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New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.
January 17, 2018

The Music of Generation NYZ

 
The first thing you notice at Undesirable Elements: Generation NYZ is the playlist greeting you as you take your seat. From the beginning, you know that this will be an entirely unique experience. Although each of the seven members of the cast has lived through incredibly different circumstances, the one thread that binds them is their love of music. Four of the performers, Monica, Edwin, Syl and Mohammad share the songs that inspire them the most. 
 

Monica Victoria Tatacoya Castañeda

Monica"Sorry Not Sorry" by Demi Lovato makes me feel unapologetic about being me. In a world where you are shunned for not conforming to what society wants from you, it’s important to be confident in yourself.

"Secreto de Amor" by Joan Sebastian has been my favorite since I was a child. I don’t even remember how old I was when I first heard it. At first, I loved it because it just sounded so nice. Now, I'm drawn to it because it brings back memories of much simpler times. It calms me down. 

"Praying" by Kesha makes me feel hopeful. There are people who come into your life who try to destroy who you are. "Praying" gives me that sense of hope that comes when you see a new sunrise in the horizon, the hope that you will come out better because of what you went through. 

Music is very important to me. There are some things that words alone can’t express or offer. Music gives me those things I need. Simple words can’t offer comfort when I need it or always express how I'm feeling. Music is that one thing that touches everyone. It speaks to each person in a unique way. 

Edwin Aguila

Edwin"Text Me, Call Me (I'll Be There For You)" by Jabir Farooq. This is my own song! It means so much to me because it shows how much I've grown. When I started recording this in 2016, I became more willing to take risks and put myself out there.

"1-800-273-8255" by Logic. This song by Logic is one that means a lot to me since I’ve dealt with depression and suicidal thoughts. I wish I had this song while I was dealing with my personal demons. 

"NY State of Mind" by Nas depicts the reality of my New York and paints a vivid picture through the lyrics.

Music is very important to me. It saved my life! It allows me to find an outlet for my feelings. It also allows me to heal and escape reality for a bit.

Syl Egerton

Syl"Claire de Lune" by Claude Debussy is a piece of classical music. It's probably the most beautiful, bittersweet and heart-wrenching pieces I've ever heard. I feel like it encapsulates the slight sadness I can always feel at the bottom of my stomach. At the same time, it's so calming, it lets you work through that tinge of sadness at you own pace. I like setting it to loop, lying down and listening to it as long as I need.

"Intro: Never Mind" by BTS is a song I listen to when I need to get motivated. It has lyrics that just make me want to run faster, work harder and be stronger in general. I play it when I need to smash out a paper, and just generally when I'm feeling bogged down and sluggish and need a kick.

"I Will Be King" by the Hoosiers is a weird one. It's simultaneously celebratory and slightly creepy. I like those types of songs and relate to the lyrics of this particular one a lot. The Hoosiers tell a lot of stories with their music and I just love the way they sound. 

Music is unbelievably important to me, I never leave the house without my headphones, otherwise I lose my mind. I have a playlist for every mood so my taste is all over the place. I love things from heavy rock to classical music to rap. Music is just something that makes me feel really good and helps reassure me that things will be okay. I get easily overwhelmed by thoughts, sometimes random or bad, and music helps me tune them out so I can focus or reach a goal. It's thanks to music and singing that I've been able to build up my confidence and speak in public or in front of an audience. 

Mohammad Murtaza

Mohammad"Love Never Felt so Good" by Michael Jackson makes me feel like dancing with someone. It's a song that puts you in a good mood at any time and makes you wanna get up on your feet. The first time I ever heard it was in middle school when my friend played it for me. He knew Michael Jackson was one of my favorite artists, and was surprised when I didn’t know the song. 

"Crayon" by G Dragon makes me wanna go crazy and hypes me up. I feel like partying every time I hear it. The first time I heard it was also in middle school, after my best friend had shown me a song that G Dragon's group Big Bang had put out called "Fantastic Baby." I was entranced by their swagger and electronic pop/hip-hop feeling. So I searched them up, found "Crayon," and instantly liked it.

"Return of Simba" by J Cole makes me feel like a G, like I’m tough and confident. I first heard it when I was a sophomore in high school. I thought his vibe was dope and that he was a good artist, so I searched him up online and found all his songs. I loved it all, but "Return of Simba" was such a good "come up" song and I really love it.

Music is very important to me. It's my first form of self expression. It's been an outlet for me, a way to find myself and a way to join a community. The feeling you get from appreciating an artist’s work and finding out someone else does too is indescribable. As an aspiring artist as well, I write a lot of music and find myself looking to my favorite and most respected artists for inspiration. 

Photos: Alexis Buatti-Ramos
 
 

 
From East New York to West Harlem and from the South Bronx to Far Rockaway, witness the jubilant victories, recent discord and distant dreams of coming of age in Undesirable Elements: Generation NYZ

 
Posted by Beth Henderson

Written by Auriane Desombre, Spring 2017 Communications Apprentice

The New Victory Theater prides itself on its interactive activities and enriching programs for kids and their families. However, it's rare that we get to see kids performing up on our stage. This season is the exception with 26 kids under the age of fourteen taking their bows in Aging Magician! Narrating the opera-theater work, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus joins Harold onstage as he reflects on his unusual life. Giving us the inside scoop are two members of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Mariana (12) and Andrei (13).

Mariana"Aging Magician—it's complicated." Mariana says. "It's about this man who has a heart attack on the subway, and throughout the show he goes between being in reality, and being in a story he is writing. He remembers things from his childhood and rediscovers the magic of his life. There are so many different aspects to discover."

"It fills me with a sense of both melancholy and joy since it's a very profound piece," Andrei tells us. "It’s a beautiful piece of music that combines songs with theater and even puppetry to illustrate a man reflecting on his life, memories and aspirations."

Mariana wholeheartedly agrees, "It's just an amazing show that I love a lot."

Joining the show as part of the chorus comes with a lot of challenges, and requires a whole new way of thinking about your performance. "When you're working in an ensemble, you always feel that you have to be more reliable," Andrei says. "You not only think about if what you’re doing will help you, but how will it affect the larger ensemble." Of course, as members of a chorus dedicated to artistic innovation, these performers are more than up to the task.

The Brooklyn Youth Chorus has been working on Aging Magician for three years, so bringing the show to life has been a long process. Being a part of that creative journey can be the most rewarding part of the performance, though. As Mariana says, there's nothing like seeing the results of your creativity coming together to make you feel inspired.

Andrei"I feel like the show is a puppet in itself. You're putting it together, creating its personality, and creating the way that it moves and speaks," Mariana explains. "The way we do that makes me feel like I have a part in that 'puppet' and its way of life."

Taking that "puppet" and performing in front of a live audience might sound daunting to many, but Mariana and Andrei feel right at home onstage. "The stage is like a home away from home,” Mariana says. "It just brings a familiar feeling to me that I love."

The New Victory stage certainly feels like home to Andrei. When he saw a show at the New Vic for the first time, he was so enthralled by the performance that he told his dad,  "Wow, I'd really like to do that when I grow up!" Andrei is thrilled to be living out his dream on the New Vic stage, where he was first inspired to become a performer.

For Mariana, the New Vic stage comes with another ingredient—the audience. "The fact that we’re performing for kids that look up to us makes it even better. To see the wonder on their faces—I can't wait."

Neither can we! Come see Aging Magician next week to catch Mariana, Andrei, and the rest of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus in action on the New Vic stage.
 
 
New Victory Thumb Auriane Desombre studies English at NYU, where she's wrapping up her senior year with an honors thesis. Outside of her classes, she reviews theater for Stagebuddy, and has written for Cracked and Urbanette. Her favorite writing collaboration thus far, though, would be the time Lin-Manuel Miranda replied to one of her tweets.
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