Songs For A New World Reviews
Chicago Tribune- Recommended
"...There is a lot to inspire in this material, which ranges across time and space but centers itself on the inevitability of change, the need for communal strength and the wisdom we all accrue over time. Lots of people are re-evaluating the structure and employment of their lives at present and, if you are in that particular space, you might well find these 26-year-old songs speak to your state of mind. You might get closer to some conclusions."
Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended
"...Buoyant, melodic highs are followed by dissonance, hard truths, and righteous anger, sometimes as subtle as the slightest quiver of a cymbal, sometimes with a pleading falsetto, sometimes with a triple-forte roar. The latter is perhaps never so powerful as it is when Williams delivers the opening lyric of "The Steam Train": "You don't know me, but you will." It's the sound of a reckoning that will not be delayed. Or, consider "The River Won't Flow," a duet between Williams and Matthew Hunter's Man 2. It's infused with impossibly boppy, upbeat rhythms, but the lyrics tell the story of an unfair world that arbitrarily excludes people from its riches."
Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended
"...The show they chose is "Songs For A New World" a musical revue by Jason Robert Brown that takes us on a journey of emotions portrayed in many ways by the four very talented people. They are all faced with life-changing choices to be made and through the songs we see where and how they go. Smoothly directed by Fred Anzevino, this not being an actual play, is a little tougher to do. Those who attend this theater on a regular basis know that it is very intimate and as it is set up, the four talents move about using all four walls and come as close to the masked audience members as allowed."
Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended
"...This often moving, sometimes humorous, often abstract musical revue sometimes feels as if it hasn’t got a through-line to connect the songs. But looking at it carefully, audiences will see that this is a musical about hope, reconciliation, healing, and moving on. These themes are particularly important as we start returning to a normal way of living, after eighteen months of being quarantined because of a life-threatening pandemic. True, Covid-19 hasn’t completely gone away, but the world is on the mend. By deciding to take the vaccine and wear face masks properly, like the audience at Theo Ubique, we will survive and go on to better days. In many ways, this is the mighty message that Jason Robert Brown’s song cycle brings to audiences of today."
Chicagoland Musical Theatre- Highly Recommended
"...In all, Theo Ubique's Songs for a New World makes for a steady night out with some genuine laughs and wonderful music. Time spent in this space and with this cast is an indisputable pleasure, and perfect for those eager to dive headfirst into the once again new world of live theatre."
Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended
"...Along with plenty of gospel and jazz, JRB weaves in a healthy dose of heartbreakingly hopeful love songs, beautiful and crushing, with Navarro and Hunter's "The World Was Dancing" and "I'd Give It All for You." And just when it seems like we might dwell too long in the land of love, loss, and renewal, the incredibly versatile Emily Goldberg bursts in to show off her blend of comedic gusto (Just One Step and Surabaya Santa) and emotional depth (The Flagmaker, 1776). In the hands of a lesser actor, both One Step and Santa might feel a little out of place in the musical revue-because, well, they are-but Goldberg is captivating and hilarious, and her writhing portrayal of an exasperated and indignant Mrs. Claus is a showstopper."
Picture This Post- Highly Recommended
"...In this writer’s view, it is somewhat astounding to learn that electric Eustace J. Williams was an understudy until recently, as he seems, if anything, born to bring the songs he is given to life. In one moment, he pulls us into that uplifting space where Gospel and Soul intermingle in pop coloratura, in another he uses his wide eyes and long fingers to telegraph the inner life of a prisoner who was once King of the World. Crisscrossing the room he leans into us—and we all are close in this cabaret soiree space—and avers “…you don’t know me, but you will…”"
Rescripted- Highly Recommended
"...I was seated across from where the musical director, Jeremy Raney, was playing the accompaniment alongside the actors. I admire how the director chose not to hide the accompanist with a curtain or with “theatre magic.” As I saw the actors belt, I saw Raney play to his heart’s content. It reminded me how actors are not the only components of live theatre. Raney was just as much a part of the performance as the actors and designers, a reminder for the audience that there is more to every production than just the faces you see onstage. To experience the vocal prowess of the leads with Raney’s enthusiastic grooving in the corner of my eye felt like the summation of all that I love about live theatre."