Greenwood’s vibrant grassroots theatre, The Pocket, seems to be getting increasingly ambitious in 2016. A festival celebrating Jason Robert Brown’s musicals opens on New Year’s Day and will continue through January 10, including performances of Songs for a New World, The Last Five Years and Parade. The shows will be produced and performed by alumni and current members of Black Tie Productions, a student-run independent theatre company.
The three works are presented with sensitivity to each show’s respective structure: Songs for a New World (1995), a half-musical half-song cycle, will be presented first in the festival, and engages with the concept of choice and decision. The Last Five Years (2002) follows two tragic characters in the midst of their relationship, one presenting his experience in real time and the other presenting hers in reverse chronological order. The Last Five Years is an oft-produced show, with fabulous musical numbers (brace yourself for the breathless “Moving Too Fast”), and its position as the second show in the festival is meant as a bridge “between the song cycle of Songs for a New World and the book musical of Parade.”
Parade (1998) was Brown’s first Broadway production, winning Tony awards for Best Score and Best Book with its “critical examination of one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in American history.” This show (whose cast list is about as long as The Pocket Theater’s venue capacity) is one of the composer’s best-loved and hard-hitting works, and will close Black Tie Production’s Jason Robert Brown Festival.
Check The Pocket’s website for ticket details; single-show tickets are $10 online, and Festival Passes are available for $25.
The Pocket Theater & Black Tie Productions: Jason Robert Brown Festival 2016
When: January 1-10. Showtimes vary. Refer to the schedule online.
Where: The Pocket Theater (8312 Greenwood Ave N)