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SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD Shines At Papermill Playhouse — Review


Juan Michael Porter II


October 21, 2021

More than 17 months after COVID-19 forced theatres around the country to cancel performances, Papermill Playhouse is back and rocking it to the rafters with a vibrant revival of Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World. “Songs for a Thousand Cabarets” could be the alternative title for this revue-like collection of ardent musical theatre-pop-soliloquies given its popularity with soloists and cabaret artists. Those artists include stars as varied as Karen Akers, Betty Buckley, Audra McDonald, and Shoshana Bean―not to mention hundreds of thousands of aspirants around the world. Having grown up belting the original cast recording with my musical theatre friends as we skipped to rehearsal, I have always loved the show. But going into this Mark S. Hoebee directed production, I found myself wondering, “How does the full show of stand-alone solos, duets, and quartets stack up 26 years after its premiere?” As led by the sensational Carolee Carmello, as brilliantly as it did back in 1995.

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