Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Sue is up in the attic, grabbing the already-packed bag she had stashed up there. She takes out the "goobye dear, I'm leaving" note and sings it to us. Then her husband pops in hours earlier than expected. She uses a box of photos as her excuse for being up there, and the rest is TheatreWorks' production of Snapshots, book by David Stern and music/lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. You know Steven - he wrote the music for Wicked, Pippin, Godspell, Rags, The Baker's Wife, Children of Eden, Working, Captain Louie, The Magic Show and Personals. And guess what? Songs from all of those shows, including some which were cut from them, comprise most of the music for this one.

When I saw that in the program I was sure we had a flop on our hands. I mean, Schwartz is no Irving Berlin - his tunes aren't so stunning that you can build a musical from his rejects. Except you can, sort of. Especially if many of them are mashups. Lion Tamer from The Magic Show mashed into I'm Not That Girl from Wicked. Fathers and Sons from Working mashed together with The Hardest Part of Love from Children of Eden. Some of the tunes are wedged in there, not quite fitting, but most of them work.

The show is all about middle-aged  Sue [Beth DeVries] and her husband Dan [Ray Wills] and the Sue and Dan in the photos. Those are the young adult Susan [Molly Bell] and Daniel [Michael Marcotte], and the high schoolers Susie [Courtney Stokes]  and Danny [Brian Crum]. As Sue and Dan sing about the photos, the other two versions of them are right there, in a tightly scripted tag team match. As the show progresses there is more and more interaction between the three Sues and Dans, and we see the rift between them wiggling a bit.

The show was directed by TheatreWorks founder Robert Kelley, and features a lot of his trademark quick change artistry and snap.

No spoilers, but Danny was a busy young man, and Molly plays a non-Sue girlfriend while Courtney does about five minutes of serial one night stands which is hilarious. Courtney's Susie steals the show - she is far and away the most talented person on that stage, which is amusing to me because she is also the only non-Equity cast member, and a local product who is well known over in the Milpitas area for her leading roles in youth productions with Star Struck Theatre, where her mother, I believe, directs musicals as well. This is her fifth major TW show, and she's living in SoCal going for a degree in (you guessed it) Musical Theater.

Snapshots works, for the most part, and there are a couple of two-hankie moments toward the end. While hindsight says the story line is utterly predictable right to the finale, while you're watching it the little details and jogs, skips and sneezes along the way make it interesting.

Costumes were okay, but nothing to brag about. Lighting was simple and non-invasive. The strobe effect with camera snap audio was used too randomly to make it useful - I wonder if there were more in the script and they were cut, or if the playwright just waffled. Set design by Joe Ragey was his usual superb job. The four-piece band way down in the pit was adequate, not up to what I expect from TW. I found myself missing Lita.

Worth seeing. It runs Tues-Sun through July 13 at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Ticket info is here.
Tags: review, theater

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