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’Closer Than Ever’ Is A Wonderful Bookless Musical

Originally Posted: April 19, 2010


George Dvorsky, Sally Mayes, Lynne Wintersteller and Sal Viviano. (Carol Rosegg)

New York City - If you're smart, don't read this review. Instead, get your credit card and buy whatever tickets may be available for the two-week run of the Richard Maltby, Jr.-David Shire refreshing musical review "Closer Than Ever" at the Queens Theatre in the Park. The show opened Saturday evening, April 17.

This is a 20th anniversary production, the first in New York since the original off Broadway run at the Cherry Lane Theatre. It is the perfect antidote to the fraud sub-prime charges against Goldman Sachs, the earthquake in China, the volcano in Iceland or the miners in Virginia.

David Shire and Richard Maltby, Jr.

In this bookless musical, that takes us through the flowerbeds and minefields of life, the evening sings to us and about us.

It opens with "Doors," a song, an anthem, that describes and encourages us to face our maybe large and sometimes small challenges. For the next two hours, including a 15 minute intermission, George Dvorsky, Sally Mayes, Lynne Wintersteller and Sal Viviano entertain us with charm, wit and sensitivity as they face, suffer or overcome the obstacles.

Each performer has a distinct personality and each one has their moment in the spotlight. And, each one stops the show. From the saucy Mayes who sings "Miss Byrd," a celebration of a recently finished tryst to the elegant Wintersteller's "The Bear, The Tiger, The Hamster and The Mole," who don't know the concept of marriage.

The self-depreciating Dvorsky, who though most of the evening has been making us laugh, turns the tables with a song that honors fathers, "If I Sing." The heroic Viviano pays homage to the nobility of faithful husbands, "One of The Good Guys," which acknowledges "the longing is a given."

Both Mayes and Wintersteller were in the original production. Musical Director Patrick Brady and bassist Bob Renino reprise their roles from the original production. Brady lends his voice to a duet with Mayes, "There," and with George and Sal sings "Fathers of Fathers."

In an evening rich with moments, from speed dating, to friendship, unrequited love, divorce, from parenting your children to parenting your parents, from pre-marriage to post divorce, "Closer Than Ever" generates a warm glow. We see ourselves and our lives with a silent "oh, yeah," "uh-huh," "that's right," and "I know."

Lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr. and music by David Shire. Maltby also directed with an assist from Kurt Stamm who also provided the musical staging. As the musical ends you realize the more life changes the more people stay the same.

After its run in Queens, the production moves to the Bristol, Riverside Theatre in Pennsylvania. So, get your tickets, if they are available now.

For information or tickets go to www.queenstheatre.org, or call 718-760-0064.




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