November 23, 2015

It has been revealed that the West End cast of Close To You: Bacharach Reimagined are in the studio recording a cast album. 

 

Following its UK premiere at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Close To You transferred to the Criterion Theatre in October where it is currently booking until Valentine’s Day on 14th February 2016. Featuring new arrangements of Burt Bacharach’s songbook, Close To You broke box office records at the Criterion with the biggest advance in the venue’s history.

 

Kyle Riabko, who co-created the show with David Lane Seltzer, leads the cast. Direction is bySteven Hoggett. The cast also includes: Daniel Bailen, Greg Coulson, Anastacia McCleskey, Stephanie McKeon, Renato Paris and James Williams.

October 16, 2015

Accompanying themselves on all sorts of instruments throughout the show, the cast are ridiculously talented. Riabko leads the company terrifically; his stage presence is strong and he his cleverly placed vocal gymnastics sound so effortless. When Anastacia McCleskey sings for her life time stands still - she is phenomenal.

October 16, 2015

The energetic young cast of seven are fronted by Kyle Riabko (co-conceiver of the show and provider of the lead vocal and considerable guitar skills upon which its sound is built) in dancing the audience through his unique and fresh arrangements of over 30 Bacharach hits. The sheer range of talent on display facilitates masterful delivery in a variety of stylistic forms – from high-tempo, rocky interpretations of Message to Michael and Do You Know the Way to San Jose?, through to a finale including a reggae-tinge to What the World Needs Now Is Love. A middle section of Bacharach’s ballads showcases the contrasting sweet/soulful voices of Stephanie McKeon and Anastacia McCleskey to heart-wrenching effect, with the latter’s paired-back, powerhouse performance of Don’t Make Me Over a real highlight.

October 16, 2015

Rather, familiar songs such as I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself or Windows Of The World find a renewed emotional clarity by virtue of Riabko’s aromatic, bluesy fretwork, folky backing harmonies and notably Anastacia McCleskey’s smoky soul vocals.

October 15, 2015

First produced at Off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop in 2013, it was then restaged at London's Menier Chocolate Factory last summer with co-creator and lead singer/guitarist Kyle Riabko recreating his New York troubadour performance, alongside fellow imports Daniel Bailen and James Williams, joining a new company featuring the big voiced American Anastacia McCleskey, the laid-back Dublin-born Stephanie McKeon, and British additions Greg Coulson and Renato Paris. The musicianship of the entire ensemble is absolutely superb, and their palpable love for the material is truly infectious.

October 15, 2015

Admittedly, the stand-out individuals are definitely Kyle Riabko, who is the leading male vocal on the majority of tunes (who also plays the most epic guitar solo I’ve ever seen in theatre before), and Anastacia McCleskey, whose rendition of Don’t Make Me Over had the hairs standing up on the back of my neck.

July 16, 2015

Each performer is as talented as the other, and while they all have a principal instrument, they’re equally happy to pluck down a ukulele or guitar from the walls, or dig out some percussion from behind the sofas. Riabko, an accomplished guitarist, has a great voice, with a beautiful clear tone, and is comfortable across various styles; it’s McCleskey and Paris, though, who deliver the stand-out vocals of the evening.

July 16, 2015

Very rarely does a piece of theatre as special as What's It All About? Bacharach Reimaginedcome along. Kyle Riabko and David Lane Seltzer's show presents Burt Bacharach's back catalogue in an entirely new way, highlighting and bringing together recurring themes surrounding love and the true meaning of life.

 

Special mentions must also go to Anastacia McCleskey, Stephanie McKeonand Renato Paris whose voices I could listen to for ever more.

July 7, 2015

With her incredible voice and cast iron lungs, Anastacia McCleskey has become one of Broadway’s regular starlets. Having starred in smash hits such as Hair and The Book of Mormon, the actress has crossed the Atlantic to wow UK audiences with her soulful tones. McCleskey will be starring in the innovative new piece, ‘What's It All About? Bacharach Reimagined’, which she describes as ‘A younger take on Burt Bacharach’s music.’

July 2, 2015

What's It All About starring Anastacia McCleskey, Renato Paris, and Kyle Riabko is featured on a list of 31 shows that should be on the radar of any London theatre goer!

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