Ridgefield’s ACT of CT Earns Grammy Nomination for Best Musical Theater Album

Daniel C. Levine, artistic director and co-founder of ACT, has decided to turn February’s main production of Stephen Schwartz’s “Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook” into a filmed film, then share the film as an event streaming with the ACT audience. And since there was no “Snapshots” cast album, ACT of CT decided to record one.

Both ideas paid off. The cast album, which is distributed by Broadway Records, was just nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album of 2021. And the film was so well received that it was bought by the streaming service Broadway HD and will be available as an on-demand live stream for the next seven years starting this month.

The ACT of CT filmed production of “Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook” will be available on Broadway HD in late December.

Courtesy of ACT of CT

“As Artistic Director of ACT, I’m committed to doing new work and doing unexpected things every season, like making a movie this year,” Levine said. “I knew we had to keep engaging our audience. If we stayed in the dark for that long, I wasn’t sure we would be able to reopen. »

Halfway through filming the project, Levine came up with the idea of ​​making a cast album of the “Snapshots” production. “We’ve turned the ACT stage into a COVID-secured makeshift recording studio,” he said. “We adjusted our filming schedule so we could get the actors into the room to do the album. We were miraculously able to complete the recording in just two days.

The Grammy nomination and film distribution deal are firsts for the fledgling theater which has received rave reviews for its award-winning productions since opening in the summer of 2018. Much of the company’s remarkable success is due to its production team, which also includes ACT’s resident music supervisor, Bryan Perri, who is one of the producers on ACT’s Grammy-nominated album. Perri is currently musical director and bandleader of Alanis Morissett’s Broadway show Jagged Little Pill, and his many Broadway credits include working as musical director for Stephen Schwartz’s long-running musical Wicked. “.

To launch “Snapshots,” which features more than two dozen Schwartz songs from his hit and award-winning musicals, including “Wicked,” “Pippin,” “Godspell” and “Enchanted,” Perri and Levine brought the best talent to play in the ensemble piece.

“A lot of the actors that are in Snapshots were people Dan and I worked with, and some people were actors I worked with in the past,” Perry said. “One is currently in ‘Jagged Little Pill.’ Another was an Elphaba in “Wicked.” These were all people we knew would deliver something really, really special, and more than anything, deliver honest human performances.

For Levine, the production offered its own set of challenges. The story takes place in the attic of a suburban house, so he asked a friend in town, Allison Stockell, executive director of the Ridgefield Playhouse, if he could use hers. “She has a nice house in Ridgefield, and I said, ‘Can I borrow your house for four weeks?'” he said humorously.

She agreed, and Levine hired a film production company, while he was filming in the attic turned movie studio. For the cast album, Levine made sure Schwartz, who is on ACT’s artistic advisory board and has worked with ACT on other productions, gives his blessing.

“Stephen said, ‘I don’t know how you’re going to do it during COVID,’ Levine said. “‘But, if you want to do a cast album of this show, I’m happy to support it and help you produce it.'”

Perry is pleased that ACT’s accomplishments can benefit the city and region. “We’re trying to keep adding to what is already a really vibrant and exciting arts community. We hope that everything we do will continue to bring attention to this great community. The support and love we have received from so many people from different walks of life, all over the community and across the region, is a big part of why we are able to do anything.

He also sees staff as essential to the continued success of ACT. “For everyone who helps us around theater, there’s so much passion,” he said. “Everyone is so driven, everyone loves creating art. Theaters don’t just happen.

The Grammy Awards will take place on Monday, January 31, 2022.