Michael responds to questions about Snow Queen
Questions from Time Out Chicago, November 2006
michael smith here
snow queen at victory gardens
- plot: a little girl's best friend is kidnapped by a frozen woman in a flying sleigh and the little girl sets out alone to the far north to rescue him.
- ages: i wanted this musical to be something i could imagine mr. andersen liking (what age do you think of him as being?), and to entertain myself, not only to please my 65-year-old self with chords and rhythms and making a mood with songs and having a good time making them up but the 10-year-old who was just crazy about the story of the snow queen. with the songs i did for this show i wanted to please that particular 10-year-old who of course introduced me to the snow queen. he's the only little kid that i know anything about. and though most of the time my eyes glaze over to try to say who this is for, i do think bright10-year-olds on up to bright early 100's could get into this, but i wrote it really for me, wanting to show people the story in an emotional way.
- running time: first act is a little under an hour...there will be an intermission... second act's not as long as the first.
- theme,moral: enjoy life, and be glad for your friends. and aren't songs in minor keys more fun?
- what's in it for uncles/parents: cool adults will like it...(the emperor's new musical). really it's hans christian andersen and this guy was the best at what he did. i don't know why he's so good. i tried not to mess with that story, i can't tell you how much i believe in that story. people who know the story will say "he didn't mess with it much". people who like my songs will go "oh, it's just like him". some people will go "what was all that about? i hate fairy tales. i don't know why i came. and those songs, don't get me started." my sister pat will say:"i love that music'.
- bells and whistles, oh wow moments; since i get to do this play with mr. andersen's story and this band and these actors and frank galati and victory gardens...i believe i spontaneously combust in the second act.
- why not christmas carol or nutcracker instead: mr andersen and mr dickens were friends. mr. andersen visited at mr dickens' house, and way (evidently) too long. i'm sure they always wished each other well at christmas, and i bet they both were as crazy about tchaikovski as i am. if mr andersen, mr dickens, and mr tchaikovski were over at my house for egg nog on christmas eve i'd be the one doing the listening, you know what i mean? and my sister kate would be going "play them something of yours".