Although the writing process was crunched into the span of just a few months, the conception of CHALK: The Musical seems many years in the making. Zach Snow initially pursued a teaching career with the hope of having the flexibility to continue theatrical endeavors. However, because of the demanding nature of the profession, teaching consumed him almost entirely for the first few years. After seven years of teaching (full of many highs and a decreasing number of lows), Snow returned to theatre and connected his two passions of education and drama by writing a play about teaching, teaming up in the spring of 2006 with friends and fellow teachers Todd Nocera and Elia Chesnoff, along with former student Jeff Lebovici. Snow and lifelong friend and creative collaborator Chesnoff defined characters, themes, plotline, and ideas for songs, as they reminisced about their respective first years of teaching. Meanwhile, Nocera and Snow worked together to define the musical arc of the play, co-writing the initial song "Why Do We Bother?". During their summer break, Snow and Chesnoff drafted the libretto and lyrics, with assistance from Lebovici, while Nocera composed the score with Snow. All four writers reworked lyrics and finalized the script in the fall of 2006.
Snow recently directed students and faculty in Kopit’s Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad (his first collaboration with Todd Nocera, who composed an original score for the production) and played Bertram Cates (i.e., Scopes) in the Footlight Club production of Inherit the Wind. At Duke University, Snow served as artistic director of the Wendell Theatre Company, where he directed Eric Overmyer’s On the Verge, played Matt in The Fantasticks, and portrayed the bellboy-turned-murderer, Dan, in Emlyn Williams’ psychological thriller Night Must Fall. Snow met Chesnoff at New World School of the Arts in Miami, where they studied theatre. He has taught high school biology for seven years, the past five at Newton North High School.
Nocera holds a masters degree in music composition from Tufts University and works professionally as a composer and pianist. He has written original scores for theatrical productions of Kopit’s Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad (his first collaboration with director Zach Snow) and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and The Merry Wives of Windsor. He taught high school physics for eleven years, the last six at Newton North High School. Nocera recently left teaching to pursue a freelance career. He composes music for film, videogames, web, and advertising, working with such clients as Cartoon Network, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Subaru. Learn more about Nocera and his music at toddnocera.com.
Chesnoff befriended Snow at New World School of the Arts, where he wrote The Grief of the Thief (in which Snow played the leading role). He holds degrees in English and Education and taught high school English for three years in Miami. Chesnoff currently works as a writer and professional magician and his recently published Fell’s Official Know-it-all Guide to Advanced Magic is available at major bookstores nationwide. Chesnoff performs under the stage name Ilan and can be seen throughout South Florida.
Lebovici debuted in Theatre Ink's 2004 production of Freshman Cabaret. He has since appeared in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest as Ruckley, Babel's in Arms as the Eunuch, and Enter Laughing as Roger Firestein. Lebovici is President and Co-founder of Newton North's Creative Writing Club. Currently a senior at Newton North High School, he will be attending Cornell University next fall.