by: Sandi Durell

The many Doors (opening number) we open and close during a lifetime are distinctively apparent in the sparse, appropriate set at the York Theatre (designed by Artistic Director James Morgan) as this gem of musical magic is revived. The original 1989 production of Closer Than Ever,written by Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire, proved to be iconic with its insightfulness into the human condition. Have things changed? Well, just a bit in this techno age of communication and social media. But you know that old adage – the more things change, the more they stay the same!

What is immediately significant and noticeable is the blessed hand of Mr. Maltby’s winning direction making each song and characterization a personal explosive in-your-face styling of I’m talking to you! The topics cover all emotional arenas: dreams, disappointments, love, marriage, sex, intimacy, parenthood, sadness, loss, goals; from fitness = pain = bullshit, it’s two hours of campy fun to serious sentiment as each song is a self-contained vignette and story.

When the comedic, gutsy Colella gives a what for to Dvorsky in “You Wanna Be My Friend” you know she’s had it with friends and wants much more. Her sly I’ve got a secret rendition of “Miss Byrd” is delicious, as is her sexy “Back on Base” with bassist Alan Stevens Hewitt.

Noll’s exquisite soprano provides the depth and need to stay tightly woven in her day to day “Patterns” to survive but then has fun as a scientist explaining the sex life of “The Bear, the Tiger, the Hamster and the Mole.”

Dvorsky tries hard to be “There” with his mate, Colella, but fails miserably in the relationship. His heart wrenching “If I Sing,” an homage to a father who played piano and has passed on, doesn’t leave a dry eye.

Viviano is forever animated and in the moment, providing lots of excitement in every number he undertakes and gives a strong portrayal as a man who still dreams about wandering even though he’s “One of the Good Guys.” Family relationships reach epic proportions in the 3-some vocal “Father of Fathers” with Dvorsky, Viviano and the all encompassing talents of musical director/pianist Andrew Gerle.

The pace is crisp, the choreography by Kurt Stamm flawless as the two acts move quickly and touch the heart strings in all the right places, with the added pleasure sans mics!

No, “It’s Never That Easy” and yes, “I’ve Been Here Before” but in truth, “I Wouldn’t Go Back.”

“Closer Than Ever” has been extended thru August 25th and if you’re part of the human race – – you must see this revival. www.yorktheatre.org at St. Peter’s Church, West 54th Street, NYC