Thursday November 23rd 2017

“Snapshots”

Recommended What can a songwriter do with his songs after a show has played itself out? What happens to the songs written for musicals that were not used in the show? And, the big question is, whether or not one can call “Snapshots” now onstage at Northlight Theatre in Skokie ” A New Musical”? It does have a book ( a new book) by David Stern and yet the majority of the music and lyrics in this touching romantic comedy is from other shows by Stephen Schwartz so they are calling it a musical scrapbook. This may be because the story itself is a trip down memory lane for a couple, Sue ( played to perfection by Susie McMonagle) and Dan ( the always reliable and solid, Gene Weygandt), who may be at the end of their relationship. In fact, at the very start of the show, Sue is in the attic with suitcase in hand preparing to leave her husband of 20 years, when he arrives home early and when a box of old snapshots falls to the floor, they begin to look back at their lives together. As they look at these snapshots, they are joined by their pasts ( inner selves portrayed by four very talented young people:Megan Long as Susie and Nick Cosgrove as Danny. These are the “early years” and then in their later years, Jess Godwin takes on Susan and Tony Clarno, Daniel. These fabulous four actors/singers also take on some other “ensemble roles” and are adorable as ex-lovers, school chums and truly shine in every way.

The music is from “Wicked”,”Pippin”, “Godspell”, “The Baker’s Wife”,”Working” and many other lesser known shows from Schwartz, but with some lyric changes and some added numbers by David Crane,Marta Kaufman,Alan Menken, Charles Strouse and Seth Friedman and under the smooth direction of Ken Sawyer, this production truly worked for me. Karl Christian handled the musical staging, which as another way of sayng limited choreography and the  on the layered stage designed by Jack Magaw it all fit. The stage is designed so that we feel we are in an attic, where all their memories are stored and with soe wonderful projections ( Mike Tutaj) we go back to their first meeting and all the stops that brought them here. I must say that the properties/props in this production deserve to have the propmaster mentioned in the program- they are super.

The story is about life and as you watch their lives come alive before you, as the current Dan and Sue and their past lives, one feels close to them. You may think of your own life and the choices that you made along the way, good and bad, or that of a friend, but you will smile as well as find a tear rolling down your cheek at times.It is rare that a “musical revue” can have a storyline this solid that allows us to get inside the characters so that we can feel what they are feeling. Their inner selves communicate with them showing them the errors in judgement along the way and as much as I adored the production, I had hoped for a little different ending. It ends with Sue giving up on her leaving and I would have preferred her leaving room for hope instead of just giving in to their past lives. We all go through ups and downs in our relationships, and we all make errors in judgement. We all get caught up in our busy stress filled lives and forget to communicate with our partners as we should.  But, despite not ending as i would have hoped it would, this is a highly enjoyable story with some truly stirring songs performed by six highly talented actors, and one that I truly recommend you view with a loved one. Yes, you will look at each other during the show, letting the other know that you have had some of these feelings in your relationship, but you will leave the theater highly motivated to make some adjustments to your daily routine.

“Snapshots” will continue at Northligh Theatre located at  9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie ( just South of Golf Rd/Old Orchard Center) through  October 23rd with performances as follows:

Tuesday (October 11th only) 7:30 p.m.,Wednesdays 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. ( except October 12th), Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.,Fridays at 8 p.m.,Saturdays at 2:30 and 8 p.m. and Sundays 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets range from $25-$65 and are available at the box office, by phone at  847-673-6300 or online at www.northlight.org

plenty of free parking

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