BENNINGTON — The Bennington Community Theater recently presented “A Brand New Day!” Broadway Songs of Hope,” a musical cabaret featuring a diverse cast of 12. Director Mark Blank announced the show and explained that each song stems from different themes of hope.
Blank said the first act is about the hope of finding connection, finding love, and being loved. The second act is about finding new life and the hope of liberation. He also said that even though the songs are about hope, the show’s real hope is in the actors. They decided to perform despite COVID and the harsh winter weather so the show could be performed on stage for everyone to enjoy.
The show ran Thursday through Sunday and consisted of 20 songs from various Broadway musicals. Percussion and piano accompaniment were live and visible on stage throughout the show.
The cast had a wide range of ages and voices. This made it possible to perform songs that express different perspectives of hope. While songs like “Alone in the Universe” from “Seussical,” which opened the show, can give younger audiences a sense of hope, a song like “Meadowlark” from “The Baker’s Wife,” performed at second act, evokes the emotion of the most seasoned members of the crowd.
A few debutants from the Bennington Community Theater graced the stage alongside veterans. Some veterans include Blank who recently appeared in “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)”, Emma Jansch who appeared in “The Haunting of Hill House”, and Mary Jo Greco who sits on the Bennington Performing Arts Center Board of Trustees. .
Unfortunately, the show started with some technical issues. The actors seemed to struggle to find a balance between the individual voices. This happened several times throughout the show. In addition, although it was not controlled by anyone, the rain on Thursday evening took the attention away from a few songs.
Even though the theater’s acoustics were unforgiving, the cast had several moments of musical magic. “No Time at All” from the “Pippin” show was performed by Greco, who practically set the room on fire. She oozed energy and talent throughout the song.
Another highlight of the show was HK Goldstein’s performance of “Giants in the Sky” from “Into the Woods.” The fast tempo and jam-packed lyrics are a challenge. Even though the song presents technical challenges, Goldstein brought a lot of energy to the performance, running and jumping around the stage to embody the young character the song was written for.
The duo between Ingrid Madelayne and Lauren Biasi also deserves a spotlight. They sang “For Good” from the musical “Wicked”. They had great chemistry together and didn’t overpower each other during the counterpoint section of the song.
The talent was not lacking in the casting. Anyone who’s done live theater knows it’s impossible to have a flawless performance, but the beauty of live theater is that, even with the flaws, every moment is unique and it will never happen again.
More information about shows at the Bennington Performing Arts Center is available online at benningtonperformingartscenter.org.