Show History



Closer Than Ever is a two-act musical revue with music by David Shire and lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr.  Back in 1984, Maltby compiled several songs that were not used in his previous musicals to create an evening of musical short stories called the "Urban File."  In addition to songs, the "Urban File" contained many fragments of different ideas, including biographical materials from friends as possible song material.  But, because Maltby was directing and writing the musical, Song and Dance, and Shire was working on various film scores, the file was put in the corner.

In 1987, Lynne Meadow, the artistic director of the Manhattan Theatre Club, came to Maltby and Shire for music to use for a topical revue on urban themes.  After showing Meadow his "Urban File," Meadow decided to use six of their songs for his revue, bringing the unused songs back into the light.  The next year, playwright/director/pianist, Steven Scott Smith, then Maltby's assistant, approached them about creating another revue that used their music entirely.  The revue, titled Next Time, Now! opened in January 1989 at the Greenwich Village nightclub, Eighty-Eights. Its critical success pushed the creators to expand the show to a full-length revue.


Closer Than Ever came into existence at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts in the summer of 1989.  The show then moved to New York only a few months later, opening on November 6 at the Cherry Lane Theatre Off-Broadway. The production starred Brent Barrett and Sally Mayes and ran for over 300 performances before closing.

The musical has had a significant number of revivals in regional theatres all over the United States through the years.  Such notable productions include the Westport Country Playhouse in 1991; the Fleetwood Stage in 1996; the MetroStage in Washington, D.C., in 2002; and the Porchlight Music Theatre in Chicago in 2005.  In April 2010, Closer Than Ever celebrated its 20th anniversary with concurrent shows at Queens Theater in the Park and the Bristol Riverisde Theatre.  The musical returned to the New York scene in 2012, where it ran from June to November, once again Off-Broadway.