jason Robert Brown’s 1995 musical theatre review/ song cycle Songs For A New World directed by Natalie Gershtein, uses smart, minimalistic staging, a fantastic three-piece band, and the voices of its talented and varied cast to put on a production which far outclasses Brown’s often cloying and cringe-worthy lyrics.
Ultimately, the Players Theatre cast and crew deliver a performance which will delight and impress even those normally averse to musical theatre, but the quality of their voices and acting, combined with the excellent production values of the lighting and band, call for a script with more believable introspection and less overt camp than what Brown offers.
Songs for a New World May 2-5 Written by Jason Robert Brown. Directed by Natalie Gershtein. Wednesday-Saturtday, 8pm. $12 / $10 students and seniors. McGill’s Players’ Theatre 3480 MacTavish, 3rd flr.