Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook
7:30 p.m. today-Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday
1725 N.W. 16th
$40, $30 seniors, $25 students
For better or worse “ largely worse” the “greening” of musical theater began long before anyone was driving a hybrid. Recycling is fine if you are talking about plastics or telephone books, but iffy with musicals.
Lyric’s Plaza Theatre presents “Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook” at the Plaza Theatre, a jukebox musical with arrangements and lyrics mostly recycled from the catalog of Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked”).
“Snapshots” concerns Sue and Dan, a middle-aged, upper-middleclass couple who have reached that point in their lives when they feel more imprisoned by their marriage than anything else. The show is set in the cluttered attic of their suburban home just as Sue is about to surprise Dan by leaving him. An overturned box of old family photographs leads the two to reflect on their lives from childhood to the present.
The score is an odd mixture of the known and the unfamiliar. It’s a little jarring when the cast starts singing a well-known pop tune such as “Day by Day” from “Godspell” or the bouncy “Popular” from “Wicked.” Fine tunes both, but they come across as musical anachronisms. “Corner of the Sky” from “Pippin” becomes an anthem for high-school graduation. Well, yes, “rivers belong where they can ramble, and eagles belong where they can fly” is as good a sentiment as any for people who are growing up and moving on, but in this show, the song has an uneasy familiarity.
Stefanie Morse and Jay Montgomery play the contemporary Sue and Dan, while Michael Marcotte, Kristy Cates, Brian Crum and Sarah Shahinian play the couple in younger incarnations. The characters from different periods of their lives often interact, which is highly effective in illuminating points. The older Sue and Dan sometimes question their younger counterparts and vice versa. “What were you thinking?” the older Dan asks. “You tell me,” the younger Dan replies. We can all relate to that.
With a prosaic story, serviceable but mainly unremarkable songs and unsympathetic characters, “Snapshots” offers the audience little to like. The production is staged effectively by director Richard Maltby and Jr. Luke Cantarella designed the schematic, versatile set.
Looking back over their lives reminds Sue and Dan of opportunities lost. It’s not that they haven’t kept busy; Dan’s 70-hour workweeks paid for the house and all the stuff in it, but they also could have paid for that vacation trip not taken.
“Snapshots” is one of the sadder musicals that you are likely to see any time soon. Even if Sue and Dan give their marriage one more go, one wonders how long it will be until they lapse into their old, imprisoning routines. “Larry Laneer
photo Stephen Schwartz.