Show History



Songs For A New World is a unique hybrid of musical and song cycle, a revue of songs by composer Jason Robert Brown.  When Brown arrived in New York as a man with no connections, he began to frequent cabarets with many different songs.  Through this experience, he happened to meet Daisy Prince, daughter of legendary Broadway producer and director Harold Prince.  The two hit it off instantly and, though Prince had never directed before, he asked her to direct a revue of his songs.

As they started working on the revue, they realized that Brown's songs had virtually no connection.  After much trial and error, Brown realized the show as 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."  With that as an overarching theme, the songs began to find place and the show found a structure.  Brown's music covers a broad range of styles, amongst them pop, gospel, and jazz.  Many numbers in Songs For A New World combine two or more of these styles.


After a workshop in Toronto, Songs For A New World made its New York premiere Off-Broadway at the WPA Theater on October 11th, 1995.  The 28-performance production featured performances from Jessica Molaskey, Andrea Bruns, Brooks Ashmanskas, and Billy Porter.  Though it did not catch on in its initial run, the release of the original cast album made the revue a cult hit, and it became popular amongst college theater departments in particular.  The show had its British premiere at the Bridewall Theatre in 2001, and in 2005, three members of the original cast reunited for a benefit concert at New York's Symphony Space.  New York has seen a couple of revivals of Songs For A New World:  one in October 2008 that featured an additional 14-member youth ensemble, and a benefit performance in March 2013 starring Nick Adams, Ashley Brown, Jessica Rush, and Michael James Scott.  The show recently premiered in 2013 in Paris France, after numerous productions in the United States, the UK, and Australia.

Cultural Influence

  • Songs For A New World was composer Jason Robert Brown's first produced show.  The notoriety he gained from it would allow him to write for other musicals such as The Last Five Years, 13, and Parade.
  • The song "Stars and the Moon" has received many popular covers from Broadway artists such as Audra McDonald and Betty Buckley.


  • Songs For A New World was featured in the Festival of New Musicals in 1997, sponsored by the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. NAMT has nurtured the creation, development, production, and presentation of new musicals since 1985.
  • Harold Prince has won more Tony Awards than anyone else (20): eight for directing, eight for producing, two as producer of the year's Best Musical, and two special Tony Awards.

  • The original production of Songs for a New World at the WPA theatre was directed by Harold Prince s daughter, Daisy.