BWW Reviews: CLOSER THAN EVER Raises Funds for The Barn Players

Closer Than Ever opened Friday night at The Barn Players in Mission, Kan. The play with lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. and music by David Shire is the yearly musical fundraiser for the Barn Players. On Friday night, Danielle Gibbs with Premiere Designs sold jewelry in the lobby, with 25% of the proceeds going to the Barn Players, and will return for Sunday's performance.

Saturday night's performance includes dinner (provided by Outback Steakhouse, Runza, and Classic Catering), drinks, and the show. The area taken up by Gibbs will be used to display items for the silent auction on Saturday. Items included in the auction are Sports Memorabilia, a 5-piece cookware set, tickets to theatre venues in Kansas City, and a walk-on role in the 2015 season among other items.

Vida Bikales, President of the Barn Players, told the audience on Friday night that money collected at the fundraiser in 2013 was used for sound equipment and two new computers. She stated money from the 2014 event is destined for needed repairs at the theater. High on the list of repairs is the malfunctioning air conditioner. Bikales said that fortunately the mild summer has helped the Barn deal with an air conditioner that is not working properly.

Martha Risser directs Closer Than Ever, a musical revue filled with self-contained songs that deal with love, friendship, relationships, parenting, aging parents, and mid-life crisis. Some of the songs will tear at your heartstrings, while others are whimsical and very humorous.

"Fathers of Fathers" magnificently performed by Brian King, John Edmonds, and Gary Wesche is one song that will bring mist to the eyes of the audience. This song can be particularly heart wrenching to anyone who has lost his or her father. Edmonds said that if he were to think about the lyrics he would have difficulty performing the song.

Laura Roose wonderfully performs the humorous song, "The Bear, the Tiger, the Hamster, and the Mole." The aid of a cast member with a large tablet and a pointer add to the humor of the song. "Miss Bryd" performed by JC Dresslaer is another song that causes the audience to erupt in laughter. Featured in several of the songs, Dresslaer has a marvelous voice. Cara Hampton not only has a glorious voice she demonstrates wonderful timing with songs like "You Wanna Be My Friend?" sung with Kipp Simmons and "Back on Base."

Some of the best vocalist in Kansas City make up the cast, donating their time and talent to aid the Barn Players in the fundraising event. Other members of the incredibly talented cast include Kevin Bogan, Rebecca Johnston, Sara McAdoo, Mark Murphy, and Ali Watson. Michalis Koutsoupides playing keyboard conducts the band with Kevin Payton on electric guitar and string bass and Kyle Brown on drums.

Closer Than Ever runs Saturday August 16 and Sunday August 17 at The Barn Players Theater. Tickets for Saturday, which include dinner, are $50 and $25 for Sunday. Reserve seats on The Barn Players website or purchase at the door. Photo courtesy of The Barn Players.

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From This Author Steve Wilson

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