What is “adulting”? Find out in Closer Than Ever, an off-Broadway hit musical revue that is in its final performances at Gateway Theatre this week.
A collaboration between New York stage vets Richard Maltby, Jr. (lyricist) and David Shire (composer), Closer Than Ever is a satirical two-act musical that takes a satirical look at what it calls adulting – adult behaviour like sexcapades, one-way love affairs, life crises, multiple mis-marriages, parent-child role reversal, and growing old(er).
For the revue, the collaborators drew on the experiences of their real-life friends. For the Gateway Theatre production, the cast includes seasoned performers like Danny Balkwill (Mamma Mia!, North American premiere cast), Ma-Anne Dionisio (“Kim” in the original Toronto production of Miss Saigon), and Caitriona Murphy (Les Misérables).
Closer Than Ever won the 1989 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical. Raves include the New York Times’ Stephen Holden, who said that “The songs of Maltby and Shire communicate something rarely found in theatre music nowadays: a rich sweeping sense of lives being lived and people changing over time.” The Associated Press’s Michael Kuchwara called its score one of the finest of the year, saying that “Closer Than Ever is an exhilarating musical revue.” Time Out London said that it was “An evening of witty songs on the muddle of middle-age relationships.”
Of the Gateway Theatre production, the Georgia Straight’s Colin Thomas wrote: “But, man, this cast is talented—and two of the featured performers I’ve never seen before. Kevin Aichele has such a big, lyrical, Broadway voice that you kind of want to hear him sing ‘Oklahoma!’. And Ma-Anne Dionisio is a tiny, powerhouse soprano who shapes her songs beautifully. Chris D King’s voice isn’t as flashy, but he is more than up to this musically tricky material. And Caitriona Murphy brings a winning combination of strong singing and fearless acting.”
Watch a show video preview here. Closer Than Ever is on at the Gateway Theatre (6500 Gilbert Road) until this Saturday night (Feb. 20). Tickets are $45/20 (students) and available at gatewaytheatre.com or 604-270-1812.