Joel: Introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you before on local stages.
Hi! My name is Madyson Hanton and I am currently a senior at Robinson Secondary School. I recently played Mary Poppins in Westfield Summer Stage’s production of Mary Poppins and Lady Macduff in Robinson’s Macbeth.
Who do you play in Songs for a New World and how do you relate to your character? Does this character have any of your personality or traits?
I play Woman 2, who covers a wide variety of characters in her songs including Mrs. Claus, a flagmaker during the American Revolution, and a wife threatening to jump from the 57th floor of a building. Her characters are all women who are looking for something more out of their lives and go about this common desire in differing ways. I personally relate to each of these characters, and I think many will, because we all want to live our lives to their fullest potential.
What has been the biggest challenge learning to play this role?
The biggest challenge for me has been trying to find a way to connect the different characters from each song together in order to show that they are all approaching their specific situation with the same attitude. We have also been focusing on connecting all the roles to create a whole person, so it’s been a challenge to find what aspect of a person Woman 2 was made to portray.
Which character in Songs for a New World is most like you and how?
I have connected the most with my character in the song “Stars and the Moon” because I believe that in the end, the experiences and non-tangible things people give you will be what you remember late into life. And that is really what the song is trying to say, through the eyes of someone who chose a materialistic lifestyle over having the stars and the moon.
What have you learned about yourself-the actor and singer-during this experience?
Jason Robert Brown’s score has been a real challenge to take on. However, it’s very rewarding when you finally conquer a certain harmony or rhythm. I’ve learned that as an actor, I especially enjoy being able to tell stories solely through song.
What does Songs for a New World have to say to theatregoers of your generation and how is it still relevant?
Songs for a New World is one of those unique shows that is able to relate to theatregoers of any age. It conveys the timeless message that life is not meant to be lived in a box and risks are meant to be taken.
What song that you do not sing is your favorite and why?
I love the song “King of the World”. Man 1 sings it, and Jordan does such an amazing job, it’s unbelievable. It’s a great song to listen to if you need some pump-up style inspiration. But, seriously, the song talks about believing in yourself and the struggle of getting your true message across to the world.
How is this production different and unique from other community theatre experiences?
Since it is entirely student directed, produced, and performed the experience has been truly unique. Being able to collaborate with such talented people my own age created an environment that allowed everybody to take risks that we might not have normally taken.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing your performance in Songs for a New World?
I hope audiences are able to see the significance of that “one moment” when they have to make a snap decision. The show will hopefully push people to take risks and explore their own new worlds.
Meet the Cast of ‘Songs for a New World’: Part 1: Jordan Sledd.
Meet the Cast of ‘Songs for a New World’: Part 2: Madyson Hanton (Woman #2).