September 16, 2015
By David Hayes
NEW — 5:25 p.m. Sept. 16, 2015
Whoever said nothing is ever new anymore should meet the creative minds behind Village Theatre’s debut of the new musical, “Snapshots.”
Technically, the concept isn’t new — a couple whose marriage is on the rocks re-examines their relationship through the memories elicited from photos stashed in the attic.
The twist here is the tale unfolds through the greatest hits of composer Stephen Schwartz. However, even if you’ve heard such modern-day standards as “Popular” from “Wicked” or “Extraordinary” from “Pippin,” you’ve never heard them like this new, refreshing presentation.
First things first, the casting proved to be pure genius with just six actors portraying the same two characters — Sue and Dan — through various stages of their lives. Beth DeVries brings such a depth of weariness that you feel her pain of no longer wanting the relationship to continue. Hugh Hastings is perfect as the oblivious husband who doesn’t realize that the same old charms no longer work.
Mallory King and Ben Wynant perfectly capture the youthful exuberance of the young couple while Tracy McDowell and Jim Deselm again perfectly portray the duo as they transition into adults.
Director Daniel Goldstein, who has actually helmed the Broadway production Schwartz musical “Godspell,” coaxes some wonderful performances out of his cast, both hysterically funny and heart-achingly poignant. Some of the most memorable performances come from the younger cast members portraying the peripheral characters in the couple’s life. And some of the funniest moments come when the older couple directly interacts with their memories.
Which leads to a special call out to the scenic designer, David Farley, and even the prop manger, Monique Walker. Most of the setting takes place in an attic. With such a static setting, they’ve managed through projections to portray the snapshots of memories through the years. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen a production with so many props that are actually pivotal to the advancing plot.
But what tie this tale together are the songs. It boggles the mind how writers David Stern and Michael Scheman interwove such disparate tunes from different eras spanning three decades into an ongoing theme. So even if you’ve never heard one of Schwartz’s songs, you’ll wonder at its familiar sound. And I’ve always been astounded how an actor can successfully pull off an accent or lisp while singing. No spoilers. You’ll see.
The emotions from “Snapshots” will elicit tears of laughter and tears of sorrow. Yes, it gets that poignant at times — that or I’m just getting to be a softy.
Rarely do audiences get the opportunity to watch something new on the stage. “Snapshots” has been a decade in the works since it first appeared in Village Theatre’s Originals workshops. But you’ll enjoy how refreshing it feels with old concepts all made new again.
If you go
- Sept. 10 to Oct. 18
- Village Theatre
- 303 Front St. N.
- $36 to $68