Indiana Daily Student

IU Summer Theatre to present on-demand musical and two audio plays

IU Summer Theatre’s July season includes a performance of the musical “Closer Than Ever” and two audio plays: “Waycross” and “Twisted Tales of Poe".
IU Summer Theatre’s July season includes a performance of the musical “Closer Than Ever” and two audio plays: “Waycross” and “Twisted Tales of Poe".

IU Summer Theatre’s July season includes a performance of the musical “Closer Than Ever” from July 18-31 and two audio plays, according to the IUST website

“Closer Than Ever” features lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. and music by David Shire, according to the website. Directed and choreographed by IU theatre professor DJ Gray with musical direction by IU theatre professor Terry LaBolt, IU’s production features a crew of 18 students and a cast of 6 students. 

Gray said the production also includes a live three-person band, featuring LaBolt on grand piano alongside a drummer and a combo bassist and electric guitarist.

The two-act show features 21 songs and has a run time of 1 hour and 45 minutes, Gray said. A promo video is available on IU Theatre’s YouTube page and on-demand streaming access is available for purchase online.

General admission is $15 per streaming device and student tickets cost $5 per device, assistant director and choreographer Sydney Greene said. The tickets, which will provide direct access to on-demand streaming, can be purchased starting at 7:30 p.m. on July 18 and the production will be available to stream for 48 hours.

Although the show was set to be filmed from the start, the actors rehearsed with the mindset of performing to a live audience.

“In preparing this piece, our goal was to act as if we were videotaping a normal show,” Gray said. “We were not focused on doing it for a screen, we were focused on doing it for an audience and capturing a real show. This was filmed all in sequence, in live time with a live band.”

The filming took place over two days, with time set aside on the second day to refilm in case of any on-stage mistakes or technical issues. Greene said three cameras were set up in the theatre to capture the performance, filming the show from an audience’s perspective.

“We had three different cameras set up in the house and they were all stationary, but the one in the middle was a close-up camera so it would zoom in to the actors,” Greene said. “We had these times where the camera gets really close, which is a special feature that we wouldn’t be able to do if it was just a live show.”

Although the original musical was developed in the 1980s, Gray said it still contains valuable life lessons in 2021. Viewers familiar with the traditional “Closer Than Ever” will notice some creative differences between the original and IUST’s production, including a cast of six people instead of four.

“I have a 2020 perspective on this piece that is from the 1980s,” Gray said. “I’m pretty proud of how the actors responded and were able to take strides in finding a deeper place within the piece.”

IUST’s July season will also feature two audio plays broadcasted on WFIU: “Waycross” and “Twisted Tales of Poe”, according to the IUST website.

“Waycross” written by IU MFA student and playwright Jayne Deely and directed by IU professor Jenny McKnight will be broadcast for free without an intermission on 103.7 WFIU at 5 p.m. July 17 and 6 p.m. July 18. The audio play was recorded in March and features an eight person cast, according to the production’s website.

“Twisted Tales of Poe” written by Philip Grecian from stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe and directed by IU professor Richard Roland will also be broadcast for free without an intermission on 103.7 WFIU at 5 p.m. July 24 and 6 p.m. July 25, according to the production’s website.

“Really strap on those old-timey hats. It is so much like what radio used to be with all the foley art involved in it,” “Twisted Tales of Poe” stage manager Alex Woosley said. “I think truly Poe lover’s all around are going to be into this production of it.” 

The production features a six person cast and four of Poe’s stories: “The Black Cat,” “The Cask of Amontillado”, “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven,” according to the production’s website.

“It’s such a cool adaptation of all the pieces and on top of it you get to use your imagination. That’s something I think is really cool, especially during the pandemic, to be able to have radio shows and to be able to express that creativity,” Woosley said. “In summary, I think it’s going to be an excellent show and I think audiences are going to love it.”

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