Songs For A New World - November 21

Southern Arizona Performing Arts Company

 Director's Notes 


As with everything during this pandemic, the arts have undergone some of the harshest changes and all of the arts have had to think of new and creative ways to continue presenting the arts in a safe way.  My first thought was since SAPAC is so new, we could just wait out the pandemic and come back when live theater is safe to produce.  However, our Production Manager, Daniela Ayala, called me about Songs For a New World and how it could be done safely. 


What I didn’t realize was that when I really dove into these songs, each one presented a perspective to life that could relate to this pandemic.  This idea of “that one moment” that changes our lives is exactly what this pandemic is.  We are IN that “one moment” and we have all been affected by it in one way or another. 


I also went into this project knowing that so much was going to have to be done virtually and through the wonder of “the cloud”.  We kept a very detailed drive where the artists could upload their audio and video and then I would use various programs to clean it up and make it cohesive.  I gave my thoughts and concepts to each artist and then gave them liberties to make it their own…and they did just that.  As I received these pieces of media, they were like little Christmas presents that I couldn’t wait to open and see.  I was the luckiest man to be able to be the keeper of all of this creativity.


If you are interested in my thoughts to each individual song then keep reading:


A New World

We start our journey with a quartet of people from different walks of life.  I imagined that they are living on the other side of the pandemic…they are taking off their masks because there is a cure and they are facing the new world.  Some are hopeful, some are weary, but they are changed. 

On the Deck of a Spanish Sailing Ship, 1492

Of course this song is now not set in 1492, but I imagine that the main character of this piece is imagining that he is the “captain” of a crew of health care workers.  He is praying for strength as his staff is overworked and to the brink of collapse.  His “promised land” is a world where there is a cure and he and his staff do not have to suffer like they have during the past year. 

Just One Step

As we all were quarantined, this main character has discovered just how much of a gap there is in her marriage and she is humorously and heart-breakingly venting all of these frustrations…sometimes internally and sometimes externally.  Having to stop everything and live so closely to one another can bring a lot of positives, but it can also put a microscope and expose relationships that have deep issues which have never been addressed.  In the end, I think our dear heroine has decided that she can break free of her strife and turmoil and start making her own decisions.

I’m Not Afraid

Another personal story of a character in quarantine, but this time her isolation is because of something directly relating to the pandemic.  She has recently received some news that has some last effects on her relationships and her current romantic partner.  She is trying to live her life in this pandemic without fear, but also that she needs to keep herself and others safe.

River Won’t Flow

I will fully admit that this concept evolved and I really can’t take credit for this one and that is a good thing because Charlie Hall and Matthew Holter came up with something better than what I imagined.  I had a sort of “director’s block” on how to incorporate the two women into the song and the two gentlemen had a great solution.  The idea is that these two men are facing so much financial hardship during the pandemic that when their car breaks down, they are faced with the fact that there is nothing they can really do other than try to enjoy their time together with their loved ones and their friends.  The river of money might not be flowing, but the river of love and friendship definitely is.

Stars and Moon

In this story, I think our main character is most relatable to all of us…not because she married rich and got all of the things she dreamed of, but because during the quarantine and isolation, she reflected on her life and realized that she made some decisions in her that she now regrets.  I think of her as Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music where she threw out the man with the wooden ring and now realizes that he could have been the love of her life.

She Cries

Another personal story and struggle with being faced with quarantine and isolation with someone else.  He realizes that in his relationship, he is not in control anymore because when she cries, he loses all rational thought.  This is someone who is right on the cusp of realizing that he truly is in love and is ready to submit to that, but for now he’s just in a state of confusion and emotional imbalance.


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