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BWW Interview: MNM Theatre Company Presents A Socially-Distanced CLOSER THAN EVER

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Check out his interview with Richard Matlby Jr.

BWW Interview: MNM Theatre Company Presents A Socially-Distanced CLOSER THAN EVER

Maltby & Shire's Closer Than Ever has been filmed utilizing a creative social distanced technique and will begin streaming on November 27th and will be available On Demand through December 31st on Music Theatre International's streaming platform www.ShowTix4U.com, via MNM Theatre Company's website, or on the company's Facebook page. Once tickets are purchased, patrons will receive a link to view the production. The link will be active for 48 hours from the first click. Tickets are $20.

Below, read an interview with creator, Richard Matlby Jr.:


Richard, how do you feel about how MNM Theatre Co. went about implementing safety measures to produce Closer Than Ever. while keeping the artistic integrity of the piece?

Theatre is primal. We human beings need it. And so when events coma along to stop theatre from happening, or new technologies arrive, theatre people instinctively find new ways to carry on. The pandemic has stopped traditional theatre dead in its tracks. So clever theatre people are devising new ways to deliver the experience. It's a primal response. And it immediately requires imagination, which is luckily the entire currency of theatre. So -- do we really have to be in the same space? Maybe not. Can we function within new restrictions for health reasons? Tell me what the restrictions are and we'll find a way to work around it! There have been times when theatres were closed. The actors did the play out in the street. Theatre survives. What MNM is doing with its production of Closer Than Ever is very exciting. In this case the play is a revue, and the songs are separate events, so the method of presenting the show is open to many different ways of staging it. I don't know what Jonathan Van Dyke has in mind, but the photos look very intriguing. I can't wait to see what he has done. When a work is looked at by talented young artists in a fresh way, (and dealing with a host of impediments) it can't help but be exciting.

Why do you think Closer Than Ever is so prescient today?

RM:Revues traditionally are satirical, and light-hearted entertainments. They are usually topical, and often the province of young writers and performers. Emotional reality is not the name of the game. Fun is. Closer Than Ever, which arose out of a lot of notes and stories David Shire and I experienced ourselves, or heard of from friends, has the same impulse to entertain that standard revues have, but its source is real people, particularly grown-ups who have lived a little, experienced some things, learned a few things about life that they didn't know they were going to learn. As such, in terms of content, it is more like a play than a revue, and that makes it unique. No other musical revue is like it -- and since it is about emotions coming from people living real lives, it hasn't dated. If anything, given the complexities that people are feeling in our current world, most of the songs seem even more timely today than ever. As is the need to feel close to others.

Did you ever anticipate technology being such an integral part of this intimate piece?

Of course not, and yet people are always doing this show in unusual spaces, and in clever ways, so, this MNM production seems more fresh and exciting than weird and unexpected.

The concept is to allow the show to be produced onstage, but how do you feel about the show becoming a film and streamed?

Writers want people to experience their work. Streaming may bring this show to hundreds of people who might otherwise never know it. So Well, of course, I love it.

How do you think theatre is going to be changed going forward?

I don't know. Who does? I do expect that it will be a while before, say tourists return to Broadway, and that high ticket prices may not last. It may be that local theatres may thrive, as people come to realize they don't have to travel to NY to see something great. All I do know is that, one way or another, theatre will survive.


For more information about MNM Theatre Company please visit www.mnmtheatre.org.


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