Win tickets for the upcoming production of Broadway Across Canada tour of Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at the end of this preview article for Fabulist Theatre’s production of Songs for A New World.
Cheryl Mullen, Allyson Fournier and Arielle Tuliao are part of the cast of a reimagining of Songs For A New World by Jason Robert Brown. It is not a musical so much as it is a Song Cycle – a series of songs connected by a theme.
Directors Damon Jang and Mary Littlejohn have expanded the cast and created new backstories and settings for most of the numbers.
1) Why do you think audiences should see Songs for a New World?
Allyson: I think our version of “Songs” offers a truly unique experience for audiences. Musically, there’s something for everyone here: soulful gospel, comedic laments, heart-wrenching ballads, and even a funky hip-hop song! And of course, the talent in this show is unbelievable – audiences should be prepared to get goosebumps!
Cheryl: Our directors Mary and Damon, have provided a visual through-line that gives the piece a clear arc without getting in the way of Brown’s original intention. It’s a masterful mix of unexpected lightness and dynamic intensity. The audiences can expect the unexpected.
Arielle: There are many ways you can approach performing a ’song cycle’, and we are so excited to share our unique take, inspired by our experiences, our heritage, and how we are affected by everything happening in the world today. I believe audiences will be seeing more than just a bunch of people playing characters, they’ll see a piece of us too!
2) There is a lot of fresh or new talent in this cast, who has really surprised you?
Cheryl: All I can say is, those young whippersnappers can really amaze with their vocal power and vulnerability. Says me, the elder of the cast (as I put my dentures in the cup. JK). Audiences will treat themselves to soul-filled harmony and sweetness. Not to mention our three-piece band with Angus Kellet as musical director. In this show, the piano playing is our backbone!
Allyson: I think Regi Nevada was the biggest surprise for me. She is so freaking talented!! She opens her mouth and this beautiful angel voice comes out… But overall, I think everyone brings something really special to the table, and it’s great to see new talent being given a voice!
3) There are also some actors with more experience in this musical; who is doing something that is beyond what you have seen from them before?
Arielle: I am in an interesting position where everyone is new to me and I have not seen anyone perform before. It’s such a wonderful position to be in! Since the beginning of this process I have gotten to be surprised by what everyone brings to the table, with no preconceptions. I will definitely be grabbing autographs from everyone once everything is said and done!
Allyson: Aerhyn Lau has always been amazing but I think he really shines in this show.
4) What is something we not fully appreciate about this adaptation of the musical? What I mean is what is something that went into the process of rehearsing it to make it special that we might not realize.
Arielle: A lovely thing that Mary and Damon have done in the process of preparing this musical is talk to each actor individually about how their experiences can direct their songs. Some of us have even named our characters, our character’s children (if we have any), and know our character’s history. For example, in my song, A Christmas Lullaby, Mary and I worked together to create a story that drew from observations and experiences from my recent visit to the Philippines.
Cheryl: The nature of translating a four person show into a 12 + actor/singer work made for casting and rehearsing challenges. Our directors were highly supportive of individual needs in the rehearsal process. Some folks worked together in their larger group numbers while others rehearsed more independently. Last weekend, particularly when we added the musicians, our mosaic took shape. We’ll be excited to get into the performing space at PAL within the next week. It’s so gratifying to realize the ‘sum of the whole’.
Arielle (cont’d): Moreover, despite the ‘song cycle’ nature of the show, Mary and Damon have managed to create a through line for a number of characters for the duration of the show, rather than just making appearances in their songs. In my opinion, it was their ability to create characters that you could follow throughout the show that turns our version from a concert of songs to a beautiful series of stories with a united message.
5) What do you think will be your favourite part of the experience each night?
Allyson: Watching everyone cry, on stage and off… hehehe… I’m (mostly) kidding.
Cheryl: Listening to those fabulous young voices and watching the audience re-action to particular part that tug my heartstrings
Arielle: My cast mates are so incredibly talented, and I cannot wait to share them with you!
WIN TICKETS Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Win 2 tickets for for opening night, Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella on Tuesday, April 11th. Post your answer below here on the OUTtv web-site. A winner will be randomly selected, notified and announced.
Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella was a musical that was written for TV in 1957. Who played the titled character?
I hope you get your WISH GRANTED!
David C Jones