Meet The Three Men Behind The Scenes Of The World Premiere Musical MR. CONFIDENTIAL

Experience all the talent, pizazz and excitement of an authentic Broadway show from the very beginning!

By: Mar. 20, 2023
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Actors Theatre of Indiana is giving you a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a future Broadway show right here in Carmel with "Broadway in your Backyard"! Mr. Confidential - a story of family, dreams, innocence, love and scandal makes its World Premiere right here at The Studio Theatre from April 28 to May 14 at The Center for the Performing Arts. Experience all the talent, pizazz and excitement of an authentic Broadway show from the very beginning!

This is an incredible experience in itself, but when you realize the amazing three men who are behind the scenes: Samuel Garza Bernstein, book and lyrics and director, David Snyder, music and orchestrations and Willem De Vries, choreographer, you will simply be blown away. The three men bring the glitz and glamour of two of our nation's most legendary cities - LA and New York - right here to Central Indiana.

When Bob Harrison created Confidential Magazine in 1952, he gave the public gossip, humor and sex. But he also offered something totally unexpected - the truth about the rich and famous. It quickly became the #1 selling magazine in America. Soon, Bob wasn't just telling the story, he was the story, with headlines, scandals and a wild ride of his own. A giddy, vibrant tale set in New York and Hollywood at their most glamourous and dangerous.

Garza Bernstein published the book Mr. Confidential in 2006. The musical itself has been in the making since 2009.

"Sex, scandal and sensationalism. Libel suits and humiliations. Idols with feet of clay. Think it's anything new? Not at all. Slip into the compulsively lurid and exhaustively researched pages of Mr. Confidential which tells the tale of publisher Robert Harrison and his magazine, Confidential. That forerunner of celebrity dirt quite literally changed the face of entertainment journalism.

It reads like a house afire in a sultry swamp. Nobody did 'down and dirty' like Mr. Harrison and today's beleaguered stars, politicians and others owe him a sock in the jaw. An illuminating, fun read!" said Liz Smith, gossip columnist and entertainment editor for the magazines Cosmopolitan and Sports Illustrated.

So how did Garza Bernstein capture so accurately this sensational chapter in history? He lived it! Garza Bernstein actually knew the people who were featured in Robert Harrison's gossip magazine - including Marjorie Meade, the 'Duchess of Dirt,' and also Bob Harrison's niece.

"I was in the Confidential magazine world for 20 years. I knew some of the people this musical is about. I've taken people I knew and made them into characters." He recognized the impact Confidential made, and now presents it in the form of a musical.

"Six million fans were reading these stories. Social issues were changing. These people were larger than life - that's the way they chose to live. They were gorgeous, famous - of course they misbehaved!"

Garza Bernstein reflected on the impact of the magazine on its subjects and the representation of the magazine in the musical. "When they hear Mr. Confidential, people think LA Confidential, the movie. It's not. It's fun. It's not particularly ugly or dark. As for Bob Harrison's publication, people said careers were ruined. I ask, what happened to these people? Whose career was ruined? Their popularity actually went up!"

Garza Bernstein highlighted the Kardashians as a modern day example. One of them calls the press, but doesn't necessarily tell the others. The others are, or act, surprised and appalled that the media is present - they get attention. They argue against what the press says about them - they get attention. They threaten to sue - they get attention. This circle goes on and on, but they are never out of the limelight.

The play is set in the 50's but reflects on what our connection is now. What is glamorous? What are we willing to give up to 'have it all'?

Garza Bernstein met Snyder while both were living in Los Angeles. Both had started their respective careers and professional personas at a young age. At 11 years old, Garza Berstein was already in show business. Snyder was playing the albums in his parent's collection - Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme - and developing a love for that kind of music.

"Sam had already made a name for himself as a screen writer. He had done a movie with Bernadette Peters. Then he presented to me the book that he'd written - Mr. Confidential. You cheer on your friends, right? So, I read it - and I couldn't put it down! Not only was the content fun, but he wrote in the style of the period. The vernacular of the book was so fascinating."

Then Garza Bernstein shared with Snyder that he thought this would make a great musical.

"Being a huge Sinatra fan and loving swing music of the 50's, I could easily visualize writing the score for it," said Snyder. "I grew up wishing I'd been born 40 years earlier. I dreamed of arranging for artists like Sinatra, so I felt the music for Mr. Confidential was totally in my wheelhouse."

Garza Bernstein wrote the lyrics, Snyder the compositions, for the 20 original songs comprising the Mr. Confidential score. Snyder was surprised at how easily the tunes came.

"In composing, I followed a process with an eye toward creating dimensional characters and telling this exciting story - working alongside Sam to give the show a real heart. Something about the lyrics made it easy. It was a joy to write the tunes."

Snyder has done music direction for theatre and for Tony winning solo artists, among others, spending 20 years in LA and another 12 in New York. He's performed at Carnegie Hall, worked with the Boston Pops, and the New York Pops, but he still is very humble when examining his work.

"You watch a Broadway show that's really successful and it looks so effortless, but the process of writing one yourself is incredibly challenging. This has been an interesting journey to a full production." He went on, "You are constantly's thrilling but daunting at the same time. You think it's good. You hope people like it. But you're putting it out there for the world..."

Snyder moved to Indiana from New York in 2014 to take a job with Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne. He is looking forward to being able to assist with the premiere production here in his new home state, completing custom orchestrations for ATI and for the seven players performing the music.

Snyder explained that in many ways this is a classic musical - like the great Golden Age Broadway shows. "We feel this is exactly the kind of show that will appeal to the people of Carmel. There is a vintage quality to it, but it's also fresh and fun."

Willem de Vries is the choreographer for Mr. Confidential. He is a choreographer, teacher, and Champion Ballroom Dancer whose work has been seen on television, film and on theatrical stages worldwide. He was featured on So You Think You Can Dance, was the choreographer for Season 1 of Shonda Rhimes' ABC show The Catch, appeared on Season 3 of Kevin Hart's show What the Fit and has worked on the Dance/Choreography side of animated feature films including DreamWorks' Puss in Boots, Madagascar 3 and the 2019 animated feature The Addams Family.

He is a Los Angeles Ovation Award nominee for his work in the Ovation Award-Winning show Fascinating Rhythms starring Melissa Manchester at the Rubicon Theatre and he has worked extensively over the years as a guest performer, instructor, and guest choreographer with Disney Cruise Lines.

Willem also has direct experience in the world of celebrity gossip that Confidential Magazine helped create: He was part of the original team that launched As the sole founding member based on the East Coast, he served as Reporter/Producer and as one of the only two original camera operators in the company, and he worked with TMZ through the launch of the hit TV show TMZ on TV, growing its New York office until, after three years, he left to make his return to dance full time.

Mr. Confidential, this world premiere musical, will provide a fantastic opportunity to see the creative accomplishments of three legends in their own right as they help to bring this production to life. To reserve your tickets for the show, visit or call The Center for the Performing Arts at (317) 843-3800.

Actors Theatre of Indiana was co-founded in 2005 by Cynthia Collins, Don Farrell and Judy Fitzgerald with a mission to celebrate the power of theatre and contribute to the quality of life in central Indiana by offering high quality professional theatre performances and programs that engage, inspire, educate and entertain. An award-winning Equity Professional Theatre company, Actors Theatre of Indiana is the resident professional theatre company of The Studio Theater at The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana, now in their 18th season of high-powered theatrical productions, world premieres and innovative community works.


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