For Mykal Kilgore, appearing in a new production of the cult 1995 song cycle-slash-musical “Songs for a New World” was “a dream fulfilled.”
The Broadway actor and singer, who scored a viral hit in 2017 with a gospel-infused take on Rep. Maxine Waters’ (D-Calif.) “reclaiming my time” catchphrase, was among the starry cast of “Songs for a New World” when it was staged at New York City Center last year as part of its 2018 Encores! Off-Center season.
Kilgore’s performance was captured for posterity on a new cast album, released by Ghostlight Records in January. Though recordings are rarely produced for shows with a four-performance run, the album is a testament to the enduring appeal of composer Jason Robert Brown’s score.
Kilgore helped give HuffPost a behind-the-scenes look at his recording process with the above video, which shows him in the studio with co-stars Shoshana Bean, Colin Donnell and Solea Pfeiffer. The four-person show doesn’t adhere to a traditional plot, but follows two men and two women in individual vignettes, examining the choices they make when faced with extraordinary moments.
“I spent the entire process of putting together ‘Songs for a New World’ with my jaw dropped, because I was allowed to perform with some of the most incredible performers on the planet,” Kilgore told HuffPost.
He called Tony-winning composer Brown “a dream collaborator. I know I can trust him, and I think he found that same level of trust in me. We speak each other’s musical language.”
Though Brown scored bigger hits with the musicals “Parade,” “The Last Five Years,” and “The Bridges of Madison County,” he said revisiting the “Songs for a New World” score 24 years after the original production was “an extraordinary gift.”
“As an artist, it was such a joy and a challenge to be able to look back at my earliest work and hear it brought to life by a cast of such strong and distinctive voices,” he said. “Being able to provide a forum for singers like Mykal, Shoshana, Solea and Colin is one of the joys of my life ... it is a ‘New World’ for a new world, and I’m overjoyed to share it with everyone.”