PEP’s latest show treads a fine line between musical and song cycle, but is actually neither. Rather, it is an abstract musical, a series of songs connected by theme rather than a traditional story. PEP’s website tells us that “each song tells its own unique story, but the show as a whole focuses on those moments in life when a sudden event or split decision can turn your perfect world upside down. “ The writer and composer, Jason Robert Brown, says "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."
 
‘The day I met the man of my dreams’         
 
Vicki Barden, Musical Director for Songs tells me that PEP was looking for a show that would work well with a medium sized cast, and attract wide interest, hopefully bringing new faces to the company. “We were successful!” Vicky said “Our extremely talented cast consists of people from previous PEP shows and some newbies too!” Director Julia Roper adds, “PEP has wanted to do Songs for a New World for a few years now, but there were always other companies doing it. Now seemed like an opportune time.”  Vicky informs me that selecting such a popular, yet rarely performed show has attracted cast from all over Melbourne and that the music has “something for everyone”.
 
‘The day my voice broke’
 
While the variety of music presented in the show could be seen as challenging, Vicky says she has enjoyed the experience of assisting the cast to bring each style to life. “Every song is a story of its own, so we have a lot of freedom in playing with the interpretation and delivery. “ Songs for a New World is written for 4 performers, but PEP has found that the format provided the freedom to expand the cast and create a more powerful sound. 
 
Julia admits that this has been her biggest challenge so far as a director. “The show has no recurring characters and the thread that links the show together is very loose – so it has been a nightmare at times! But a challenge is good for the soul… right?”
 
‘Being with the man of your dreams for 11 years, then he leaves and marries your best friend’
 
There is a lot of room for interpretation in a show such as this.  PEP’s process in developing this show has been for the Director to go into rehearsals with a concept that she shares with the cast, which they then develop as a team. Vicky says “Julia Roper is very generous in the way she directs… they build it together to create something special.” Vicky praises Julia for her insight into the individual numbers within the show and explains that “by combining her concept with the casts input of what emotional journey the songs take them on; Julia ends up with a spectacular product.” 
 
 ‘The day I looked round and truly saw all the magical people in my life’
 
I was curious as to what the audience should expect from this show. Vicky assures me that “Anyone who is wise enough to see our show can expect spine tingling harmonies, power house voices, tears, laughter, awe, love, loss, joy, fear, hope and most of all, the realisation that in good and bad times, people are there to share the experience”
 
‘The day a friend died who was only 21, I realised that no matter how tired, or sad I might feel, I am alive and will enjoy life. She is inspirational to me.’
 
 
Come and join PEP’s spectacular cast for Songs for a New World’ at the
 
Doncaster Playhouse
only 3 shows
25, 26 and 27 February
 
Maybe it will make you stop and think about the defining moments in your own life?

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