Michael Baron will direct the evenings, which will feature composer and musical director Brown on piano. The concerts are a collaboration between Virginia's Signature Theatre and Strathmore.
Songs for a New World is a series of tunes loosely focused on change, newness and discovery. "Stars and the Moon" — which has been recorded by Audra McDonald and Betty Buckley — was the break-out hit of the show. The song cycle also features comic numbers — the frantic and dark "Just One Step" and the Christmas parody "Surabaya-Santa" — as well as quiet ballads like "The World Was Dancing" and "I'd Give It All for You."
Laura Benanti was most recently on Broadway in The Wedding Singer. She also portrayed Claudia in the Tony-winning revival of Maury Yeston's Nine. Benanti received Tony Award nominations for her performances in Swing! and the revival of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. She was also seen in The Sound of Music, Time and Again and the City Center Encores! mounting of Wonderful Town. Benanti's regional credits include roles in A Little Night Music, Man of La Mancha and A Winter's Tale.
Tituss Burgess' Broadway credits include Jersey Boys and Good Vibrations. He was seen in The Wiz at the La Jolla Playhouse, and his other theatrical credits include Children of Eden, La Cage aux Folles and Big River. He will be part of the Denver cast of Disney's new musical The Little Mermaid. Alice Ripley, who starred in the Paper Mill Playhouse's production of The Baker's Wife, has appeared on Broadway in Side Show (Tony nomination), The Rocky Horror Show, James Joyce's The Dead, Sunset Boulevard, The Who's Tommy, Les Misérables and in the City Center Encores! production of Li'l Abner. She has also been seen in Tell Me On a Sunday, Company, Shakespeare in Hollywood, The Fabulous Invalid and Five Flights. Ripley's non-show recordings include three discs with Side Show co-star Emily Skinner — "Duets," "Unsuspecting Hearts" and "Raw at Town Hall" — and two recordings of her own compositions, "Everything's Fine" and "Outtasite."
Jason Robert Brown, who was the musical director and arranger for the musical Urban Cowboy, won the Tony Award for Best Score for his Broadway debut, Parade. His two-person musical, The Last Five Years, played a brief run at Off-Broadway's Minetta Lane Theatre, and was preserved on Sh-K-Boom Records. Brown also composed the score for Songs for a New World and wrote incidental music for Fuddy Meers, Kimberly Akimbo, The Waverly Gallery and the Irish Repertory Theatre's production of Long Day's Journey Into Night. His newest musical is titled 13.
The Music Center at Strathmore is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda, MD. For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.strathmore.org.