snowflake logo

Book, Music & Lyrics by Steven David Horwich
adapted from the short story of the same name, from the short story collection, Oy Humbug Too, by Steven David Horwich

INFO:
Cast Size: Male: 3  Female: 2  Ensemble: 2 m – 2 fm    Total Cast Size: 8 (You can grow the ensemble as you wish)
Orchestra: Flexible, 4-20.  best size about 14-18.
Published Script: Available Upon Request.
Production Rights: If interested, contact us using our contact page, please.
Recording: Fully orchestrated demo of complete score pro cast vocals, available below, approx 85 minutes.
Other shows by the author: And The River Flows, Loveplay, 4 Lives In Two Acts, The Kingdom That Was, Sea Gulls, The Wheel Turns  Collaborative: From Afar, Eden, Little Tramp, The Third Wish, Beautiful Poison

WHO SHOULD DO THIS SHOW:
A small sized show that can easily fill a larger space.  Can be done by a professional venue (Broadway, West End), colleges, regional theaters, and some little theaters. Professionally and tightly written.  Requires a capable cast for the acting and singing, a theater that can handle interesting lighting and (ideally but not required) multi-media.  Little or no dance.  Also, this is a show about ACTUAL family values, about what makes a family, and why family is important.  If that’s not your thing, don’t do this show.

THE STORY:
ACT ONE:  Scene One: 1956, a small attic room in a Boston house.  There, a few days before Christmas, a new father,. Timothy O’Hara, records a message to his new-born daughter, Christie. (“First Recording”)  He will do this every year on her birthday, until he dies.  He is the proud father, and feels his wife, Molly,. who is not physically strong, came through like a champion.  Together, they record a welcome to the world.  Lights.

Scene Two: (“Second Recording”)  Three years later, and Molly has passed away, leaving Tim a single dad.  He explains to his three year-old daughter in this recording what happens “When You Get Older”.  Christie intrudes, and Tim invites her to record something that Mommy will hear in Heaven.  Happily, she sings and dances for her parents. (“Dance For Daddy”)   She wants to grow up like her father, she loves the Red Sox like him (though they never win).   She heads downstairs to try on a dress her mother made her before passing away.

Scene Three: Seven year-old Christie is making a tape for Mommy on her birthday, though she doesn’t think much of the ritual or the old recorder. (“Third Recording”)   She announces “I Hate School”, offering a litany of the things about it she hates.  (Tim has sent her to a Catholic school.)  She let’s her dad know she’s having a birthday party (with the nanny’s help), and her three friends pour into the small attic.  They hate school, too.  One is a boy, their neighbor, Frankie.  Tim sends her friends downstairs to party, and has a talk with his daughter about how there are things to learn in everything in life, especially in people, since no two are alike. (“Snowflake”)  She does not at first believe snowflakes are all unique, so since its snowing, Tim opens the small attic window and shows her.  She’s enchanted, momentarily forgetting the party.

Scene Four: Tim is putting the machine away moments later, when Christie storms back in.  Party over, she has more to say.  She is unhappy with her presents, and let’s her father know there’s been a “Dropped Ball”, comparing both Tim and Santa to the Red Sox.  (Her birthday is days away from Xmas, so she usually gets one set of presents, an unsatisfactory arrangement.)   What she really wants is a wonderful future, something that can’t be gift-wrapped.

Scene Five: Christie records alone, age 17 now. (Fourth Recording)  She just makes the tape because her dad wants her to, and sees little value in it.  She’s almost done with school. (“I Hate School” rep.)   Bemoans another lousy Sox year. (“Dropped Ball” reprise)  Lets the tape know, if not her dad, that she went out with Frankie (jerk tried to kiss her, she slugged him), and likes Frankie’s brother, Joey.  She’s also worried her father is working too hard.  She is ready to start living her life, though she’s not sure what she wants to be. It all waits for her “Outside That Window”.  Later, her father having heard what Christie says about her future, he makes his own wishes for her.  (“Outside That Window reprise)

Scene Six: Christie records “Fifth Recording”, age 22.  Her father has died, but she records new tapes for him, anyway, in an effort to keep him in her life.  She is excited because she has fallen now for Joey, asking for Tim’s blessing from Heaven.

Scene Seven: In the “Sixth Recording”, Christie is two year’s older, age 24.  She’s had a string of jobs she hated, and is living in the house Tim left her, rather than selling it.  But she has opened a flower shop, and amongst “Life’s Small Surprises”, Joey turned out to be a criminal, went to jail, and she fell for Frankie, who helped her open the shop.  She married him, and hopes her parents approve.  She dreams of having children with Frankie.

Scene Eight: In a “Seventh Recording”, Christie, age 30, lets her dad know the Sox stink, the flower shops are doing well (she owns several), and Frankie and she can’t have children.  It seems to her that when she was young, there were more options, and more hope. (“When You Get Older” reprise)  She thinks about listening, one day, to all the old tapes.

Scene Nine: In the “Eighth Recording”, age 38, Christie let’s her parents know that “Life’s Small Surprises reprise) are filled with disappointment.  The Sox never get to the World Series, and Frankie has left her.  She sees no way she will ever give Tim and Molly a grandchild, and is miserable.  She thinks about not making any more recordings.

ACT TWO: Scene One:  A new tape,  the “Ninth Recording”.  (Same old machine by the way.)  Three years have passed, and Christie has married again…a Jewish man. “Schmedeckie!”  He’s a democrat and a Sox fan, and successful, and he adores her, so she believes her father would approve.  They make the tape together, and they are indeed successful.  At everything.  A baby is on the way, and they make plans for him or her.  “A Wonder For The Ages”.

Scene Two: She’s 47 as she makes “Tenth Recording”.  She’s lived to an age neither of her parents made it, and misses them.  Her husband enters with a school report on their son, Timothy.  The school ha decided, to his parents disgust, that the boy has “No Aptitude” in anything.   They decide to homeschool, and make sure their son has a chance at life, much as her father did for Christie.

Scene Three: A new room!  Christie is 64, as she makes the “Eleventh Recording”.  She’s amazed the machine was able to be repaired and works.  She has cancer, and needs to connect up to her past – so she’s listened all the old recordings.  And now, in the “Bottom Of The Ninth”, these old recordings provide her a sense of family, of belonging.  She promises to try to make a tape next year.

Scene Four: A young man is recording.  It is Timothy Schmedeckie, the grown son.  He records because his mother asked him to.  He has heard the tapes now, too, and is surprised to discover his grandfather.  He lets them know in the recording that Christie has died.  But they were right, so long ago, all people are unique, snowflakes, existing for a while in splendor.  He himself, thanks to his parent’s diligence, became a scientist, and has broken through with a discovery which will help mankind to the stars.  He knows his mom would like to know, so he records, just in case there is a Heaven, and his family may be listening. (“Finale”)

THE SONGS: “The Recordings”; “When You Get Older”; “Dance For Daddy”; “I Hate School”; “Snowflake”; “Dropped Ball”; “Outside That Window”; “The People I Will Love”; “Life’s Small Surprises”; “Schmedeckie!”; “A Wonder For The Ages”; “No Aptitude”; “Bottom Of The Ninth”.

BELOW IS THE ENTIRE DEMO, about 80 minutes.  Note – There is no cue 4, it’s incidental music.  The demo features Kelly Meyersfield (Christie); Kurt Andrew Hansen (Tim); Amanda Walter (Molly); Jessica Sterling (Girls), and Steven Horwich (yes me, sorry, as Schemedeckie, and young Tim).  (They are all wonderful, except that last guy.)  All orchestration are by me.

Act One (Note – 3 cues have been cut from Act One, based on the professional readings done of the show in September 2018.)

1 First Recording
2 Second Recording

3 When You Get Older
5 Dance For Daddy
6 Third Recording

7 I Hate School
8 Snowflake
9 Dropped Ball

11 Fourth Recording

12 I Hate School reprise
13 Dropped Ball reprise
15 Outside That Window
15b Outside That Window Tim
16 Fifth Recording

18 Outside That Window reprise
19 Sixth Recording
20 Life’s Small Surprises
21 Seventh Recording
22 When You Get Older reprise
23 Eighth Recording
24 Life’s Small Surprises reprise
25 Act I Finale

Act Two

26 Ninth Recording
27 Schmedeckie
28 A Wonder For The Ages
29 Tenth Recording
30 No Aptitude
31 Eleventh Recording
32 Bottom Of The 9th
33-34 Final Recording/Finale


MY OPINIONS:
I don’t offer opinions of my own shows.

MY RATING:
I don’t rate original shows.

PRODUCTION CONCERNS AND IDEAS:

DIFFICULTY OF MUSIC:

Requires a highly capable, experienced Musical Director.  The music (there’s A LOT of it) is often not typical of musical theater as it has been done, but a hybrid of sorts, borrowing classical elements.  It is difficult.  Your M.D. should be VERY good with vocal technique, his leads sing an enormous amount of material and they’ll need help to survive the show vocally.  The songs are rangy, dynamic, and challenging, and mostly sung by three actors.  The music will take time to learn, there’s not much resembling your standard eight bar verse, etc.  Plan on extended time for the three leads to pick up the score.

Christie is a soprano with a very strong belt, as well.  Rangy emotionally as well as vocally, and she ages from three to her sixties, the voice must be extraordinarily expressive and capable.  A vocal and acting tour de force.  Without A Christie (and a Tim and Schmedeckie) who can really sing the role, you should not do this show.  A trained voice and trained musician, if at all possible, given how much she must learn and do.

Tim is a lyric baritone, or baritone with some good high notes.  Irish accent throughout, slight but discernible.  Warmth in the voice, and some humor and power, are required.  Must be a voice you instantly like and root for.

Schmedeckie is a low tenor or lyric baritone, pretty Jewish, likable, a sweet and even lovable voice.  Strong actor more needed than strong singer, but the voice needs to be minimally pleasant and good for duets.

Frankie (doubles in ensemble) is a lyric baritone or tenor, clean high notes, strong character actor.

Molly (doubles in ensemble) is a mezzo alto, must sing well, clean voice, youthful, must do good Irish accent.

Ensemble are one-two women, two men (or more).  Spread the ranges around.  All should belt.

DIFFICULTY OF DANCE, CHOREOGRAPHIC CONCERNS:

There is very little dance in this show, and it would largely be carried by ensemble, who should move decently well.  There is movement, you always want people who move fairly well for a musical, but really, not much.  An easy choreographic score for a director with some ability to stage musical numbers, and this show requires strong integration of elements, so it would be best to not use a choreographer, if possible.

CASTING CONCERNS:

Your three leads are your show.  Period.  If you don’t get the right actors for Christie, Tim and Schmedeckie, don’t do the show.  That said, you will probably find the two men without much of a headache.  Christie, on the other hand, is another story.

Christie must play ages 3-mid-sixties and dying.  She must be a very strong and rangy actor, and a remarkable singer.  She must by likable.  She must play light comedy (self-deprecating) and drama equally well.  This is a HUGE role, so it would be best if memorization doesn’t scare your actress.  Also, it would be best if she reads music, as she has so much to learn, and it’s difficult.  She is the bulk of the show, and probably you should not do this show unless you already have the actress.  Probably age 25-45, somewhere in there.

Tim plays a young father to a worn out man in his forties, near death.  Irish accent, strong voice, likable actor a must.   Fatherly, charming, sweet-natured, wise in his way.  Plays comedy and drama equally well.   Ages 30-50, depending on how they play.

Schmedeckie is in his late 30s-40s.  Funny, pretty Jewish a must.  Lovable, plays earnest and dedicated and self-deprecating well.  Emphasis on light comic play.  Decent voice a must, sings duets well.

Frankie is in the ensemble, must play ages seven into his late twenties.  A bit of a pig at every age.  Get a decent actor who can sing fairly well.  We need to understand why she falls for him, so there must be something charming and manly about him.

Molly is in the ensemble, a young and attractive Irish-ish woman, actress should be in her 20s-30s.  Must sing well, do Irish accent well, be immediately likable even when lovingly berating her young husband.

Ensemble needs a few actors mostly to sing, and to play young kids.  Cast in their 20s-30s, should move well, sing very well, do a little acting.

SETS:

There are basically two sets, and they are simple and inexpensive.  The attic where almost the entire show happens is a small room with a pointed ceiling and a large-ish window facing the audience.  The walls are a cyclorama, which will be employed to show the room changing from scene to scene.  The floor space should be mostly open for the play to take place.  The space should not be “realistic” necessarily, but it can be.  Should feel like it was built in Boston in the 1930s or so.  Homey.

The second space is flatter, perhaps larger, simpler, more contemporary.  No projections need occur.

COSTUMES:

The show parades through the history of the second half of the twentieth century, and in a SIMPLE and unobtrusive manner, the costuming should reflect this.  Wigs will help, as well.  Clothes are not theatrical, except for maybe when Christie is very young.  Not really a creative challenge, more of a historical essay.  Changes must be executed VERY fast back stage, in about 10-15 seconds, figure.  Keep these simple, over a unit costume for Act I, perhaps.  A vest on, then off, a sweater, it’s winter each time.  Scarves, anything to indicate a change in time.  You can provide her a second unit costume to dress over, for Act Two. Should be inexpensive and easy to do.  Consider having Christie wear something like a scarf over an apparently shaved or bald head in her last scene, from cancer treatments, it will be simple and shocking.

PROPS:

There aren’t many.  The all-important focus of the show, the old reel-to-reel recorder and attached mic are CRITICAL, must be believable, the machine must be seen to work!   The stuff in the attic is sometimes real, but more often is projected as part of an image onto the cyclorama.  Because of the nature of the show, there are not a lot of props.  That said, get creative!  Dress up the weddings with veils and flowers and confetti or rice.  The show can use the color, and some props.  Not a hard job.

LIGHTING:

As there are few set changes, and the sets are very simple, the lighting must indicate more than mood, it must isolate areas for “events” in the show, and act in a narrative fashion.  You’ll need a flexible, interesting lighting plot and a very capable, experienced lighting designer.  There won’t be a lot to “look at” in the piece, except for the actress aging.  Lighting must be creative, supple.  In Christie’s final scene, you may want to half-light her.  She’s living in a new place, it’s a new room, the lighting should definitely change, and lighting her with shadows (not too many) could help the audience believe she’s aged 20 years.  Coordinate with make-up, costumes, the director and actress for this important change.

MAKE-UP:

The actress must be made to age rather quickly.  This will need to be carefully designed and executed, very quickly back stage each night during the show.  Wigs will help.  Her aging need not be entirely “realistic”, either.  It is a tour de force for the actress, let the acting do as much work as possible.  The one real jump to be planned is for Christie’s last scene, up to that, probably little or no change in make-up is needed, but there she ages some 20 years, and has cancer.  You don’t want the orchestra to play, or a lot of dead space, but a little may be needed – as little as possible.  This one change must be as convincing as you can get it to be.  Remember, she’s not THAT old, not “ancient” or “wizened” or “jowly”.  She is sick.  This change is the one that must convince, along with what the actor does, and lighting.

KEY PERSONNEL:

Director, Musical Director, Lighting Designer, Christie, Tim, Schmedeckie.

MY THOUGHTS:

This is a small, highly intimate, romantic show that deals strongly in actual “family values”, not the garbage politicians wave around like candy.  It is about the joy and pain of family.  It should be directed and performed with a sense of humor, that is critical to the show’s success.   The humor, however, comes out of characters and situations, not “schtick”.  This isn’t really a “musical comedy”,  it’s closer to a musical play, and the elements are closely integrated, and need to remain so in production.  I think there are not many shows today that offer a woman as strong a lead role as this one, something to consider if you’re looking for such a show.   This show should emotionally move anyone who believes in family, came from a family, is part of a family.  That would be, well, everyone, if done right.  It is meant to comment against the marginalization of family today.  That is the message at its heart, and that viewpoint should be front and center in a director and producer’s efforts to mount the show.  A very small musical with low budgetary demands, but with big emotions.  I would think almost any company with an actress and director up to the challenge could make a go at it with success.