By: Rileigh Zickafoose
Bluffton University’s May Day Musical will be the production, “Songs for a New World” by Jason Robert Brown. Opening Day is May 2 at 7:30pm in Yoder Recital Hall and will be performed every night at that time through Saturday May 4. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time or at the door.
“It’s about a variety of characters facing important decisions in their lives…they are narrating these stories to the audience…it’s a collection of individual songs rather than a plot driven musical,” director, Melissa Friesen said.
Since there isn’t a plot in the musical, the songs create climaxes on their own to get the audience’s attention. The original production is meant for four people, but Friesen and the music director, Crystal Sellers Battles thought there was so much talent in the auditions that they cast ten people instead.
“We assigned the individuals to various songs based on the vocal range, styles, and personalities,” Battles explained.
Rebecca Juliana who works on costumes for the musical and is also in the cast explained that “the costumes are all cohesive: everyone is wearing black: the men with black suits, and the women with black dresses. Scarves and hats are also implemented in the costumes.”
Besides individual solos, there are also group numbers which include “A New World”, “On the Deck of a Spanish Sailing Ship”, “Steam Train”, “Flying Home”, and “Hear My Song”.
Everyone in the cast has at least one specific solo performance that represents their special “moment” in life.
Zeke Tracy’s song is about a man in jail, thought to be Nelson Mandela. “’King of the World’ is about a man who has been imprisoned for things that he doesn’t quite understand…he thought he was doing good in the world, but people were not happy with what he was doing,” Tracy said.
When asked what makes this musical different than any of the others performed at Bluffton, Jared Hudson explained, “This production is different than the others because there isn’t a continuous plot and each song can stand on its own”.
The musical will be a great way to finish off the year, and the cast is excited to show their audience what they have been working on for the last few months. Since it is in Yoder Recital Hall, seating is limited, so come early!
To buy and reserve tickets for the May Day Musical, follow this link.