New Rep's Bookless Book Musical

I went to my first New Repertory show for a rather obscure song cycle musical, Closer Than Ever. I went into the show not really knowing what to expect from this little ditty. Described as a musical revue, Closer Than Everunfolds in two acts of strictly musical treats, music by David Shire and lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr. (though, on closer inspection, this breakdown isn’t really fair when both men’s works seems interwoven and intricate in their symbiotic relationship). Perhaps the closest approximation to the show’s style is, as the composers term it, a “bookless book musical.” What that means is anyone’s guess, but I’d like to hazard one. Closer Than Ever is the Songs for a New World for middle-aged baby boomers. Is that too simplistic for the musical? Absolutely; as a twenty-something man with no cellulite (yet) overgrowing my body, no lost or broken lover, as far as you can get from the burdens of kids, I found myself touched by this tale of searching desperately for a connection. What are we closer to than ever? The end? Hope of a new beginning, even after hitting the middle? I’d like to assume that New Rep’s Closer Than Ever, directed by the always impressive and stunning Leigh Barrett, is a little closer to my heart and closer than ever to finding some new questions, and maybe even a few answers, to life’s most troubling issues.

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Ponzi-Schemer Delivers a Devilishly Good Performance

New Repertory Theatre presented a Special Encore Extension of their hit production of Imagining Madoff. I couldn’t imagine myself not seeing it for the first time, the second time around. Written by Deborah Margolin, the play explores the intensely intimate (but fictional) encounter between Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff and fictitious Jewish Solomon Galkin. The result is a wild ride of theatrical success in the visceral but highly intelligent discourse on difficult moral issues. In her Message, Director Elaine Vaan Hogue illuminates why one should “imagine” Madoff. In this play, she hopes that certain complex moral questions “possess the potential to thrust each of us into a deeper investigation of our own humanity,” with the possibility to liberate through what Margolin terms the “startling things within the human complement.” And these ambitions succeed brilliantly; I couldn’t imagine a better night at the theatre.

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