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Take a direct, simple story, unfold it with exquisite care, and the result is a gem of a play opening Northlighta€™s 37th season. The snapshots, originally photos clutched in their hands, become large projections on the paneled walls before actually springing to life in the form of two incarnations of their earlier selves: Susie and Danny (Megan Long and Nick Cosgrove) and Susan and Daniel (Jess Godwin and Tony Clarno).
And what songs they are: 28 drawn from 12 successful musicals a€“ all written by Stephen Schwartz. The cast has remarkable voices, clear and compelling and their dramatic ability marches the timbre a€“ moving from humor to nostalgia with ease as past and present intermingle and advice is exchanged back and forth, neatly breaking barriers as they address their earlier selves. Kudos to Jack Magaw for the multi-level set, Karl Christian for musical staging, Steve Orich for Musical direction and arrangements, A and to the orchestra: Chris Sargent, Scott Reed, Paul Dallas, Jeffrey Handley and Marc Hogan. While Act I is stronger than the slower second act, by playa€™s end the viewers responded to much that reached their hearts.A  On opening night, not a few wiped away tears as they joined the rest of the audience for a standing ovation. The idea works because of the originality of the set-up, but also because Schwartz's songs, filled with aspiration and quizzical wonder, fit the basic premise so well.
I could go on about many more such inspired musical choices here, most of which are beautifully sung, especially by Long and Clarno. I imagine Schwartz aficionados will enjoy Snapshots as a clever twist on the revue or jukebox musical, but I was impressed that it also works as something entirely new. Touching musical comedy at Northlight blends new lyrics to familiar Stephen Schwartz music. A At the center of one of the most highly anticipated productions of the Northlight Theatre's 2011-2012 season, Snapshots (music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, book by David Stern and directed by Ken Sawyer) are Dan (Gene Weygandt)and Sue (Susie McMonagle), a long-time couple that have been friends since childhood, back when they were still known as Danny (Nick Cosgrove) and Susie (Megan Long). When the play opens, Sue, dissatisfied with the state of their marriage, is up in the attic of their home, suitcase packed, in the middle of writing Dan a letter explaining that she has decided to leave him.
While puttering around in the attic, talking with Sue, he comes across a box of snapshots on the floor, much of its contents spilled out.
Though they do love and care about each other a great deal (therea€™s no doubt about that), therea€™s also no denying that there are real problems in the relationship. SNAPSHOTS is a new musical by the amazing Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Godspell, The Bakera€™s Wife)!!
A group of very talented theatre folk and myself formed a theatrical production company called Cardboard Belt Productions.
When a box of old photographs tumbles from a dusty attic shelf, Dan and Sue are flooded with memories of their many years together. In many ways, "Snapshotsa€? marks Schwartza€™s return to smaller, more intimate shows.
Lyric rewrites have made many of Schwartza€™s retrofitted songs more suitable for their new settings, but too often I found myself imagining them in their original contexts. Stern has crafted a book whose well-drawn characters and realistic situations offer something every audience member can identify with.
The authors have opted to ignore conventional uses of time and space, a ploy that results in the past intruding on the present and vice versa: a charactera€™s older self giving advice to his more youthful counterpart, and a young girl questioning the woman she fears shea€™ll become. Snapshots will open the 2010-2011 season.A  The remainder of the season will be announced soon. Blending together some of the best-loved music with some of the genuinely wonderful lesser known gems of renowned Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz, this touching romantic comedy exposes a marriage at a crossroads.A  Newly adapted, this musical reveals the humorous twists and unexpected turns of a middle-aged couple's reminiscence of how love brought them together and why life pushed them apart. Relevant Theatricals and Cardboard Belt Productions have been developing this project for the past several years and most recently workedA on the musical with David Stern, Stephen Schwartz and the creative team in preparation for its Chicago premiere. Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community. Snapshots may be available for licensing in the future, and will be appropriate for groups who need a small show, as it involves only six actors, four musicians, and a single set.
Bookwriter David Stern brought Stephen Schwartz the idea of using a compilations of Schwartz songs to create a musical scrapbook of a couple's life. Ia€™ve had my favorites among the more contemporary performing songwriters -- Greg Brown comes most readily to mind -- but, for sheer longevity and ability to cover the big three in subject matter -- social commentary, satire, and personal relationships -- there just isna€™t anyone in his league.
If you were to dream about an American everymana€¦ someone with the ability to verbalize every quality needed to uphold the ideals of democracy, then demonstrate it to the masses, this would be your guy. Wea€™d normally cover the artista€™s life story in an interview, but Tom has put it all down in print. Through high school, in an area where country music was king, it seemed that he was the only person who liked folk music. After a brief, unsuccessful stint in graduate school, Tom followed an impulse he now derides and joined the Army.
After his discharge from the Army, he was sitting in the Gaslight Cafe and was prodded to audition for an opening in the Chad Mitchell Trio.
Tom had begun working on and off at The Gaslight after his discharge, beginning a 9-month run on the 4th of July weekend in 1962. In January of 1963, he got what he calls, a€?the biggest break of my life.a€? It was while he was playing at the Gaslight that he met Midge Cummings, the woman who would become his wife.
In spite of Toma€™s prodigious songwriting ability, he watched others get record contracts while he went without. Our observation of Toma€™s a€?deana€? of songwriters status is, of course, not without precedent. In 1963, just before Tom married Midge, he got his first invitation to sing at the Newport Folk Festival. After the British tour, with stops in Paris and Cannes, Tom and Midge returned to New York. During the 60a€™s when I was making my first attempt to join the legions of amateurs trying to play folk music, like many others, I made a€?The Last Thing On My Minda€? a part of my repertoire. The film segments on YouTube of Tom sitting at a table with Pete Seeger, chatting about his impetus for writing a song, then singing it, are treasures. Tom had a way to take a polarizing subject like the Vietnam War and present it in an a€?everymana€? fashion.
One of his songs that I will always find haunting is a€?Crazy John,a€? written for John Lennon.
These include some songs that first saw the light of day during the 60a€™s and 70a€™s and came in handy during our current run of madness.
Lyndon Johnson told the nation, have no fear of escalation, I am trying everyone to please. He ends the narrative in his songbook with these words: a€?So I teach, I write and record, I travel and perform -- all with my partner, Midge, without whom none of this would be still be happening.
Ia€™ve had my favorites among the more contemporary performing songwriters -- Greg Brown comes most readily to mind -- but, for sheer longevity and ability to cover the big three in subject matter -- social commentary, satire, and personal relationshipsA  -- there just isna€™t anyone in his league. The three couples interact to sing and dramatize specific, emotion-filled episodes that trace the two from their early days in elementary school A a€“ hitting on many rites of passageA  a€” A before moving on to courtship and highlights of their 30 years together.
The melodies are recognizable from many of these shows which include Wicked, Pippin, A Godspell, The Magic Show, Rags, Personals, The Bakera€™s Wife, Enchanted, Captain Louie, Working, Reluctant Pilgrim and Children of Eden a€“ but the lyrics have been rewritten to fit the new dramatic situation.
The musical logo flashes onto the attic walls.A  Ita€™s a powerful kick-off to the singing revue. The playa€™s book is by David Stern.a€?a€?Schwartz, a prolific composer and lyricist whose resume includes Godspell, Pippin, The Bakera€™s Wife, Working, RagsA and Wicked, has taken more than 25 musical numbers from these and his other works and adapted lyrics to fit Snapshots. Just as shea€™s almost done, about to make the move and leave, Dan comes up, genuinely confused about what she might be doing up there.A Rather than giving him the letter or informing him of her plans to leave him herself, she comes up with an excuse.


While he gathers them up, one in particular catches his eye -- a photo taken during a trip that they took to the Caribbean many years earlier. Much of the time they act as if they expect one another to be mind readers, each expecting the other to just somehow know what they want them to do or say. Ten years ago we began working with Stephen Schwartz and David Stern to bring this fantastic musical to the stage.
The playa€™s book is by David Stern.Schwartz, a prolific composer and lyricist whose resume includes Godspell, Pippin, The Bakera€™s Wife, Working, RagsA and Wicked, has taken more than 25 musical numbers from these and his other works and adapted lyrics to fit Snapshots.
In addition to capturing a moment in time, they hold myriad memories for those whose images are pictured within.
A cast of six portrays Dan and Sue at three stages in their lives: as childhood friends, as newlyweds and as a couple whose 30-year marriage is falling apart.
As they reflect on their past, they recall happier times they spent together, a few missed opportunities and some of the inevitable challenges every couple faces. It shares similarities with Dan Goggina€™s "Balancing Act,a€? a chamber musical with a main character whose conflicting personalities are played by five actors. Who doesna€™t remember a first crush, an awkward first kiss, rites of passage and missed opportunities? Evans announce the first show of Northlight's 2010-2011 season, A Snapshots, a new show described by the authors as a "musical scrapbook," that includes some of the best-loved music and lyrics by the creator of Wicked, Godspell, Pippin!
He collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on the English texts for Bernstein's Mass and wrote the title song for the play and movie Butterflies Are Free.
Ken is a BFA graduate of The Juilliard School.A  He is also an alumnus of the Lincoln Center Director's Lab West and the LaMama Italy International Directors Workshop. Several theatre groups staged new versions of it in the summer of 2007, including Dayton, Ohio's The Human Race, whose production is pictured in the photo with cast members Kristy Cates and Michael Marcotte. Between the covers of his songbook, Tom Paxton, The Honor of Your Company, is a treasure trove of stories and photographs from his childhood and his career. When his dada€™s health began to fail, for his convalescence, the family moved to Wickenberg, Arizona, a locus for dude ranches. He first heard a€?Shenandoaha€? from the Fred Waring singers Even in that a€?dressed-upa€? version, it drove straight to his core. It wasna€™t until he got to the University of Oklahoma, that he discovered other classmates who shared his musical tastes. While stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey, he whiled away the boring hours in a clerk typist class writing his first commercially viable song, a€?The Marvelous Toy.a€? While stationed at Fort Dix, he began visiting the clubs and cafes in Greenwich Village on weekends, crashing at the apartment of a former classmate.
He won the slot, but it lasted only a week when his voice didna€™t blend well with the other two.
With no record contract and not much money, initially the apartment was threadbare, with almost no furniture.
After four years, his manager, the legendary Harold Leventhal, convinced Electraa€™s Jac Holzman to listen to Tom. The workshops were hosted by Pete, who joined Tom on a€?Ramblina€™ Boy,a€? a real thrill for Tom. The folk clubs there were really clubs with memberships, not just commercial establishments that, in New York, might be nearly empty on a Monday. Along with others making it in folk, the college circuit opened up a new and better source of income than clubs. Of course, it would also speak reams to any college kid who wanted to wrap its meaning around his own scared, searching existence.
Pete, the standard-bearer of the first American folk wave welcomes Tom, the most literate of the newer generation. The tragedy of a€?Jimmy Newman,a€? for anyone ready to listen, reached across the gulf between the a€?longhairsa€? and their parents. For those who attempt to run their con game on the American populace, Tom Paxton watches, ready to pounce and skewer the miscreants. Though it isna€™t really war, I am sending 50,000 more, to help save Vietnam from Vietnamese.
Tom has kept his touring at around 40 shows per year, so ita€™s a good idea to catch him any chance you have. He first heard a€?Shenandoaha€? from the Fred Waring singersA  Even in that a€?dressed-upa€? version, it drove straight to his core.
The tragedy of a€?Jimmy Newman,a€?A  for anyone ready to listen, reached across the gulf between the a€?longhairsa€? and their parents. What might be clunky in other hands, flows smoothly under the expert direction of Ken Sawyer. He shows up from work, oblivious as ever, and the two end up looking back through their lives as lovers, parents and take-each-other-for-granted spouses, with the wife's impending exit providing the requisite tension. Press about this show has revealed that Schwartz has re-written some of his lyrics to fit the new narrative, but other than noting such changes in a couple tunes from Wicked, I have no idea what was altered or to what extent. Ita€™s a creative endeavor that works well.a€?a€?The show, featuring a pitch-perfect cast bursting with talent, opens in a cluttered attic where middle-aged Sue (Susie McMonagle), packed suitcase in hand, is poking through keepsakes.
While they are up there, Dan starts to go through the items that have gathered over the years, pointing out what he feels they can get rid of. It is also through these glimpses, these memories, that we learn about what really happened versus how they remember certain events in their lives happening, how they went from childhood friends to married couple, to married couple on the verge of breaking up after decades of being together. Indeed they go to great lengths not to talk about anything of substance, to avoid any unpleasantness or arguments. We then teamed up with Relevant Theatricals (Million Dollar Quartet) and have workshopped SNAPSHOTS at Theatre Works, The Village Theatre, The Human Race Theatre, Seaside Music Theatre and more to come.
Schwartz has taken his most famous songs and brilliantly reworked them into an entirely new powerful book written by David Stern. Ita€™s a creative endeavor that works well.The show, featuring a pitch-perfect cast bursting with talent, opens in a cluttered attic where middle-aged Sue (Susie McMonagle), packed suitcase in hand, is poking through keepsakes. They also have the power to rekindle powerful emotions years, even decades, after they were taken.
Schwartz has rewritten many of the lyrics to even the most familiar songs, to stay true to the fascinating story and characters of this new work.A  Funny and bittersweet, Snapshots brings into focus all the wonders and frustrations of trusting your heart and believing your memories. Schwartz was intrigued by the notion, and gave permission for the concept to be developed further. We cana€™t possibly include the myriad of experiences he relates or capture the range of wry humor, but will hit some of the high points. When most of us were young, many of us had dreams of being firemen, soldiers anda€¦ cowboys.
He and his friends would borrow albums by Josh White, Theodore Bikel and Oscar Brand and share the job of transcribing the lyrics.
He got to hear acts like Ed McCurdy (an early hero), The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Josh White and Len Chandler. Tom OKa€™d the use of his song a€?My Doga€™s Bigger Than Your Dog,a€? for a dog food commercial. It was a thrill, even though that first time he was only slated to perform at two afternoon workshops. Night after night, even Mondays, when Tom played, the club members packed the rooms (sometimes upstairs at a pub).


What other songwriter could write: a€?Ita€™s a lesson too late for the learnina€™ made of sand, made of sanda€¦In a wink of an eye my soul is turnina€™a€¦ in your hand, in your handa€¦a€? Ita€™s fingerstyle patterns were perfect for a beginner learning new licks.
Seeing Pete join Tom on a€?Ramblina€™ Boy,a€? playing banjo and harmonizing in his high tenor, is a gift to all those who couldna€™t be there at Toma€™s first Newport Festival. As an injured soldier waits to ship out for home, he continues to entreat his unmoving friend lying in the next bed to, a€?Get up, Jimmy Newmana€¦ youa€™ve only to open your eyes,a€? we know his friend is dead. His ignorance is met, first by an ultra-hip Captaina€™s, a€?Wassa matter witchoo, baybee?a€? and a€?Waddya think you been sittin on?
Tom still recalls the shock, fear and anger.A  Not long afterward, he got his first stringed instrument, a ukulele.
Night after night, even Mondays, when Tom played, the club members packed the rooms (sometimes upstairs at a pub).A  His album, Ramblina€™ Boy had preceded him there and people knew the songs. Seeing Pete join Tom on a€?Ramblina€™A  Boy,a€? playing banjo and harmonizing in his high tenor, is a gift to all those who couldna€™t be there at Toma€™s first Newport Festival. Their younger selves, variously played by Megan Long, Jess Godwin, Nick Cosgrove and Tony Clarno, act out vistas from their lives, singing Schwartz as they go, often with lyrics newly penned by the composer himself. Feeling distant from her workaholic husband Dan (Gene Weygrandt), she is ready to call it quits after 20 years of marriage to her childhood sweetheart in order to chase a dream of intimacy that has eluded her.a€?a€?Before Sue can get out the door, Dan comes home early from the office and joins her, and the pair spend time pouring over old photos.
Feeling distant from her workaholic husband Dan (Gene Weygrandt), she is ready to call it quits after 20 years of marriage to her childhood sweetheart in order to chase a dream of intimacy that has eluded her.Before Sue can get out the door, Dan comes home early from the office and joins her, and the pair spend time pouring over old photos.
A Snapshots, with book by David Stern, music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, A direction by Ken Sawyer, musical staging by Karl Christian, and musical supervision and arrangements by Steve Orich, will run at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie, September 16 - October 23, 2011. For films, he collaborated with Alan Menken on the songs for Disney's Enchanted as well as the animated features Pocahontas and The Hunchback Of Notre Dame and wrote the songs for the DreamWorks animated feature The Prince Of Egypt. Early versions were produced in the mid 90s, and over time, it evolved in terms of the story and the lyrics. In 1956, he got a second-hand Gibson guitar for Christmas and it accelerated his growth as a guitarist. Although he took some teasing for a€?selling out,a€? he managed to furnish the apartment with the money. The first album, Ramblina€™ Boy, contains one of Toma€™s most covered songs, a€?The Last Thing On My Mind,a€? and a slew of others that found their way into many a folkiea€™s song-bag. The old bluesman was only three years from the end of his life, but was able to soak up the adoration of players and audiences in that time. About a year later, someone sat on it and, as he writes, it was a€?Aloha, the ukulele.a€? Soon after, an aunt in Chicago gave him his first guitar, dug out of the back of a closet.
These snapshots trigger memories of when they first met, birthday parties, family gatherings, a€?best palsa€? during their college years, dating experiences (with one another and others) and eventually their engagement and birth of a college-age son.
Growing up Susie had her own dreams, wanted her own career, all of which now seems to have taken a backseat to raising a family, while Daniel spent much of his time away, often working 70 hours a week. One night a rancher paid a visit and sang a cowboy song a€?Tying a Knot in the Devila€™s Tail.a€? It was a€?one more stepa€? in his growing love for folk music. Years later, he writes, with typically arch humor, that, down the road, he got to tell Burl, in person, a€?I just want to thank you for ruining my life.a€? He got no sympathy, he says.
John played the Gaslight a number of times and Tom and others, lucky to be on the same bill, got to listen and absorb through many sets. One night a rancher paid a visit and sang a cowboy song a€?Tying a Knot in the Devila€™s Tail.a€? It was a€?one more stepa€?A  in his growing love for folk music. The WW I soldiers shouted greetings to each other and exchanged small gifts.A  The false report to headquarters in the last line, a€?We have met the enemy and he has been smashed!a€? also recalls that the opposing soldiers in WW I recognized their foea€™s humanity in spite of objections from their superiors. While those long hours were necessary early on, when they were young a€“ they wouldna€™t have been able support a family without that job a€“ he long ago could have scaled back to a much more reasonable, manageable schedule that would have allowed him to spend more time with Sue, yet somehow he never did, leaving her to feel essentially alone. His first opera, Seance on a Wet Afternoon, premiered with Opera Santa Barbara in the fall of 2009. Later, after some much-deserved success, theya€™d find a house in East Hampton, Long Island where theya€™d live for 27 years, except for three years (1970-1973) spent living in England and touring Europe. While ita€™s doubtful that much shared humanity was recognized by either side in a€?Nam, the common lot of all soldiers is certainly there in Toma€™s song. But what really brings them to life are four hard-working cast members who re-enact these various milestones in song and dialogue. Compounding the problem is that Dan has fallen into a familiar pattern of long hours spent at work, not recognizing that there is any sort of problem at home, whatsoever. Toma€™s ability to write songs for children is a strong part of his repertoire and catalog. From his perspective, he doesna€™t recognize that a problem exists, therefore there isna€™t one, all of which leads up to the point where the play begins a€¦ the point at which Sue must decide whether she is to leave or stay and try to work their problems out together. Tony Clarno as Daniel, Jess Godwin as Susan, Nick Cosgrove as Danny and Megan Long as Susie are shadow figures from the past, younger versions of Ken and Sue with whom they often interact. Under the auspices of the ASCAP Foundation, he runs musical theatre workshops in New York and Los Angeles, and is currently the President of the Dramatists' Guild. As the events play out, they dona€™t always match how the principal characters remember them.A A A  Many of the rekindled events are hilarious. In the first apartment that he will share with Sue, Dan has a number of surprise female visitors, baggage from his past, who literally pop up from the most unexpected places. Schwartz has recently been given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Even funnier is a bedroom scene where more ghosts put in an appearance (Godwin, changing wigs and intonation in rapid succession). Other awards include three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, and a tiny handful of tennis trophies.
A  I learned something from every man I met or exchanged emails with, and Lou taught me a few words in Spanish.A  Ole!
We can take a little walk, maybe get our feet wet, and then lie on a blanket and listen to the waves. I do the same thing myself, when the mood strikes.A  And how about this for being an "in tune with women" kinda guy?A  A few days after I had ordered myself 2 new green dresses and several in black to add to my collection from a mail order company named Newport News, he sent an email asking:A  "So, what are you wearing right now? A  For Christ Sake!!A  How about saving the Taxpayers a buck?A  In addition to that $6 million you've already blown by hovering and covering me, and scheduling a proper Face to Base meeting in your office; at my convenience? Dramatic, but no drama.A  Short black skirt, or long black dress?A  Heels or boots?A  Camo, or commando?
Until then, as in the end,there is much more to come.A A A  Once Upon a Time, a little mushroom popped through the moss covered ground of the Southeast Alaska Rainforest. Grant, Attorney at Law, Juneau, AK From Wedding Bells to Tales to Tell: The Affidavit of Eric William Swanson, my former spouse AFFIDAVIT OF SHANNON MARIE MCCORMICK, My Former Best Friend THE AFFIDAVIT OF VALERIE BRITTINA ROSE, My daughter, aged 21 THE BEAGLE BRAYS!
HELL'S BELLS: THE TELLS OF THE ELVES RING LOUD AND CLEAR IDENTITY THEFT, MISINFORMATION, AND THE GETTING THE INFAMOUS RUNAROUND Double Entendre and DoubleSpeak, Innuendos and Intimidation, Coercion v Common Sense, Komply (with a K) v Knowledge = DDIICCKK; Who's Gunna Call it a Draw?



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