With the Facebook age, picture taking has become even more popular. Not only can I capture the moment, I can post it immediately for all my FB friends to see. We spend so much time documenting the fun time, we forget to actually have a fun time. Those posed pictures hold less and less importance. Offline, I stumble on an old photograph. I see the younger version of myself with someone I don’t remember and in a place I don’t recall. There are no comments, tags or *likes* to help me know its significance. I only know that when I look at it, I feel that young girl’s moxie and innocence.
Northlight Theatre presents the Chicago premiere of SNAPSHOTS. Sue and Dan have been together since 12 years old. They started as buddies. They went on to date. They ended up married. Their son has left home. Sue decides it’s time for her to go too. Dan surprises her letter-explaining-her-departure-exit. And a box of photos sends them back in time. They must first look back to move forward. SNAPSHOTS is a compilation of award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz‘ favorite songs. This time, the music is set to story and everybody shares in the musical memory.
Walking into the theatre, the stage grabs my attention. The framework of the attic has an iridescent shell-like quality. The shimmer adds a surreality to the cluttered reality. Designers Jack Magaw (scenic), Jesse Klug (lighting) and Mike Tutaj (projections) work together to provide the nostalgic backdrop. The show starts with an overture of Schwartz‘ musicals. The cast hums along with the band to selections from “Pippin”, “Godspell”, “Wicked” and more. The musical logo flashes onto the attic walls. It’s a powerful kick-off to the singing revue.
The show is all about Sue and Dan. And Suzie and Danny. And Susan and Daniel. Susie McGonagle, Megan Long and Jess Goodwin play the female. Gene Weygandt, Nick Cosgrove and Tony Clarno play the male. McGonagle and Weygandt are the old married couple. Musical veterans, McGonagle and Weygandt anchor the show with solid singing and bittersweet contemplation. Always onstage, they delightfully interact with their younger versions. There are hilarious moments as they try to get their young selves to act differently. (Aw, if it was that easy to change the past.) The entire ensemble is incredibly talented. The singing is a melodious powerhouse multiplied by six. A standout, Megan Long belts out a bright, pleasing rendition of “Popular.” But it’s her multiple character portrayal in bed that’s unforgettable. Long showcases an impressive range.
My only disappointment in this wonderfully sung retrospective is the missing “Defying Gravity.” I would have loved for McGonagle to close off the first act with that “Wicked” song. If I ever leave my husband, I’m totally singing it. Despite the denying “Defying”, SNAPSHOTS is picture perfect!
Besides this composer salute to Schwartz, another Chicago offering is a cabaret review of Stephen Sondheim by Porchlight Musical Theatre. PUTTING IT TOGETHER is currently playing at Theater Wit.
A man cheering on the relationship recovery, Scott-dds describes it with ‘nostalgic musical images.’
Running Time: Two hours and fifteen minutes includes an intermission
At North Shore Center for Performing Arts Center, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie
Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by David Stern
Conceived by Michael Scheman and David Stern
Additional music and lyrics by David Crane, Seth Friedman, Marta Kaufman, Alan Menken & Charles Strouse
Music direction and arrangements by Steve Orich
Directed by Ken Sawyer
Wednesdays at 1pm and 7:30pm
Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays at 8pm
Saturdays at 2:30pm and 8pm
Sundays at 2:30pm and 7pm
Thru October 23rd