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My View: “Closer Than Ever”…The title alone speaks to our times

Closer Than Ever the award winning show by lyricist Richard Maltby, Jr. and composer David Shire has been creatively filmed for streaming by a group of theatre professionals at the MNM Theatre Company.  Producing Artistic Director and CEO Marcie Gorman and Director Jonathan Van Dyke have come up with an innovative way to provide audiences with theatre during these difficult times.

The company’s first production by award winning Maltby and Shire will debut on November 27th and be available for On Demand streaming through December 31st.

I was present at one of the days of filming and saw how the integrated projections were used to navigate the challenges that live theatre currently has to contend with due to Covid.  While this unique form was designed by MNM for live performance the company had decided to film it for streaming at this time.  Live performances are planned for the future.

The staging is done with the actors at least 6 feet between them.  The integrated projection allows for their projected images to appear close.  The actors were green screened and then edited together.  All the singing was live during the filming and sometimes in coordination with the actors projected images.  The screens were designed as moving doors.  One side they appear as part of the set and then they spin to become a projection screen.  The doors were moved by a crew in masks and gloves.  As director Jonathan Van Dyke noted,  “Closer Than Ever just spoke to these times.  To me this was the perfect choice for many reasons.  The title alone speaks to our times.”

Streaming information at https://www.mnmtheatre.org

Filming “Closer Than Ever” Elijah Word & Shelley Keelor, Cliff Burgess, cameraman
Closer Than Ever
Shelley Keelor
Shelley Keelor
Elijah Word
Projection Panels
Eda Sorokoff & Jonathan Van Dyke
Jonathan Van Dyke, Director

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Stephen studied at the Manhattan School of Music. Besides being a pianist, Stephen’s business career was in the Fashion Industry. He was CEO of a textile manufacturing facility and President of an international textile machinery company. Stephen was on the Board of Directors of the “First All Children’s Theatre” which brought the Stephen Schwartz musical The Trip and Captain Louie to the Kennedy Center in Wash DC. His wife Eda, an interior space designer and classical pianist was on the Board of Barrington Stage Company and is still active at BSC. Stephen’s photographs, videos and articles appear on Broadwayworld.com, T2Conline.com and The New York Observer. He is active in the entertainment events at the Friars Club, where he is a member. Stephen is also an Honorary Board Member of The Society For The Preservation of The Great American Songbook. Stephen Sorokoff@gmail.com

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