Local Theater Company Revives Rare Musical

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“Closer Than Ever,” by Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire, opens this weekend at the Performing Arts Factory in Frederick, Md.

The musical revue is produced by Being Revived Theater Company (BRTC), a brand new theater company focusing on performing and promoting unknown or rarely-performed musicals. The production focuses on love and relationships and is directed by D.C. Cathro with musical direction by Shepherd University music alumnus Jonas Dawson.

“Being Revived specifically focuses on lesser known and infrequently produced shows that deserve an audience. We want to expose people and students to shows, new and old, that they rarely (if ever) get the chance to see. We want to expand knowledge and entertain!” said Cathro

“Closer Than Ever” was originally produced by Off-Broadway in 1989 and has been professionally revived occasionally since its debut, most recently in 2012. The revue features no dialogue and the plot, tied together by common themes of relationships, aging and marriage, is conveyed entirely through song.

“It’s all songs, and each one tells a story and features different characters. There’s no real through-line, except thematically. The show is very emotional, not only for me, but also for the actors. Each of them bring a wonderful personal history, and so the songs have an impact on all of them in vastly different ways,” said Cathro

“The intimacy of the show is enhanced by Shire’s exclusive use of piano and bass for the orchestration, which is brought to life by the complexity and richness of the two parts individually. Shire’s music is an elegant complement to Maltby’s lyrics, offering contemporary styles mostly in the form of pop sprinkled with jazz sonorities and progressions, but occasionally diverting into country and rock,” said Dawson

In addition to the songs in the original musical, the BRTC will be the first theatrical company to perform the show with the addition of two new songs.

“We are the first company to premiere two new songs outside of the now-closed Off-Broadway revival!” said Cathro. “The two new songs are titled ‘Dating Again,’ about diving back into the singles scene, post divorce, and ‘There is Something in a Wedding,’ about the wonders of attending a wedding ceremony. Both of these new songs feature the entire cast…There has been a lot of laughter and quite a few tears as well. I think the audience will really feel the emotional impact as well.”

“The smooth melodies are occasionally bolstered by dense vocal harmonies, and Shire’s clever use of counterpoint permits the telling of multiple stories at once in various numbers,” said Dawson.

“Closer Than Ever” features Jonas Dawson, David Norman, Karen Paone, Tim Seltzer and Andrea Wildason as performers.

The show runs Sept. 20-21 and 27-28 at 8 p.m. with one Sunday matinee on Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 and may be reserved or purchased at the door. For more information about the production or the BRTC, please visit www.beingrevived.com