Colonial Players' `Closer Than Ever' Holds Mirror Up To Modern Society

April 24, 1997|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

"Closer Than Ever," now in production at Colonial Players on East Street in Annapolis, is a unique theater experience, requiring some concentration to fully enjoy.

This original musical on the '90s, with music by David Shire and lyrics by Richard Maltby, has not a word of spoken dialogue.

It can best be described as a small opera for everybody, where the human condition is viewed through a variety of relationships.

The six-member cast performs 24 songs in ensemble, in pairs and in solos on a spare set of six large cubes that can be shifted and rearranged. The set is effective because it is so nondescript. It can be used to represent many thingsbut doesn't get in the way of the audience as it tries to identify with the common experiences portrayed.

Songs run the gamut from coping with the dating scene ("I won't go crazy again/What am I doing out in the rain/covered with mud, out of my mind with love?") to deciding who watches the baby in a two-career family ("I need a little help here/I have to make it clear here/It's my career here ").

Loneliness is a common thread linking characters as they confront their plights.

But it isn't all gloom. There are tunes extolling the quest for better sex ("I could feel the ground start to go/Not a soul would have to know") and drab to fabulous transformations.

Margaret Allman, Peter Crews, Roger Compton, Dan Herrel, Andrea Hughes-Ostrowski and Jill Sharpe-Compton are in the cast. Compton also serves as musical director.

The play is directed and choreographed by J. B. McLendon, and the performers are accompanied by Frank Couper on bass and John Frankenberg on piano. All of the singers are more than adequate, with Herrel, Sharpe-Compton and Allman truly outstanding vocally. All are skilled actors, who conveyed the message fully in lyrics packed with meaning.

If you would enjoy seeing yourself portrayed with style and wit, visit Colonial Players and look at your reflection in the mirror these actors hold up.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 2: 30 p.m. and 7: 30 p.m. Sunday through May 10. Information: 410-268-7373.

Pub Date: 4/24/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.