Repertory theater performances are often overlooked. Although main stage productions have their perks, the benefits of a repertory theatre production are noticed by all involved with creating the show and the audience members alike. “Songs for a New World,” directed by Shreya Bhatia, opened on March 3. Cast member Sam Illum couldn’t wait for this show to take place.
“I think my favorite part is just how small the show is,” Illum said. “I really love how much time we get on certain pieces.”
Not only is the small cast and overall production a unique aspect of repertory theatre, but it is also common to find a student director at the helm of the show. As director for “Songs For a New World,” Bhatia said she is cherishing every minute of her experience.
“It’s been a lot of fun, especially since I can work with people that I’m comfortable with and that I know support me,” Bhatia said.
Although this is only her first time directing a show, Illum said Bhatia has done a phenomenal job preparing her actors while still letting them have a sense of creative freedom.
“[Bhatia’s directing style] is very loose, it’s very ‘I trust you to know what you are doing so just do it,’ which I really enjoy,” Illum said.
Giving students the chance to direct a show and watch their visions come to life is very important to theatre teacher Jordan Foote.
“When I was in high school, I got the opportunity to be a student director and it was a really big influence on me, so it’s important to me to give those opportunities to students,” Foote said.
“Songs For a New World” is a song cycle by Jason Robert Brown. This is a special type of show for audience members because this isn’t a common theatre production.
“A song cycle means it’s a series of songs that have a connecting theme, so there’s no dialog and there’s not an overarching plot,” Foote said.
Bhatia said the show has a theme that many high school students can relate to.
“It is based around the concept of the moment of decision, so it’s basically about a bunch of people and a turning point in their lives,” Bhatia said.
“The show is really good and the cast is really really incredible,” Bhatia said.