- About the Play
- Behind the Scenes
- Photo Gallery
book by David Stern
SEPTEMBER 16, 2011 - OCTOBER 23, 2011A musical scrapbook about trusting your heart and believing your memories from the creator of Wicked, Godspell, Pippin and Working.
This romantic comedy blends the best-loved music of Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz with some of his lesser known gems. Featuring fresh lyrics and orchestrations, Snapshots reveals the humorous twists of a middle-aged couple's reminiscence of how love brought them together and why life pushed them apart.
Stephen Schwartz, composer and lyricist
Stephen Schwartz is a native of New York City, born in 1948 to businessman Stan and teacher Sheila. Throughout his childhood, his parents met his obvious talents - both musical and verbal - with nurture and support. His first exposure to the Broadway stage was a musical called Shinbone Alley, adapted for the stage by the Schwartz's neighbour, George Kleisinger. Schwartz identifies seeing this show as the moment where he knew it was his ambition to write for the Broadway musical theatre. As a young teenager, he attended an impressive number of original Broadway productions, including My Fair Lady, Gypsy and West Side Story. While still in high school, he studied piano and composition at the Julliard School of Music.
Schwartz attended Carnegie Mellon University, originally as a playwriting major but switching to directing in order to have a more hands-on experience of the theatre. Carnegie Mellon did not offer musical theatre training at the time, and so Schwartz found an outlet for his goals in the extracurriculur "Scotch 'n' Soda Club" and their annual musicals. He collaborated and composed on several campus box office hits, including Pippin, Pippin, an early incarnation of one of his most beloved shows. It was at CMU that Schwartz decided that he wanted to focus on lyrics as well as composition, because, in his own words, "I couldn't find people to write lyrics for my songs whose work I felt strongly enough about." He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.F.A in Drama at the age of twenty.
After graduating, Schwartz spent time in New London Barn Playhouse in New Hampshire, gaining backstage experience on a number of prominent productions such as Oliver! and Camelot. In 1971, after returning to New York, Schwartz was hired to write a new song score for fellow CMU alumnus John Michael Telebak's master thesis project, Godspell. Godspell went on to become one of the longest running off-Broadway musicals. In 1972, Pippin premiered on Broadway and currently holds 31st place on the list of longest running Broadway shows. The Magic Show debuted on Broadway two years later, running for just under 2,000 performances. Godspell eventually had its Broadway debut in 1976, earning Schwartz two Grammys in the process. At this point, with three hit shows running on Broadway simultaneously, Schwartz had become recognised as a formidable force in American musical theatre.
Throughout the 90s, Schwartz's career is marked by a notable contribution to the soundtracks of many highly successful animated films. Some of his most recognisable songs can be found in films such as Disney's Pochahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He also provided music Dreamwork's Prince of Egypt, winning an Academy Award for the song 'When You Believe.'
In 2003, Schwartz returned to Broadway with a bang, as the composer and lyricist for Wicked, a musical adaptation of a novel by Gregory Maguire which retells the story of Oz characters from the point of view of two young witches. Schwartz won another Grammy for his work on Wicked's cast recording. In 2007, he wrote lyrics for the live-action Disney film Enchanted. Three songs from this film received Academy Award nominations for 'Best Original Song.'
Schwartz has won three Oscars, three Grammys, four Drama Desk Awards and one Golden Globe, as well as six Tony Award nominations. He is also part of an elite handful of composers who have had three shows reach the milestone of one thousand performances on Broadway. The other three are Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jerry Herman and Richard Rodgers. Out of these four, only Schwartz and Herman have seen three shows hit the 1500th mark.
SNAPSHOTS: THE SONGS and THE SOURCES
Snapshots blends together some of the best-loved music with some of the genuinely wonderful lesser known gems of renowned Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz. In this unique musical scrapbook, Schwartz gives new lyrics to some of his most popular songs in order to tell a powerful story that is both fresh and familiar.
Photos of Snapshots rehearsal here.
Northlight's Resident Dramaturg Kristin Leahey interviews Stephen Schwartz....coming soon!
Tony Clarno (Daniel) Chicago credits include Aladdin (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) and Stupid Kids (About Face Theatre). Regional credits include Third and Pygmalion (Guthrie Theater); Drawer Boy (Jungle Theater); West Side Story (Portland Center Stage); The Winter's Tale, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Great River Shakespeare Festival); The Crucible (Pittsburgh Public). Film credits include Peaceful Warrior (Lions Gate). Television credits include Pandemic and Shark Swarm (The Hallmark Channel).
Nick Cosgrove (Danny)is thrilled to be making his Northlight Theatre debut with such a fantastic company! Off-Broadway: Encores! Where's Charley? (dir. John Doyle). Regional: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Joseph) at the New Theatre, The Sound of Music (Rolf) at the Engeman Theatre, Titanic (Fleet), Les Miserables (Joly), and Fiddler on the Roof (Chaim) at The Muny in St. Louis, MO. Carnegie Mellon University: Carousel (Billy Bigelow), and How To Succeed Without Really Trying (Bud Frump). NY Readings/Workshops: Saving Aimee (Charlie Chaplin), It's a Wonderful Life (Harry Bailey), Natural Woman (Neil Sedaka), Wanda's World (Ty Belvedere), The Extraordinary Ordinary (Joey) and Tuck Everlasting (dir. Casey Nicholaw). BFA Acting/Music Theatre from Carnegie Mellon University. Much love and appreciation to Mom, Dad, Rick, Christina, Ken, Stephen, Lynn, the entire Northlight Theatre production team and everyone at SCAW. Proud AEA. www.nickcosgrove.com
Jess Godwin (Susan) is so excited to be working with Northlight for the first time! Past theatre credits include Carousel (Court Theatre), Gypsy, A Wonderful Life, Sunday in the Park with George (Porchlight Music Theatre), Lady Madeline (The Steppenwolf Theater Company), The Wild Party, Songs for a New World, The Life (Bohemian Theatre Ensemble), and Tick...Tick...BOOM! (Pegasus Players). In the past two years, she has been focusing most of her performing energies towards writing, performing, and recording her own nerdy piano-based pop/soul music. Recent Chicago venues include Double Door, Mayne Stage, Schubas, Navy Pier, and Bottom Lounge. Other recent tour cities: New York, LA, Boston, Detroit, Atlanta, Toronto, Philadelphia, and New Orleans. Jess will be releasing a new music video, "Out with the Old" in November. Feel free to check out her upcoming show dates and get a free download at www.jessgodwin.com. I love my mom and dad!
Megan Long (Susie) is happy to make her Northlight Theatre debut. Chicago credits include: The Emperor's New Clothes, Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night's Dream (Chicago Shakespeare), Meet Me in St. Louis (Drury Lane Watertower), A Little Night Music (Light Opera Works), Always, Patsy Cline, Married Alive! (Fox Valley Repertory), Little Women (Marriott Theatre), Carter's Way (The Steppenwolf Theatre Company), A Christmas Carol (Drury Lane Oakbrook), and My Favorite Year (Bailiwick Repertory). She is a proud member of AEA and is represented by Gray Talent Group. Many thanks to the cast, crew, and creative team of Snapshots! All my love to MLB. This one is for you, PawPaw!
Susie McMonagle (Sue) Broadway: Fantine in Les Miserables. First National tours: Billy Elliot (Mrs. Wilkinson and Mum). Other National Tours include Mamma Mia (Donna), Les Miserables (Fantine) The Secret Garden and The Sound of Music. Chicago credits include: At Wits End (Jane Grant) and Sideshow (Daisy) at Northlight Theatre, Rock n Roll (Candida) at the Goodman Theatre, Man of La Mancha (M. Bane) at the Court Theatre. Additional Chicago credits: Indian Ink (Flora), Dirty Blonde (Mae), Spitfire Grill (Shelby), Annie Get Your Gun (Annie), Miss Saigon (Ellen), Anything Goes (Reno), Cats (Grizabella), Evita (Eva Peron) and Chess (Florence). Recipient of After Dark Awards, Critic's Circle Award, and nine Joseph Jefferson nominations. BFA Stephens College. Proud Mom to Jack and Elliot, happy wife to Dan.
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by David Stern
Directed by Ken Sawyer
Music Direction & Arrangements by Steve Orich
Musical Staging by Karl Christian
Scenic Design Jack Magaw, USA
Costume Design Elizabeth Flauto, USA
Lighting Design Jesse Klug, USA
Projection Design Mike Tutaj
Sound Design Lindsay Jones, USA
Production Dramaturg Kristin Leahey
Production Stage Manager Rita Vreeland, AEA
A married couple (Susie McMonagle and Gene Weygandt) reflects on their relationship history, looking back at their former selves and the individuals that make up their romantic past (all played by Tony Clarno, Nick Cosgrove, Jess Godwin and Megan Long) in this musical scrapbook by Stephen Schwartz.
Photos by Michael Brosilow
Photo GalleryClick on any image to start the slideshow
"This play had something for everyone. Laughter and tears all at the same time. The music was outstanding thanks to the genius of Stephen Schwartz. I especially liked the way they integrated the different music from several plays to connect with this play...outstanding. The actors were marvelous! Especially the two leads...Great to see the Wizard again!! A must see....I will go again!"
"I have been coming to Northlight for over 30 years and I think this was one of the best shows yet."
"Terrific cast. Was totally enjoyable. Wouldn't mind seeing it again."
"We loved the play. Especially touching for long-time marrieds like us. I was watching the audience members at the end. Men were putting their arms around their wives, taking their hands, giving them a kiss. Made ‘em think..."
"Great voices. Moving. I'm planning on seeing this again."
"Great acting, story, music...laughed out loud, teared up at the end. Great start to the season!"
"The show made us laugh and cry and isn't that what a great show should do. We loved it and highly recommend it for a new and 'inspiring' theatrical experience."
"One of the best musicals that I have seen in quite a while. The voices were outstanding and the story was told flawlessly. An enjoyable evening at the theater."
"My husband and I absolutely loved Snapshots! We both cried uncontrollably during the last 15-20 minutes of the show. Bring tissues. We could definitely relate to the characters as we are at the same point in our lives. It gave us hope for a happy future together. It made us appreciate the past that we've shared together. We would highly recommend seeing it."
"We weren't quite sure what to expect when we purchased these tickets. Our rule rules is that if we really don't like a performance, we'll leave at intermission. Wow! Not a chance! We thoroughly enjoyed this performance. The subject matter was excellent and the performances were absolutely outstanding! This was the second show we attended at Northlight and we are seriously considering season tickets."
"One of the best musicals I have seen in years. Perfectly casted with six extremely talented individuals."
"I thought it was a great show. In the week since I saw it I have recommended to everyone I know."
"One of the most enjoyable I have seen in a long time. Technical and staging and cast, exceptional."
"The music was extraordinary."
Gags, gimmicks blur musically gorgeous 'Snapshots'
September 26, 2011
By CHRIS JONES Theatre critic
At one of the key moments in "Snapshots" — the unusual new show at the Northlight Theatre celebrating and re-conceiving the remarkable music of Stephen Schwartz — we watch an older man, whose marriage is in crisis, watching his younger, happier self pace a delivery room. The expectant father is singing "All Good Gifts," originally from "Godspell," and a melody of great beauty.
At that moment, you're struck that the idea behind "Shapshots" (not quite a revue and not quite a full-fledged musical) is a very good one. At the top of "Snapshots," which has a book by David Stern, a middle-aged woman (played by Susie McMonagle) climbs to her attic to get the suitcase that will help her leave her husband (Gene Weygandt). 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. 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.
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. "All Good Gifts" and "Fathers and Sons" (from "Children of Eden") make perfect paternal sense, just as "Magic to Do" or "Corner of the Sky" work with the young and graduating. I was very touched by how the show uses "Meadowlark" as a picture book that sad-eyed McMonagle finds in the attic, her life flown away. And, thanks in no small measure to some truly superb arrangements from Steve Orich, who also musically directs this strong cast, there are some very clever song pairings that work on one level for Schwartz aficionados and another for everyone else: For example, the upbeat "Lion Tamer" from "The Magic Show" leads beautifully into "I'm Not That Girl" from "Wicked," fused with even more self-doubt.
I could go on about many more such inspired musical choices here, most of which are beautifully sung, especially by Long and Clarno. Schwartz's new lyrics, like all of his old lyrics, are wise, direct and generally superb. Read more>
New setting for classic Schwartz songs in 'Snapshots'
September 6, 2011
By MYRNA PETLICKI Contributor
Northlight Theatre Artistic Director BJ Jones has a two-word explanation as to why he chose to open the season with the Chicago premiere of "Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook" — “Stephen Schwartz.”
“Clearly Stephen Schwartz is one of the great musical theater icons,” Jones said, adding rhetorically, “How long has 'Wicked' been on, four or five years? He has consistently been a major player on Broadway as long as I can remember. Arguably he’s as prolific as anyone in the business today.”
Snapshots blends some of Schwartz’s most beautiful songs through a book by David Stern about a couple of newly empty nesters who are reflecting on their life together. It stars Gene Weygandt as Dan and Susie McMonagle as Sue. (Tony Clarno, Nick Cosgrove, Jess Godwin and Megan Long play the characters at different stages of their lives.) Ken Sawyer directs.
Jones said that Schwartz “has taken some of his favorite pieces, stretching over a pretty broad spectrum of work that he has written, and put them into a new context, giving us the opportunity to appreciate anew and — in some cases — discover how really gifted and prolific he is. And it’s such an accessible and relatable story.”
Weygandt described Dan as “a typical American middle-aged husband. I don’t mean that to be denigrating to the character but I think that’s part of the point of it. Everybody comes to a point in their lives when they ask themselves quite seriously, ‘How from where I started did I get to where I am?’ ”
His wife Sue has similar questions. “She’s frustrated in her life. They’ve been married for 20 years,” McMonagle related. “Although they love each other, it’s very easy to drift into complacency.” As in most long-term relationships, there are sometimes miscues in communication.
“I think through stopping to take a real close look at their relationship, she realizes that it’s not just his fault,” McMonagle said. “Relationships are fluid and you have to constantly feed them.”
So often when a book is formed around a collection of existing songs the story seems forced. That’s not the case here, the actors insist.
Weygandt credits David Stern’s “skill as a writer and his enormous love for Stephen’s material. And the other half of the equation is Stephen’s writing. There are precious few writers working these days who have such an enormous ability to cut to the heart of the issue to describe the human heart in such a simple and potent way.”
“I am really excited about this show,” McMonagle said. She noted that prior to auditioning, she knew that "Snapshots" would be musically wonderful because of Schwartz’s writing. “Once I read the book, I thought, ‘This is amazing,’ ” McMonagle said.
The score includes numerous Schwartz tunes, including “All Good Gifts” ("Godspell"), “Fathers and Sons” ("Working"), “Chanson” ("The Baker’s Wife"), “Meadowlark” ("The Baker’s Wife"), and “I’m Not that Girl” ("Wicked").
On the scene
Composer and lyricist Schwartz has been heavily involved in this production, including attending casting sessions and some rehearsals.
Weygandt noted that Schwartz was also in Chicago for his production of "Working" at Broadway Playhouse in February. In addition, Weygandt had a lot of contact with Schwartz during the years he played the Wizard in "Wicked", in Chicago and on Broadway.
“It’s quite remarkable working with Stephen Schwartz,” Weygandt said. “ ‘With’ is the operative word for Stephen. He assumes that everyone in the room is operating at his level. It’s a wonderful way to work when this guy who has had such enormous success and is so enormously talented and prolific treats you as a collaborator.”
“I was extremely nervous to meet him,” McMonagle admitted. That fear dissipated within 30 seconds, she reported. “He’s just people,” she said. “He creates an atmosphere where you feel extremely comfortable.”
Read the review on the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate
Snapshots makes city's top ten lists
The Anticipation Index: Ten shows to buy tickets to now
By CATEY SULLIVAN
"Northlight's cast is also a dazzler, featuring the soulful clarion pipes of Susie McMonagle and the Schwartz specialist Gene Weygandt." Read more>
Top Ten Plays to Watch
September 16, 2011
By CHRIS JONES Tribune Critic
"Stephen Schwartz is having a busy fall. Along with working on the Broadway revival of Godspell, Schwartz is in town this weekend and working with the Northlight Theatre on a newly developed piece called 'Snapshots'...Schwartz's songs from the likes of 'Pippin' and 'The Baker's Wife' provide the backdrop for the new story of a marriage at a crossroads." Read more>
The pick of a promising fall season
September 13, 2011
By CATEY SULLIVAN Contributor
"Assembling the pieces: An A-list cast that includes Broadway vet and Evanstonian Susie McMonagle and former Wizard of Oz (for 'Wicked' of both Broadway and Broadway in Chicago) Gene Weygandt." Read more>
2011 Fall Theater Guide
September 1, 2011
By CHRIS JONES Tribune Critic
"Broadway producers looking for new material will...have to find their way to 'Snapshots'...a show that draws from the music of that phenomenally successful pop composer Stephen Schwartz ('Wicked', 'Godspell', 'Pippin')." Read more>