Drake University Theatre to perform ‘Songs for a New World’ virtually

Drake University will stream its long-awaited online musical Songs for a New World by Jason Robert Brown Feb. 25–March 11. The performance can be viewed for $2 plus a streaming fee. Watch video

Songs for a New World was originally scheduled to debut in Spring 2020, but due to COVID-19, rehearsals were delayed until this year.  

Due to the pandemic, Drake Theatre reimagined how students rehearse and perform Songs for a New World while maintaining students’ well-being.  

Although the cast will not be performing live to a large in-person audience, the production was recorded through a single camera for online viewing.  

Songs for a New World follows a series of life-changing moments throughout various individuals lives in different decades, expressed through song.   

Director Adam Yankowy explained the main theme of change is shown throughout the various musical numbers.   

“The show is about the moments in life where we come to the metaphorical fork in the road,” Yankowy said. “Life is going along and then something happens and you have to make a decision that could change your life forever.”  

Despite the many changes the cast had to adapt to, for actor Zach Barry, the adjustments were worth the wait.  

“I have been obsessed with the soundtrack,” Barry said. “There are so many intricate harmonies and parts to the music that I could not wait to work on, and it really is a pleasure to finally be singing it with the rest of the cast.”  

Actors and designers who graduated last spring were unable to continue their involvement with the production, with the exception of alumna Sydney Crutcher whose original set designs are still being used.  

“This is the first time I have been distantly involved in a production, which is a little weird,” Crutcher said. “I’m halfway across the country, so I really have to rely on everyone to keep me in the loop.”  

Despite the unusual circumstances, Crutcher reassures audiences that a lot of time, thought, and preparation had gone into the construction of the show.  

“A lot of theatre and entertainment right now feels thrown together or last minute, but this show is quite the opposite,” Crutcher said. “I started thinking of the set design in June of 2019, and while it has gone through many iterations to accommodate the pandemic, the product our audiences will see is the best edition.”   

Despite the unprecedented challenges cast and crew faced, Barry urges viewers to stream Songs for a New World in order to stay connected and relate to others in an increasingly isolated world.   

“I would love people to tune in to the live stream for our show,” Barry said. “I believe that this variety of stories will be beautifully told in a way that can resonate with each member of our audience. There is a certain relatability factor that I feel will make a special connection for those who attend.”  

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