Closer Than Ever is a musical revue in two acts, with words by Richard Maltby, Jr. and music by David Shire. The revue contains no dialogue, and Maltby and Shire have described this show as a "bookless book musical." The show was originally conceived by Steven Scott Smith as a one act revue entitled Next Time Now!, which was first given at the nightclub Eighty-Eights.
The success of Next Time Now! led to a much expanded production retitled Closer Than Ever that was co-directed by Maltby and Smith. This production began its life at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts during the Summer of 1989. It came to New York the following Fall, opening in previews on 17 October 1989, and officially opening on 6 November 1989 at the off-Broadway Cherry Lane Theatre, where it ran for 312 performances. The cast included Brent Barrett, Sally Mayes, Richard Muenz, and Lynne Wintersteller.
Closer Than Ever features self-contained songs which deal with such diverse topics as security, aging, mid-life crisis, second marriages, working couples, and unrequited love. Maltby and Shire based many of the songs on real-life experiences of their friends, or stories told to them. The revue won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical and Maltby, Shire, and Wintersteller all garnered Drama Desk Award nominations for their respective contributions.
Closer Than Ever: the Musical Lyrics