Songs for a New World opened April 7 and plays through April 17 at the Music and Arts Community Center in Fort Myers.
Operated by Gulf Coast Symphony, the Music and Arts Community Center is located at 13411 Shire Lane. Performances are April 7 – 10 and April 14 – 17 at 7 p.m.
Songs for a New World is, according to composer Jason Robert Brown, “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 a rousing score that blends elements of pop, gospel and jazz, featuring tight harmonies and darling vocals, Songs for a New World transports its audience from the deck of a Spanish sailing ship bound for a new land, to the ledge of a New York penthouse. Characters range from a young man in the Bronx who dreams of becoming a famous basketball player, to a forlorn and neglected Mrs. Claus lamenting as Christmas approaches.
The cast includes Gaby Tortoledo, Lauren Kidwell, Victor Ryan Roberston and Paul Hambridge.
Gaby is a stage and screen actress, singer, and dancer, recently seen playing Tara in the World Premiere of Compensation (Island City Stage) and hosting The Inside Track at Gulfstream Park. Gaby was born and raised in Venezuela where she got an extensive background in classical ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and Latin urban dance. She discovered her love for Musical Theatre in the UK while training at City Academy London and has pursued this passion ever since. After receiving her MFA in Theatre Performance from Florida Atlantic University, Gaby is now based in South Florida. Regional credits include Antonia in Man of La Mancha (MNM Theatre Co), Elaine in The Graduate (Michael Leeds), and Polly in The Gingerbread Lady (Primal Forces). International credits include A Dream Is A Wish and And The World Goes Round (Song Cycle Intensive, London UK). TV credits include a feature in Amazon Studios’ The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Lauren Kidwell is thrilled to join the cast of Songs for a New World! Credits: The Sound of Music National Tour (Mother Abbess), Little Women (Aunt March), Ragtime (Mother), Jesus Christ Superstar (Mary Magdalene), My Heart in a Suitcase (Mutti), Smile (featured performer, Boston Gay Men’s Chorus), Franc D’Ambrosio’s Broadway: Songs of the Great White Way, Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Lauren also performs with her younger sister as professional buskers in New York City. They are a jazz singer group, aptly named The Kidwell Sisters. MFA in Musical Theatre from Boston Conservatory, B.A. in Directing from California State University, Fullerton.
Tenor Victor Ryan Robertson is the only person to make his debut at The Kennedy Center (Champion/Blanchard), Metropolitian Opera (Merry Widow/Lehar), and Broadway (Phantom of the Opera) in one season. Last season Victor performed in The Merry Widow in Hong Kong, Terrence Blanchard’s critically acclaimed opera Champion at Opera de Montreal, Ibarbiere di Siviglia at Sarasota Opera, and Douglass Tappjn’s I Dream at Opera Carolina and Toledo Opera.
Other roles include: Rodolfo in La Boheme at Royal Albert Hall London, Sporting Life in Porgy and Bess with L.A. Opera, Capetown Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, English National Opera, Scottish National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Israeli National Opera, and Spoleto Festival. Rinaldo in Armida at Garsington Festival UK, Candide with Opera national de Lorraine, Orpheus with NYCO, Three Mo Tenors Edinburgh Festival, Moscow, Off Broadway, Kennedy Center, and Henley Festival UK.
Paul Hambidge Jr. is humbled to be making his first appearance with GCS as a part of this beautiful and relevant piece of theatre. He has most recently been seen performing around the world with Holland America Line as a singer in their production casts. His favorite destination so far is Japan! Some of his favorite roles include Robert Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone), Billy Bigelow (Carousel), and Rapunzel’s Prince (Into the Woods). He has a bachelor’s degree in Musical Theatre from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA.
For tickets, visit online at www.gulfcoastsymphony.org or call 239-277-1700.