Roger Friedman who has scooped many major stories in his career on Fox TV and in NY Magazine broke another one on his Showbiz411 website. Roger had an exclusive about Larry King being hospitalized and battling COVID for the last 10 days in a Los Angeles hospital. Roger has chronicled many sad stories this year concerning the Friars Club, but this one had to be the most heartbreaking about it’s Dean, Larry King.
Here is a look back a happier times at the Friars Club with Larry King.
Toby Keith Interview Reveals Personal Thoughts on Lifetime Achievement Award
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW REPOST FROM “THE MAGAZINE LIFESTYLE”
Toby Keith was born to be in the spotlight.
While so many performers have been bestowed the same grand gift of stardom throughout history, there is something much more meaningful when this artist stands in front of millions of fans. It’s not just the strums of his guitar you hear when he takes the stage. The light that surrounds him shines brightly because inside of Keith a sound made from a pulsating heart of gold radiates throughout the world.
Considered one of the most beloved musicians of all time, the National Medal of Arts recipient’s list of accomplishments is nothing short of outstanding. Keith has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, as well as honored with the Academy of Country Music’s prestigious Merle Haggard Spirit Award just to name a few remarkable achievements. The superstar’s body of work has made him a luminary trailblazer in the entertainment industry. A trusted and upstanding performer, he has sung some of the biggest country hits of the 20th century including “Should’ve Been A Cowboy,” “Who’s That Man,” “Me Too,” “How Do You Like Me Now?!,” “You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This,” “I’m Just Talkin’ About Tonight,” “Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue (The Angry American),” “Beer For My Horses,” and “American Soldier.”
Celebrated for his artistry, the seven-time Grammy nominee and two-time Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year is an unstoppable force. But for all the joy his triumphant collection has brought to the masses, it is the way his storied career has produced something far more than just alluring tunes and catchy music videos.
Since the very beginning, Keith’s mission has always been to create a space that makes people feel accepted. His profound emotions persevere in front of an audience at a sold-out concert just as equally as his sincere interactions with other celebrities. Backstage and behind the scenes his unwavering need to unconditionally help those in need rises to the forefront.
The musician’s widely known philanthropic efforts have made an everlasting effect on mankind. From voicing support for veterans to aiding citizens recovering from natural disasters, Keith considers it his patriotic duty to use his impactful voice to empower change and inspire others to follow suit.
For someone who is a larger-than-life entertainer, it is fascinating how completely down to earth he is when the curtain falls. Any hint of intimidation quickly sheds away when he looks at you with his twinkling eyes. Peeling back the layers of the idol, you discover that the making of this legendary singer is not rooted in ego. There is simply a person standing before you who doesn’t wish to be music royalty worshiped on a pedestal. There is only a humble man who is eternally grateful for what he has been gifted. You only see the compassionate cowboy.
Perfectly flawed and rough around the edges, his presence is that of a burly character perpetually dressed in a slightly disheveled wardrobe. Keith carries the look of someone laboring outdoors all day just to finally sit on the porch and kick back with a frosted beer as the sun sets in the horizon. His dusty boots have walked a million miles and left behind a trail of deep footprints full of Oklahoma red dirt no matter where he goes.
The music sensation’s legendary status has allowed him to build an expansive empire of goodwill. Keith’s unconditional love is especially felt at The Toby Keith Foundation. The center’s mission is to encourage the health and happiness of pediatric cancer patients. It also funds OK Kids Korral, which is a cost-free and comfortable home for pediatric cancer patients and their families receiving treatment at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center, Stephenson Cancer Center, and other nearby facilities.
The valiant Keith and his dedicated team are now set to be honored by the laudable SabesWings Foundation. On September 18, the icon will receive the SabesWings Lifetime Achievement Award during the Second Annual Strike Out Event in Paso Robles, California. The festivities will help raise funds through ticket sales to support cancer patients suffering from medical financial toxicity.
Together throughout the past few years OK Kids Korral and SabesWings have joined forces to help patients who must choose between paying for medical treatments or common everyday living expenses.Giving cancer patients of all ages the chance to heal without worry is the philosophy that Keith and SabesWings founders Bret and Kandace Saberhagen embrace. The famous Kansas City Royals pitcher and his wife know the power of supporting those in need during a medical crisis after she went through a past cancer scare. Seeing how much the cost of care escalated at that time, they knew that something had to be done for those who were not fortunate enough to afford it.
Keith has personally experienced how the disease can change your life in an instant. In June, he disclosed through social media that he had been privately battling stomach cancer. Fortunately, he is now cancer-free. While recovering from treatment, the survivor witnessed firsthand how community love can be a pillar of strength to patients who are bravely fighting the dreaded disease.
The sad truth is that there is no person in the world who has not been affected by the disease. Lives are rocked and fundamentally shifted. Neither celebrity status nor birthright can stop it from happening to someone. But it is the ones with the golden hearts like Keith who can help make the process more humane. The power of kindness is truly uplifting.
During an exclusive interview with “The Magazine Lifestyle,” Keith revealed why being honored by his friends and fellow philanthropists at SabesWings is a momentous occasion.
Your foundation assists and supports pediatric cancer patients and their families. How did this mission come about?
Twenty years ago, my friend – who happened to be my first guitar player in the very first band I was ever in and ended up being my road manager later – had a 2-year-old daughter, Allison, who developed cancer. In her most dire moments, in the eleventh hour, the hospital had just told them to take Allison home. They had to bring in hospice when necessary. I had been supporting St. Jude in Memphis and as a last-ditch effort we called in a favor. St. Jude had a couple of things there that they hadn’t done yet here in Oklahoma. Allison and her mother drove over. When they had exhausted all their options they came back home, and Allison passed away.
After the funeral, the mother said that the most eye-opening part of it was that when she got to St. Jude she was provided with food, lodging, and transportation free of cost. She wanted nothing. She was actually going to worry about all that when they got there since she was in such a rush, didn’t prepare, and hadn’t brought anything with them. She was given everything from Walmart gift cards to medicine to whatever they needed. I said, ‘In Ally’s honor we should look at doing something like that here in Oklahoma City.’ And that’s how OK Kids Korral was born.
What are the things about your foundation that you are most proud of at the end of the day?
I think I’m most proud of the fact that we handle more than 300 families a year. They come from all over and they are desperate just like Allison’s mother was. It makes me proud to know that when it comes to this part of it, they can show up at Children’s Hospital and have a burden lifted the second they know they can stay right across the street in a wonderful lodge that is gated and safe. OK Kids Korral is the Ritz Carlton meets Disney World.
You are being honored by SabesWings this September. As an icon in music and the world of philanthropy, what does this mean for you to receive this award?
These things are designed as fundraisers. And the Saberhagens have given their time to my event and to other events, Make-A-Wish, etc. So, it’s honoring them as much as it is anybody. On paper it looks like I’m being brought in and honored, which is wonderful for them to pick me to do it. But at the end of the day, it’s just like a keynote speaker at any event. It’s a reciprocal type of situation where he’s (Bret Saberhagen) done stuff for my event so I’m doing stuff for his event. But in my opinion, this event honors them as much as it does anybody for all the work they do.
What is it that makes the combined efforts of SabesWings with your foundation so unique in the philanthropic community? Also, what is it that you think you do best in comparison to other organizations out there?
Me showing up has SabesWings granting us donations as well; what I said is reciprocation in the previous answer. The thing that I think separates us is our Executive Director, Juliet Bright, who is the woman who runs my foundation. She is such a master at this and champions so well that it just makes us operate at a really high level. That being said, other people who have come in like SabesWings as well as other celebrities who have come to my event and have events themselves, have often returned after the event and asked if they could talk to Juliet. I ask why, and they say, ‘I want my event to run as well as yours.’ Maybe they’ve not dreamed big enough, or looked at it as a big enough picture, or just the overall quality of how the event is run. Juliet has done a wonderful job through the years, and she just gets better. It’s kind of on cruise control now, and I say that not taking her for granted, but because she’s got it running so smoothly now that even though it takes her 365 days to set up the event, she’s still got it down. It’s run as well as anybody’s foundation in the country.
When you hear how much the two organizations working together are making a difference in real lives, what does that incredible goodwill mean to you?
It’s nice to be able to focus and have all your energy in the world go toward one thing that really matters to you. Up until OK Kids Korral was formed, all my charity stuff was scattered. Whoever came at the right time got it. I worked with St. Jude a lot, most of my efforts went there, so that tied in really well. But if I was at an event or TV show where you won some money for charity. I really didn’t have anything that just made me go, ‘Yeah, this is my charity.’ And once OK Kids Korral came into play, I could focus all my energies just on that. And you can look at the other stuff and say, ‘I’m sorry, this takes up all my time, energy, and money.’ It has to because it’s my job to make sure we raise the money each year that is the lifeline to OK Kids Korral.
Keith generates wisdom that can only be understood by someone who really savors life and is aware that giving is the biggest gift of all. The superstar is ultimately a superhero who will always sing an enduring and enlightened ballad for all of mankind.
Reposted with permission by “The Magazine Lifestyle” and writer ElizaBeth Taylor
Cover art and photography by Greg Watermann
Actors to Watch – Danny A. Abeckaser in ‘Lansky’
One thing the pandemic certainly didn’t take away from us was the love for a good film with a great cast.
This summer the much-anticipated film “Lansky” starring Harvey Keitel, Sam Worthington, Danny A. Abeckaser, David James Elliott, Minka Kelly, David Cade, John Magaro, and Anna Sophia Robb, among others, hits theaters and digital streaming channels.
Director and writer Eytan Rockaway’s crime-drama was inspired by actual conversations that took place between Rockaway’s father, Rob Rockaway, and gangster Meyer Lansky before his death. Actor Abeckaser portrays an FBI agent in the film, which departs his often seen mobster and nightlife character roles in prior projects.
Last seen in “The Irishman,” the performer demonstrates a new range as an actor in the feature, alongside Worthington and longtime friend Keitel, who starred in his directorial debut, “First We Take Brooklyn,” in 2018. It’s an exciting turn as Abeckaser continues to hone his craft.
“It’s been a passion project. I was obsessed and grew up knowing about Lansky,” he told Times Square Chronicles during a recent interview. Though Abeckaser didn’t produce the film he was around during the inception and had brought some of the original content to the attention of the filmmakers. It was his keen sensibilities as a true artist that helped carve out the path to production.
“He was someone known to be a tough guy and strong – kind of like a bully,” he reflects about the true story lead. “But, then you see this little five-foot-two Jewish guy who was running everything in real life. For me I wanted to to get to know this fascinating story more. This whole thing came about and I just really wanted to be a part of it.”
And, attractive characters is something that Abeckaser truly understands. He himself has a soulful presence that is undeniable. He is a legit artist who appreciates the team he works with as much as the road to get there.
“I just want this to be successful. I want people to see it with everything I put into a film and what I create when I act. All you want is people to see it and enjoy it. All the hard it took was about six years of labor. We just want people to appreciate and enjoy it, you know, and I hope it gets the audience it deserves.”
For these artistic endeavors we applaud him.
Abeckaser’s next film, “I Love Us,” is a feature romantic drama that he stars in and directs, due out in September 2021, further showcasing his depth in the emotional film.
Follow Danny A. Abeckaser on social media at @DannyA27 and head to theatres, VOD and digital on June 25 to watch LANSKY.
Cover Photo by Ben Draper
T2C Talks to Hal Linden and Tim Jerome on A Country Christmas Carol “On Air”
A Country Christmas Carol “On Air,” The Musical premieres on Audio Stages, WBAI 99.5 FM tonight at 7pm. Just two days before the release of the show’s Studio Cast Album. Tony award winner Hal Linden (The Rothschilds) hosts and three-time Tony nominee, Terrence Mann (CATS, Les Mis, Beauty and the Beast, The Addams Family) narrates. A Country Christmas Carol, On Air, is presented by Tim Jerome (CATS, The Phantom of the Opera, Tarzan) and MainStreet Musicals as a part of the Audio Stages series on WBAI Radio 99.5FM NYC. Visit: www.acountrychristmascarol.com , but if you miss it click here where this show and other musicals will be in archive.
iTunes is offering an exclusive pre-release sale with a discount on the album and three advance tracks available for immediate download on December 19 and 20, 2020.
Video by the fabulous Magda Katz
Talking with Tom, About Rage and Making Friends
Described as a ‘new, “gaytastic” comic solo play, Making Friends, a one man show written and performed by self-confessed rage-aholic Tom DeTrinis, might be seen and heard as more of an angry plea than a polite request, but that remains to be seen, and one I personally can’t wait to partake in. It will be available for streaming beginning December 17th through January 11, 2021. Filmed live at L.A.’s Pico Playhouse for digital release by IAMA Theatre Company, the quick-witted paly, directed by Drew Droege (Bright Colors, Bold Patterns), offers up a non-stop, hilarious litany of grievances, unmasking DeTrinis’s singular views on everything from cheese (“vile f***ing spoiled milk!”) to New York City (“its clutches grab you from the moment you enter until it squeezes the very last ounce of joy out of you right before you shrivel and die slash leave out of JFK/Newark or GOD FORBID LAGUARDIA?!?!?!”).
Making Friends is the first in IAMA Theatre Company’s 2020-21 season of new solo work, a season that looks toward the future by elevating voices that promote change in our world. IAMA hopes to illuminate that path by supporting diverse voices that break down the walls of isolation and encourage connection and community. According to IAMA co-artistic directors Stefanie Black and Katie Lowes, “There is no better voice to lead the charge this season than Tom’s. Get ready, L.A. and beyond!” Click here for more info on tickets and such.
DeTrinis is no stranger to the stage, either on or off. From producing, directing and performing in theater to working in television, film and on the web, he has enjoyed being stupid and making others laugh at his own expense. He has been performing on the stage since he was 8 and has been involved in many productions as producer, director and actor, including Found, the Musical, Die, Mommie, Die!, The SantaLand Diaries, and 30 Minute Musicals. On screen he can be seen in many productions including 90210, Community, Finding the Asshole Series (Slamdance 2019), and many more. He directed Tom Lenk in Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist (LA, NYC, San Fran, Scotland, London); Ravenswood Manor by Justin Sayre (LA), Happy Birthday Doug by Drew Droege (LA, NYC) and The Midnight Movie Collective with Justin Sayre (online).
With that powerful voice firmly intact, Tom DeTrinis sat down, virtually, with Frontmezzjunkies to talk about his new play, his performance, his anger, and the pandemic we are all trying to live through. He is a quick-witted, angry actor/writer/director/producer who just wants to be your friend, and for that impulse, we should all be theatrically thankful for. He states that growing up, he was an overly-sensitive child whose large, Long Island, NY family — five siblings, 15 aunts and uncles, and over 30 first cousins! — would have preferred he keep his emotions on a leash. “Everyone thought they knew how to raise me better than my mom and dad,” he says. “I think it was all the mixed messages I was getting that triggered my anger while I was still very young.” And boy, did he get angry. Maybe that’s where the impulse came to Making Friends.
Ross: Good day, Tom. I’m so looking forward to seeing Making Friends this week. Tell me, where did the idea for this story come from? What was the seed?
Tom DeTrinis: HI HI! Lovely to chat with you! Thanks for this! Well, the seed came from my friend Byron Lane who kept forcing me to write down the stories I would tell him while we were at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018 and 2019. He was VERY adamant and I love him for that. I finally listened and decided to patch all of this together into what you are about to see. At first when I set out to really write the show, it was through the eyes of a character that I created who would be telling my stories, but then I soon found out that I needed to just be myself. Plain and simple.
Ross: What is the most intriguing thing about this one-man show, and the journey you will be taking us on?
Tom: Is anger and gayness intriguing?! Ha! Hmmm. I want people to realize that you never know what a person is going through when you meet them. You never know what they are carrying with them into a room. And for me, I carry a LOT of anger and fury underneath the nice facade. I hope people watch and evaluate how THEY are walking through life, and if they are being authentic to themselves. And the journey I am taking you on?!? Well, it will be UP AND DOWN, HONEY! Here and there, and through the eyes of characters I created, and through my own personal stories, and some other fun surprises.
Ross: The show was filmed live at L.A.’s Pico Playhouse and then made available for streaming. How was that experience, filming a show in front of, basically, no audience to react to, or breathe energy from?
Tom: IT WAS HARD! At first. After one run through with the camera, I went right to Drew and was like, OH GOD KILL ME IS THIS WORKING I AM SO IN MY HEAD DID I RUIN THAT WHOLE TAKE I’M FIRED I FIRE MYSELF!!! And after he and one of my producers pulled me back from supreme despair, I shook it off and was like, Ok. So what no one is there! So what no one is laughing. YOU KNOW THIS. LET’S DO IT. And then I settled in…I think. HAHA! It is SO SO weird to “perform” a show to no one, but at the same time you have to give it 100000000%. You expect something back from the seats in front of you, and when they give you nothing it throws you. But then….you get used to it and start to love it?! It was a very weird experience, and overall I needed to learn to expect NOTHING. Literally and figuratively. HA!
Ross: There must have been many challenges to produce a show during this crazy time, what was it like?
Tom: I am sure Melissa Stephens and Donna Simone Johnson, the producers of this show – along with Cymbre Walk – the Producing Director of IAMA, would tell you it is ROUUUUUGH to produce right now. With all the COVID restrictions and rules, it can be really intense – the logistics, science, personalities. ALL of that PLUS the usual producing shit?! Oh lord. I think they are saints and truly the major reason anyone is seeing this show. I am forever indebted to them, and to the IAMA Theater Company for giving us this space to play. THANK YOU THANK YOU TEAM!
Ross: What can you tell me about the process, particularly about working with Drew Droege, the director?
Tom: Well, there was other versions of the show. So, back at the top of the year, I sat down with producer Mel, and she looked over my first version of the show. It was fine. Haha! And then she helped me unlock some doors in my brain, and I wrote ANOTHER version. That wasn’t right. THEN ANOTHER version, and that…wasn’t right. And at that point I was very frustrated and she said, “What would you write if you didn’t care what people thought? If you just said, f*ck it.” So I wrote from that place, just an angry, little bitchy place, and I did a reading of it over zoom in September. Got a TON of magical feedback from brilliant minds (thank you gaggle of lovers!). Then I asked Drew if he would direct it. He and I have done a ton of work with each other, and we have a great understanding, so it was very natural to choose him for this. He truly is a genius and LOVES to figure out the impossible. Loves to crack things open and explore. So we sat down and really went over all my notes and my stories and my ideas for about 5 weeks. We just kept meeting and discussing and then I would write some more, and that went round and round until we got it on its feet toward the start of November. And before we knew it. BAM! Shot this on Dec 1st.
Drew is not only a comedy magician, but he is also amazing at structure and storytelling and helping you find clarity. Which is what I needed so desperately with this show. There were so many ideas and thoughts that in my mind connected seamlessly, but he was like WOA. Calm it down. Take a step back and simplify this or elaborate on that. Oh….now I miss that whole process from a month ago! Hahaha! It was so great to have him bounce off all of this crazy.
Ross: I must agree, he is pretty damn brilliant. And kind. What about that dance number from Kathryn Burns, the choreographer from “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”? How was that experience?
Tom: I had Kat sit in on the first reading in September cause I KNEW I needed a dance element to this piece. From the VERY first script I saw some kind of dance in the show. And Kat and I had just worked on the musical FOUND, with IAMA as well, at the start of the year before COVID murdered joy and freedom. She is not only a f*cking brilliant human, but she has this amazing knack for finding the funny in dance, and also making you look like a first rate dancer, no matter your skill level. And also? It was just so much fun to figure this out from nothing to something with her cause she was so open to discovery and exploration – even on shoot day some things changed!
Ross: You have been quoted as saying, “I think it’s important to talk about anger. Especially coming off of this presidency. We are all so angry, and we need to start recovering. For me, this show is about healing.” Can you tell me more about that? What is it about his anger? And yours, that needs to be unpacked and talked about?
Tom: Ugh. Him. Ugh. Well, ya know, I think the first step in working on anger is recognizing you are an angry human? For me, it can REALLY consume me and take over very quickly. Those close to me see my spice VERY often, but I hide it well from others. And it has been a long journey in trying to unpack it and study it and then heal from it. Cause it doesn’t disappear. OHHH no. It is there always for me. And I am very triggered by what is happening now and what has happened over the last four years…and really, for much longer than that. It is just MADDENING that we are not learning. That we keep making the same mistakes. And I think collectively as a nation, and as a world, we have been on EDGE for so many years that we have been living with our shoulders up to our ears in fear and fury. Just tense and pissed. And now that we are starting to see SOME kind of change, it is time to relax a bit. It is time to look at how ABUSED we have been for so long and how we need to just connect and be HUMAN. We need to recover from the madness by accepting that we have been so angry. That we have been duped. That we have been lied to constantly. And we have to look forward! And for my OWN anger, I have to do the same. I have to talk about it openly in order to grow from it and move on. I can’t stay in the loop of my own undoing any longer. I have to break the cycle. WE have to break the cycle.
Ross: I could not agree more. Thank you for that! What’s been the most challenging part of this process for you?
Tom: Writing. OOOOOF. And getting notes on how to develop it deeper and further. WHY IS IT SO WEIRD AND UNCOMFORTABLE! UGHHH!!
Ross: The most rewarding?
Tom: FINISHING! Hahahah! When I finished on the day of shooting I was SO SO FUCKING HAPPY. I was like OH YAY! I get to take a break from diving into my soul to find out why I am what I am. YAY!!! And also, it has been so rewarding to see so many people work on this show. I am just in awe and still dumbfounded that these masters of LIFE are making all this happen.
Ross: What do you want the audience to get from watching this show, the story told, and from your character? What is it about this show that really speaks to you?
Tom: I really want people to be taken away for a bit. I want them to enjoy living in my mind for an hour?! HAHAH! I really want people to look inward and think about how they interact with themselves AND with the younger generation. I want people to ask me questions! I want people to laugh and be angry WITH me. I am not sure what one thing specifically speaks to me, cause I am just thinking about all of it?! Haha! Do I have to pick?!?!?!
Ross: Not at all! Please don’t, actually. BTW How have you been doing during this crazy time? How have you been keeping yourself together, maintaining your creative energy, your emotional connection to live theatre, writing, and performing? I can’t tell you how much I miss the communal experience of live theatre. How have you been doing through it all? What has been the most helpful?
Tom: OH I MISS IT TOOO! So much. we all almost cried when the lights were turned on in the theatre when we started tech. It was EMOTIONAL. AND NOW! Things that have gotten me through! A LIST!
1. Baking. OH GOD DO I LOVE BAKING AND COOKING.
2. Talking on the phone. I gab for hours. HOURS.
3. Playing games through zoom with friends I would never have been able to see often if we weren’t stuck at home.
4. Watching things I have never seen before and loving – Cool Hand Luke?! The Sting?! Great films.
5. Doing monthly play readings with some nut jobs through the Dynasty Typewriter here in LA. Almost every month, the brilliance of Justin Sayre has churned out a new camp play that we have been putting up via zoom and Dynasty and that has kept my giggle brain and creative juices flowing.
8. Did I say baking slash have you bought DESSERT PERSON by Claire Saffitz yet?! Cause it is SPECIAL.
Ross: I will definitely check it out. The show is described in the press release as “a ‘gay-tastic’ look at anger through the eyes of a quick-witted rageaholic who just wants to be your friend”. Would you want this man as your friend? Would I? What makes him, and the show, a keeper?
Tom: OF COURSE I WOULD! HAHAHAH! Maybe you would?! I mean, at least to laugh at for an hour?! And then maybe tell your friends about it?!?! I think what makes him a keeper is that he just wants you to be happy. And I say that as much for you the audience, as I say that to myself as I sit and watch the show. THANKS AGAIN!!!
The creative team for Making Friends includes lighting designer Donny Jackson and stage manager Estey DeMerchant. Donna Simone Johnson and Melissa Stephens co-produce for IAMA Theatre Company.
Making Friends will be available for streaming starting on December 17th through January 11, 2021 with digital tickets starting at $15. They will be sold in weekly blocks and include access to a variety of supporting live events. For more information on ticketing, streaming and satellite events, go towww.iamatheatre.com.
For more from Ross click here
My View: Interview With Richard Maltby Jr.
Maltby & Shire’s Closer Than Ever has been filmed utilizing a creative social distancing technique and will begin streaming on November 27th and will be available On Demand through December 31st on Music Theatre International’s (MTI) streaming platform www.ShowTix4U.com via MNM Theatre Company’s website www.mnmtheatre.org or on the company’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/mnmtheatrecompany . 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.
Here is my interview with Richard Matlby Jr.
SS: 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?
RM: 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) iit can’t help but be exciting.
SS: 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.
SS: Did you ever anticipate technology being such an integral part of this intimate piece?
RM: 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.
SS: The concept is to allow the show to be produced onstage, but how do you feel about the show becoming a film and streamed?
RM: 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.
SS: How do you think theatre is going to be changed going forward?
RM: 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.
SEE THE TRAILER HERE….CLOSER THAN EVER TRAILER
For more information about MNM Theatre Company please visit www.mnmtheatre.org/ . To speak with Marcie Gorman or Jonathan Van Dyke, please contact Carol Kassie at Carol@CarolKassie.com / 561-445-9244.
November 27 – December 31
Music by David Shire
Lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr.
Conceived by Steven Scott Smith Directed by Jonathan Van Dyke
Directed by Jonathan Van Dyke
Tickets available at https://www.mnmtheatre.org/ ,
Direct ticketing link: https://www.showtix4u.com/events/closerthanever
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The Argyle Theatre Encore! Gala and You Are There
Out of Town17 hours ago
“speaking of sneaking” Spins It’s Queer Folktale Web Fascinatingly at Buddies In Bad Times Toronto
Out of Town17 hours ago
The Innocence of Seduction Will Seduce You
Uncategorized14 hours ago
The Pepsi 125 Diner
Broadway4 days ago
Theatre News: Wicked, The Wiz, Hypnotique, Female Troubles and Love In The Time Of Crazy
Food and Drink3 days ago
White Wine for Summer Send Off
Out of Town2 days ago
Loving the Love of “Love’s Labour’s Lost” at the Stratford Festival, Canada