ON THE RECORD: The 2013 Revival Cast Album of Closer Than Ever

By Steven Suskin
18 Aug 2013

George Dvorsky
photo by Carol Rosegg

And that seemed to be the end of the road to Broadway. Some nine years later, Starting Here, Starting Now — a three-character, 1977 revue including songs from a half-dozen of Maltby and Shire's produced and unproduced musicals — started out at the Manhattan Theatre Club and transferred to a full Off-Broadway run. The team didn't actually reach Broadway until 1983, with Baby. They were not unoccupied, though. Shire began a distinguished career in 1974 composing for films and television. Maltby, meanwhile, directed and conceived a second little revue for Manhattan Theatre Club called Ain't Misbehavin', which stormed Broadway in 1978. Following this, he linked up with Cameron Mackintosh for Song and Dance and Miss Saigon.

The four-character revue Closer Than Ever, another Off-Broadway anthology of the team's work, came along in 1989 and enjoyed a run of 288 performances. Given Maltby's Broadway prominence, the team finally got a shot at another full-scale musical: Big. This turned out to be a major disappointment of the 1995-96 season, though decidedly not due to the score. Their most recent musical, Take Flight, premiered at London's Menier Chocolate Factory in 2007 and was seen at the McCarter in Princeton in 2010. (We were impressed with this score, our review of which can be found here

The twentieth anniversary of Closer Than Ever was celebrated with a 2010 revival at the Queens Theater in the Park, featuring the two ladies of the original cast, Sally Mayes and Lynne Wintersteller. This led to an Off-Broadway revival in June 2012 by the York Theatre Company, with Christiane Noll and Jenn Colella joining George Dvorsky and Sal Viviano (who had played the male roles in Queens). The production proved to be an audience-pleaser, with the initially-limited engagement extended to five months. This resulted in a new cast album, thanks in part to Jay Record's continued dedication to the York, which takes us back where we started.

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