“SNOW” is a HIT at Spirit of Broadway

 By Tony Schillaci and Don Church

The Spirit of Broadway Theater in Norwich has a hit in the making with the premiere of the new feel-good musical “SNOW”.

Exceptionally talented writer, composer and lyricist Sean Harley bills his melodic and comedic show as “a musical romance” – while also being very funny and reflecting serious societal themes that are still relevant today.

Set in New York during the ’69 Vietnam war protests, the Stonewall revolution, and the time of ‘free love’ and drugs, this fresh and engaging look at budding romance and friendship, gay and straight, has so many laugh-out-loud moments that the social issues are relieved by laughter without being trivialized.

With the exception of a manipulative folk-singer diva, all of the characters in “SNOW” are real and likeable.

SBT ‘veteran’ Shawn Rucker – one of our favorite actress/singers – plays Jet, a lesbian pot pusher with a foul mouth, a tough swagger, and the proverbial heart of gold – for women, that is. The object of her admiration is Georgia, a college student experiencing her first time away from home and alone in New York, played and sung beautifully by Talisa Friedman. Jet and Georgia are exceptional in the duet “I Like What I See.”
Also enraptured with Georgia is Kyle, a songwriter-singer, who is brought to life by the engaging and silver-voiced Nick Anastasia. He’s at his best in the beginning of the second act singing the beautiful ballad “Home,” which also closes the show.

If things aren’t too confusing by now, add to the mix John Debkowki’s adorable interpretation of Raven, the best friend of Kyle, whose interest goes beyond friendship.
Raven tells of his first inkling of same-gender feelings in the lovely song “Steven Ivy.”
The anthem song of the show is sung by Stephen Scott Wormley who plays a loveable bitch-slapping queen named Milton. Milton leads the ensemble in “Come Out” a rousing and uplifting celebratory number, which closes the first act, and is a patriotic ode to the gay-rights movement.

Another ensemble song “Kansas” is a clever tribute to “The Wizard of Oz.”
Composer/lyricist Sean Hartley has cleverly taken the recognizable Harold Arlen classic tunes and Yip Harburg’s words and re-invented them to fit the coming-out and being true- to- you theme of “SNOW.”

Although chock-full of timely subjects, from drug use to abortion to discrimination and police brutality, nothing in the show is preachy or dark. The light hand of the triple threat writer/lyricist/composer gently pens the issues with grace, humor and style, and the songs are full of lovely melody and harmony.

One minor adjustment could be made in the staging of “The Snows of Malibu” which was a trifle over-the-top ‘carnival in Venice’ attempt to suggest the mind-altering effects of cocaine use. A more subtle hand in both choreography and costuming here would serve the rest of the production well.

Yet make no mistake; if you miss a hit of “SNOW” this go-around at the Spirit of Broadway, you will be paying, sometime in the not too distant future, $147 a seat to see this soon- to- be Best Musical in New York, or Boston, or London. So, come out, come out, wherever you are.

If you go...

WHAT: “SNOW”
WHEN: Through June 5 WHERE: Spirit of Broadway Theater, 24 Chestnut St, Norwich, CT
TICKET PRICES: $21 Group Rate (10 or more), $30 individual
BY PHONE: 860-886-2378 ONLINE: www.spiritofbroadway.org
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