TJ students sing their way to 'New World'
by Robert Schroeder
Staff Writer

Jan. 23, 2003

YiOu Wang, a 12th-grader, plays piano while fellow Thomas Johnson High
School students (from left) Jackie Gang and Julie Humphries, both
11th-graders, and Chris Lake and Laura Drake, 12th graders, practice singing
for this weekend's show at the school.
"I'll hear you call me....", sings 17-year-old Gov. Thomas Johnson High
School senior Laura Drake, as fellow senior YiOu Wang accompanies on piano.

But wait. "Is that right?" Drake asks no one in particular, as she glances
down at the sheet music. Yes, it is.

And on the song goes, as Drake and Wang, plus fellow senior Chris Like and
juniors Julie Humphries and Jackie Gang, rehearse for the school's Friday
and Saturday performances of "Songs for a New World," by Jason Robert Brown.

The four-member cast will sing 16 of 17 original tunes from the short-lived
Broadway musical, including "Flying Home," "Steam Train" and "On the Deck of
a Spanish Sailing Ship, 1492."

The show is "a collection of (Brown's) experiences" from living in New York
City, Like explained.

"Songs for a New World" will be the first musical to grace TJ's new and
improved stage, the students said.

The same students performed the musical in November at the Cultural Arts
Center. The school's auditorium seats about 1,300 -- and drama teacher Jason
Hoffman would like to fill the whole thing.

"Friday and Saturday -- 8 p.m.!" he says.

TJ Stage will perform "Songs for a New World" at Gov. Thomas Johnson High
School's auditorium at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Advance tickets cost
$5. Call 240-236-8234 for more information.

songs for a new world