Although “Snapshots” might not be a musical everyone recognizes by name, fans of theater ought to recognize the show’s musical arrangements.
Don’t panic when you hear the overture from “Pippin” or a song from “Wicked.” No, you haven’t stumbled into the wrong production. In fact, all of the tunes in Lamb Arts Regional Theatre’s latest musical all have one thing in common.
“The music that people will be hearing is going to be really familiar because it’s from one of Broadway’s greatest lyricists and composers: Stephen Schwartz,” said director Donny Short.
Mixed and mashed from the composer’s acclaimed repertoire of work, “Snapshots” intertwines Schwartz’s music with an original story about a couple revisiting their lives through photographs. Lamb’s own Diana Guhin Wooley and Russ Wooley play the lead roles at their present age; actors Josie Kasik, Travis Metzger, Emily Hageman and Ian Curtis play younger versions of the lead characters.
The Weekender spoke to Short about Lamb’s latest production:
I’ve never heard of “Snapshots” before. Can you tell me what the story is like?
Short: No one’s really heard of it because it’s brand new. The rights for the show just became available. The show opens up with a wife going into the attic space of the house she lives. Her son has just gone off to college and essentially the very first scene is set up that she’s written a Dear John letter and she’s leaving. The husband unexpectedly comes home, so she’s not ready for the confrontation. While she’s hustling and bustling to kind of hide the suitcase she had hidden in the attic, she knocks over a box of photographs of their past. He asks her what she was doing in the attic, and she says she was going through old photos. So they start to go through these photos of their relationship from start to finish.
So are you just the director of this musical?
Short: Actually I’m the director, the music director, the choreographer and the digital music technician. I’ve been doing that for the last 15 years for them. The spring musical is usually the one I’m directing; it always lands on my plate. Last summer was “Pippin.”
What’s it like to go from a big Schwartz show like ‘Pippin’ to something a little smaller like ‘Snapshots?’
Short: It’s interesting going from a big ensemble show to a show with just six people. It’s a different mindset. Last summer I had all these different people and had to think where I was going to put them all onstage, whereas now I have six people and need to fill the stage with characters but also think about [placement of characters]. When it’s only six people and they’re playing all these different characters, they have to change their costumers, they have to change their voice, they have to change their body styling – there’s a lot of thought. It seems like less work because it’s less people, but it’s not. It’s just less people doing more stuff.
What do you want people to take away from seeing this musical?
Short: What is great about this musical is that it is such a heartwarming story. It’s really just about these relationships that we’ve built around our lives. We were talking last night about how… if you would use your photo albums or if you think about your photos stored on Facebook – you use photos to remind you of what is good about the people that are in your life. I want them to take away this idea that our lives our told through pictures. When you look at these pictures, they’re always happy memories. That’s why we take pictures. It’s so we can remember all these good times.