The Colgate Student Music Theater Society brought their talents to The Palace Theater on November 8, 9, 10 and 12 as part of the running ONStage! program. The group performed Songs For A New World, a collection of 16 completely different songs focused on the theme of making a crucial decision during a difficult situation.
Composer-lyricist Jason Robert Brown explained that each song revolved around the same dilemma.
“It’s about one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice,” Brown said.
Each song told its own story and kept the audience entertained during the musical, while the choreography kept the performance interesting without eclipsing the message of each song. The pit orchestra consisting of only five people also managed to create the illusion of a full orchestra and made good use of the synthesizer, while the crew kept the show moving smoothly.
The songs chosen for the performance discussed vastly different topics. Following the harmonious opening sequence, the cast returned to the stage in matching black shirts and khaki-colored bottoms to sing a song called “On the Deck of a Spanish Sailing Ship, 1492.” However, the atmosphere was drastically different in the next number titled “Just One Step,” in which senior Jill Sobo comically entertained the audience and threatened to jump off a ladder in order to demonstrate her frustration with her significant other.
The subsequent songs also differed in their subject matter. Senior Anne Slotnick boasted of her lack of fear, while mourning the anxieties of others, in the slow, melodic number “I’m Not Afraid of Anything.” Senior Joe Bliss and first-year Sam Christie picked up the tempo in “The River Won’t Flow,” while in the next song “Stars and the Moon,” Sobo returned to win some more laughs from the audience as a woman who refused to marry for love and wound up an unhappy but wealthy wife.
In “She Cries,” Bliss charismatically gave the audience some advice, and the first half of the show finished strong as Christie led the rest of the ensemble in the song “The Steam Train.” While tossing around a basketball, Christie sung about growing up in the ghetto and his hope of using basketball to escape from his lowly situation, while the rest of the cast harmonized and threw the ball to one another.
The second half began with the regretful love song “The World Was Dancing,” sung by Bliss and Slotnick, and the rest of the cast joined in later. “Surbaya-Santa,” the next song, received tumultuous laughter and applause from the audience, as Sobo and first-year Octavia Chavez-Richmond teamed up as a pair of Mrs. Clauses to poke fun at ol’ St. Nick, played by Bliss. Chavez-Raimond stayed on stage afterwards to sing the wistful “Christmas Lullaby,” followed by Christie’s dramatic and upbeat “King of the World.”
Bliss and Slotnick bewitched the audience in the subsequent love song “I’d Give It All For You,” followed by Sobo’s “The Flagmaker, 1775,” in which she sung of a colonial woman’s anxiety during the Revolution as she sewed the American flag. Christie led the ensemble in “Flying Home” before the full cast belted out the final number titled “Hear My Song.” The ensemble returned to the stage to much applause.