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Another Rave Review for Snapshots

Love, Laughter and Tears at Village Theatre

Snapshots, A Musical Scrapbook with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

Village Theatre, Issaquah through October 18, Everett October 23-November 15, 2015

By Alice Kaderlan

It’s not a new story. The spark has gone out of Sue and Dan’s marriage, at least for Sue, and she’s decided to leave. Dan is clueless; he’s as content as ever and shocked to discover Sue in the attic gathering up a suitcase and a few other things for her departure. The attic is full of memories, captured in old photos and objects from the couple’s 20 years together. Gradually, as they go through the items in the attic, they relive happier times and ultimately, not surprisingly, rekindle the connection between them.

The Cast of Snapshots Snapshots Production photo. © 2015 Tracy Martin.  Property of Village Theatre.

Even though we know from the very beginning where the plot is going, David Stern’s book and Stephen Schwartz’s endearing songs and lyrics keep us engaged in this bittersweet tale.

The production is a hybrid– not quite a full musical but more than a revue – and uses a wide range of songs from Schwartz’s original musicals. There are tunes from “Pippin,” “Wicked,” “Godspell,” “The Magic Show” and many lesser known Schwartz musicals, all woven skillfully together by Stern and his co-creator Michael Scheman in a way that makes perfectly logical sense.

Stern and Scheman have come up with a clever conceit to dramatize Sue and Dan’s history. As the couple pores through the items they uncover in the attic, their younger selves come alive in the form of Mallory King and Ben Wynant as the pair during childhood, Tracy McDowell and Jim DeSelm as they transition into adulthood. All six are believable and vocally impressive; the younger cast members are particularly memorable portraying the peripheral characters who meander in and out of the couple’s life.

Director David Goldstein elicits touching, occasionally hilarious performances from his actors and moves them around Village Theatre’s cramped stage in a way that never feels claustrophobic. David Farley’s inventive set allows for projections that capture the joy and heartache of Sue and Dan’s life together and Monique Walker’s clever props turn the stage into a delivery room, college dorm, children’s schoolyard and any number of other locations.

Although few of the songs are memorable out of context they are all tuneful and the lasting effect of “Snapshots” is like that of a cool summer breeze, gentle and soothing.

Snapshots Gets a Rave!


‘Snapshots’ captures the imagination

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.

By Tracy Martin/Village Theatre Sue hands Dan (Beth DeVries and Hugh Hastings, middle) a goodbye note, unpersuaded by memories of their younger selves, Susie and Danny (Ben Wyant and Mallory King, left) and Susan and Daniel (Tracy McDowell and Jim Deselm), during happier times in Village Theatre’s new musical, ‘Snapshots.’

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


More Snapshots in the News!

Life: The Greatest Hits Collection

Hugh Hastings and Beth DeVries play the older incarnations of Dan and Sue in

Hugh Hastings and Beth DeVries play the older incarnations of Dan and Sue in ‘Snapshots,’ a revue of composer Stephen Schwartz’s music debuting at Village Theatre on Thursday.

— Image Credit: Photo Copyrighted By Mark Kitaoka

Village Theatre’s latest show, Snapshots, begins in a moment of crisis. Sue, readying to leave her husband of 20 years, goes up to the attic to grab her suitcase when Dan comes home from work early and confronts her. When a box of old photographs spills out onto the floor and significant memories from their past literally spring to life, they are reminded of why they came together — and how they drifted apart.

“Who we were affects who we are,” show writer David Stern said. “Sometimes those things build up enough that they create walls between us. As we grow up, life sort of gets in the way of our relationships.”

The musical will open in Issaquah’s Village Theatre Sept. 10, more than a decade after an unfinished version of it first debuted as a Village Originals Developmental Production in 2005.

The production began as a way to pay tribute to Stephen Schwartz’s work. Snapshots features 26 songs from 12 shows throughout Schwartz’s career, including “Popular” from Wicked and “That’s How You Know” from Disney’s Enchanted.

To fit the new story, Schwartz has tweaked the lyrics or tempo of some of the most popular tunes, which Stern says is unheard of. Schwartz also wrote the one original song, “Snapshots,” in the musical.

The idea to create Snapshots first formed back in the early ‘90s. Stern’s friend Michael Scheman wanted to create a revue of the composer’s work, which no one had done before.

“Well that’s ridiculous,” Stern recalls thinking upon hearing no one had created a revue of Schwartz’s work.

So, Stern looked the composer up in the phonebook — an art lost with the farflung era of  the ‘90s — and called him.

After Stern pitched the concept of adapting his songs to a completely new story, Schwartz said it was a great idea.

“Only now do I know he says that to everybody,” Stern said.

Looking back, he said it was a crazy idea — but as a 20-something-year-old, “we didn’t know any better,” Stern said.

At first, Stern and Scheman wrote a script for a four-person play before doing a read-through for Schwartz two years later.

He loved it — but it was clear they had much more work to do, Stern said.

“If you’re going to try a new story with these songs, we need to really deliver,” Stern recalls Schwartz telling him.

And that’s where they left off, until nearly a decade later when employees at the Village Theatre brought Stern and Schwartz back together in 2005.

Even after that, they worked on Snapshots for several more years, with various small-scale incarnations performed around the states, before the show developed into what it is now.

That unplanned break turned out to be vital to the story, Stern said.

When first collaborating, Stern was much closer to the younger pair, whereas Schwartz was in his 40s, married, with children, and could relate to the couple in their early adulthood.

Coming back to the material more recently, the two had advanced to a new stage of their lives: Stern married and had children while Schwartz’s children had moved out.

“Through the passage of time, and our new life experiences, we were finally able to finish the piece,” Stern wrote in his author’s note.

They added a new couple, capping the cast at six actors.

“We were able to bring a real honesty to it that we couldn’t before because we hadn’t lived it,” Stern said.

The actors that had played the couple in their early adulthood, DeVries and Hastings, in 2005 were recast as the older, present-day couple.

In their youth, going back to grade school, Mallory King and Ben Wynant play Susie and Danny, respectively. In their early adulthood, Susan and Daniel are played by Tracy McDowell and Jim DeSelm.

Snapshots opens in Issaquah Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Audiences Love Snapshots!

P1020355Thousands have already seen Snapshots at the Village Theatre, and word of mouth is excellent. Amy A. says, “Great show!!!” Stephanie B. says,Used a lot of Kleenex tonight. What a touching, wonderful show. Great all-around…Village did it again. I predict this show will go far! Mona B. says, It was so funny and touching! What a great show!

Be sure to get your tickets soon!