One of the hallmarks of the holidays is the music — the way it weaves story and lyric, melody and harmony to move and inspire the listener.
For their holiday production, Miners Alley Playhouse is eschewing the typical fare for a show that …
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For their holiday production, Miners Alley Playhouse is eschewing the typical fare for a show that features four actors, three understudies and a group of musicians who guide audiences through a series of vignettes, each with a different musical message.
The theater, 1224 Washington Ave. in Golden, is hosting “Songs For A New World” through Dec. 21. Performances are Thursdays Dec. 4, 11 and 18 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 16 and Dec. 7, at 6 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 30, Dec. 14 and 21, at 2:00 p.m.
“New World,” written by Jason Robert Brown, is less a play than a song cycle, according to directors Brenda Billings and Mitch Samu. They said there are no spoken words outside the songs, which don’t constitute a cohesive story, but rather the story of a moment.
“Most of these songs are about that moment in time when it seems like everything is perfect, and then it all falls apart,” Billings said. “They tell the story of difficult circumstances and how people deal with it.”
The musical styles range from pop, gospel, holiday and jazz in a series of songs all connected by the theme of that crucial moment. Some of the most well-known numbers include “Surabaya-Santa,” “Christmas Lullaby” and “Stars and the Moon.”
Samu plays the piano throughout the show and said he has worked hard with the four actors to be able to tell their stories through the music.
“I give them direction on how they should relate their story through their lyrics,” he said. “Almost anyone can sing, but if I don’t feel the story, it doesn’t matter.”
The actors go through a variety of characters, from a young man who has determined that basketball is his ticket out of the ghetto to a woman whose dream of marrying rich nabs her the man of her dreams and a soulless marriage.
“I don’t think the play gets done a lot because you need four powerhouse singers with the range to do all the different fields and genres,” Samu said. “It’s not a recital — it’s a bunch of stories.”
Billings said this is one of the most difficult shows she’s ever directed, but the experimental nature of it has made it a lot of fun. When it comes to the sets, she said they’re making use of blank-slate platforms to project the scenery onto. This allows the show to use a variety of scenes without having to move anything.
While “New World” isn’t a traditional holiday show, what makes it a perfect fit for the time of year is the reliance on music to connect with people.
“It’s all about the notion of being moved by music,” Billings said. “It will be an evening of really heartfelt music and stories that will make you laugh, cry and bring you into the spirit of the season.”
For more information call 303-935-3044 or visit minersalley.com.
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