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Phil Willmott

At Last a Musical Opens in the West End – Well, for two performances anyway

Songs for a New World At last a chink of light in the West End’s Covid gloom.

Producers Lambert Jackson have announced 2 live performances of Jason Robert Brown’s SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD in the cavernous London Palladium. This really deserves our support, let’s pack the place out on 11th October – as far as social distancing will allow of course!

The PR’s are describing it as a “moving collection of powerful songs examining life, love, and the choices that we make as it transports audiences through time and space”.

It’s by Jason Robert Brown, the three-time Tony Award winning composer and lyricist. His theatre credits include 13, The Bridges of Madison County, The Last Five Years - which was also adapted into a film in 2015 starring Anna Kendrick, Parade - which won a Tony Award for Best Score.

Songs from a New World was his first produced show and it opened Off-Broadway at the WPA Theatre in 1995. When Brown and director Daisy Prince first collated the piece from his best songs thus far they called it "neither musical play nor revue, it is closer to a theatrical song cycle, a very theatrical song cycle."

The songs explore moments of decision and are performed by a cast of four who play a range of roles which give a story arc for each character.

Composer Brown has said "It's about one moment. It's about hitting the wall and having to make a choice, or take a stand, or turn around and go back."

For the Palladium Séimí Campbell directs David Hunter (Waitress), Rachel John (Hamilton), Cedric Neal (Motown) and Rachel Tucker (Come From Away) and it’s a revival of a performance streamed during lockdown, in association with The Other Palace.

Jamie Lambert and Eliza Jackson said today, “It’s a total joy to announce a return to live performance with the first musical to return to the West End - Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World for just two performances. To be able to share in the power of collective experience with these incredible performers and an audience together again for the first time in over six months reminds us why our industry is so vital.”

Here’s the obligatory Covid info: “In line with current Government guidance, this event will be hosted under social distancing, with venue-wide safety mitigations, including the wearing of face coverings. Full information about safety measures and requirements will be sent to ticket holders ahead of the event”

And here’s what the press release tells us about those involved. -

David Hunter plays Man 2. He appeared in Lambert Jackson’s Leave a Light On, and in concert with Lucie Jones during lockdown. His theatre credits include Waitress, Kinky Boots (Adelphi Theatre), Once (Phoenix Theatre), One Man, Two Guvnors (National Theatre, Adelphi Theatre and UK tour), Tommy (Prince Edward Theatre), Seussical (Arts Theatre), The Hired Man (Curve Leicester and Mercury Theatre Colchester) and Pub and Spinach (Royal Exchange Theatre). For television, he was a participant in ITV’s Superstar – the search to find the lead for the revival of Jesus Christ Superstar. For film, he appeared in Nativity 3.

Rachel John plays Woman 1. Her theatre credits include Hamilton (Victoria Palace Theatre), The Color Purple – In Concert (Cadogan Hall), The Bodyguard (Dominion Theatre/UK tour), Memphis (Shaftesbury Theatre), Rent (UK tour), We Will Rock You, Sister Act (London Palladium) and The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre/international tour).

Cedric Neal plays Man 1. His theatre credits include Back To The Future (Manchester Opera House), The View Upstairs (Soho Theatre), Stagger Lee, Death of a Salesman (Dallas Theater Center), Porgy and Bess (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), and Dreamgirls (Signature Theatre). His credits for television include Friday Night Lights and The Good Guys.

Rachel Tucker plays Woman 2. Her theatre credits include Come From Away (Phoenix Theatre), Wicked (Apollo Victoria/The Gershwin Theater), Communicating Doors (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Last Ship (Neil Simon Theatre), Farragut North (Southwark Playhouse), We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre), Dusty (Leicester Square Theatre), The Wizard of Oz, To Be Sure, Merry Christmas Betty Ford (Belfast Lyric Theatre), Tonight’s The Night, Tommy and The Full Monty (UK tour).

Séimí Campbell directs. His previous credits include My Son Pinocchio (Southwark Playhouse). As an assistant director his credits include Come From Away (Phoenix Theatre) and Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); and as resident director credits include Amour (Charing Cross Theatre), Cereal Café (The Other Palace) and Sweeney Todd (Shoreditch Town Hall).

Lambert Jackson Productions is a production company dedicated to producing musical theatre shows and stunning performances. Over the last six months, Lambert Jackson created the UK’s biggest online concert series, Leave a Light On, designed to provide income for actors during the Covid-19 lockdown, as well as leading the way with their virtual productions of musicals The Last Five Years and Songs For A New World.

Tickets cost £28 - £42 and for access bookings you can contact: access@lwtheatres.com