Melody Monday: ‘New Leading Man’ Jason Forbach gets ready to release a new single

Jason Forbach.

Jason Forbach.

Best known to many fans for his current role as the fiery, charismatic revolutionary leader Enjolras in the North American tour of Les Misérables, Jason Forbach is a spectacular actor with a more than impressive set of vocal chords both on and off the stage.  While he hasn’t released any solo projects since his Christmas EP Remembering to Dream in December 2010, touring with Les Mis hasn’t put a damper on his solo endeavors, and in addition to a concert at North Central College in Naperville, IL last night, Forbach has also announced a new single to be released this sometime this summer.

In light of all this recent excitement, it’s time to take a look back at Forbach’s debut album, A New Leading Man.

Released in January 2009, the album is made up of showtunes from a variety of different composers and shows, including Pasek and Paul, and Duncan Sheik.  Despite the title, however, you won’t find classic heroism here; the songs Forbach chose for his album reflect an entirely different sort of “leading man”, one who is as much his own enemy as anyone else is, and who struggles to come to terms with his own thoughts and feelings rather than with a tangible foe.  In addition, the song selection shows off his range brilliantly, and his renditions are an absolute delight to listen to, ranging from light and almost poppy, to ethereal and wistful, to pained nostalgia.

One of the highlights of the album is Forbach’s beautiful rendition of “Touch Me”, from Spring Awakening.  Having recently seen a production of Spring Awakening not long before I listened to this rendition for the first time, I wasn’t entirely sure what I would be getting – the song was gorgeous in the musical, could it possibly be improved upon?  The answer, I soon found, was a resounding yes.  Forbach’s rendering of the song is at once eerie and sensual in a way that sends a shiver down your spine, and the vocal agility with which he navigates the song is simply stunning.

Another favorite of mine is one of the last songs on the album, a cover of Pasek and Paul composition, “Part of a Painting” from Edges.  If “Touch Me” showcases some of Forbach’s vocal agility, then this song exhibits the richness of his voice, and the resulting track is a soothing, largely piano-driven ballad that expertly walks the fine line between relaxing and boring.  As I had come to expect by the time I hit track eleven, however, there is nothing boring about Forbach’s take on the song; it is instead heart-achingly romantic, full of longing and almost-painful realization.

Other highlights of the album include the irrepressibly catchy “Perfect, Finite”, the painful loneliness of “I Can’t Walk On” and Ryan Scott Oliver’s “What I Wouldn’t Do for You”.

So what’s next for Jason Forbach?  Between the range and flexibility found on A New Leading Man, and the first glimpses of Forbach’s own songwriting on Remembering to Dream, I can’t wait to see what’s in store, both for the upcoming single and beyond.

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4 Responses

  1. The concert was fantastic! And “Revolutionary” was awesome! I can’t wait for it to be released!

    • That’s what I’ve heard about the concert! Wish I could have been there!

  2. And the new song is goooooooood. We got to hear it yesterday at the concert. :)

    • Oh! I’m terribly jealous (alas the travel was out of the question for me)! I can’t wait to hear it when it finally comes out!