February 26th, 2016
Closer Than Ever, which opened two weeks ago to kickoff International City Theatre’s 2016 season, has been winning fans nightly. Much of that can be attributed to the endlessly talented cast. We were able to sit with cast member Adam von Almen and ask him some questions about his work on this show, and he was kind enough to respond. Enjoy!
1. As someone who has worked at ICT before, how has your experience been this time?
Working at ICT this time around is COMPLETELY different, mainly because of the material. My previous production was The Heir Apparent, a French farce, spoken completely in rhyming couplets, and Closer Than Ever is a contemporary musical theater piece. I also performed the whole show of The Heir Apparent on my knees, which is also a perk to this current production. Ha! But I jumped at the chance to come back to ICT because, whether the material is a play or a musical, caryn always picks shows that contain challenging and emotional roles for an actor, and Closer Than Ever is no exception. It’s a behemoth of a sing, but so rewarding! I’m so happy ICT subscribers get to see me actually put my music degree to use this time too!
2. What do you hope audiences take from Closer Than Ever?
I hope audiences are willing to go on the extreme roller coaster of emotions with the cast. We are up there portraying happiness, sadness, anger, joy, humor, resentment, obsession, ecstasy, hope … the list goes on, and while it’s therapeutic for us, it’s also for the audience. It’s easy to sit back and listen to the gorgeous melodies of the composer, David Shire, but that’s only half of the experience. I feel like the people that get the most out of this production are the ones that are really listening to Richard Maltby, Jr.’s lyrics and connecting with us. It’s my hope every night that the audiences will find a couple songs that really relate to their personal being, whether it be from a past or current experience, and can reflect upon it critically or fondly, and have fun of course! Like I said, it’s a roller coaster!
3. Which song is your favorite to perform and why?
It’s funny, because my favorite song to perform changes every night. Some nights I’m feeling a little more crazy and obsessive than others so the song “What Am I Doin” is always a blast to sing. But the song “One of the Good Guys” is definitely a favorite every night, mainly because I really connect to the lyrics and of the solos I sing, it gets one of the biggest connections from the audience. Not gonna lie though — I love just sitting out there snapping while Penny sing’s “Back on Base” to perfection! Does that count?
4. Because Closer Than Ever is comprised of many individual stories told thru separate songs, what have you enjoyed about this style of musical theatre in comparison to a typical musical that has a linear narrative?
Closer Than Ever can take you to many emotional places at a lightning pace. A more linear musical with a story needs to take time to introduce the characters, situations, time periods, significant events, but Closer Than Ever just jumps right in. I keep mentioning it, but it really is a roller coaster because each song has its own emotional arc, allowing the audience to go on many personal journeys. An exposition, rising action, a climax, and sometimes a resolution are in each song, but then it’s on to the next. Also, many musicals are about flashiness and making sure the audience is entertained, which I totally want as an audience member sometimes, but Closer Than Ever is a nice reprieve from the big spectacles. This type of musical is for the people that want to reflect on REAL human experience and not just pretend. I am listed in the script as Man 1 because every man/ woman is supposed to be able to put themselves in my shoes. It’s daunting, yet so therapeutic!
5. If your life was a musical, what would it be called?
Game of Thrones – The musical
For more information or to purchase tickets to Closer Than Ever: please visit www.ictlongbeach.org or call 562.436.4610.