‘Close To You: Bacharach Reimagined,’ the Bacharach musical featuring the world-famous song catalogue of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, is to come into London’s West End next month. The show stars 27-year-old singer Kyle Riabko, who has been starring in the London fringe staging of the production, titled ‘What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined,’ after a successful New York run.
After playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory from July until last Friday (3), the retitled Bacharach musical will open at the Criterion Theatre from October 3, initially booking until January 10. The show has won acclaim for its new approach to the songbook musical, in which Riabko has reinterpreted countless Bacharach & David classics such as ‘Alfie,’ ‘I Say A Little Prayer,’ ‘What’s New Pussycat,’ ‘This Guy’s In Love With You’ and of course ‘Close To You.’
The new show title reflects the huge popularity of the Burt & Hal song first recorded in 1963 by actor-singer Richard Chamberlain, the following year by Dionne Warwick, and then definitively by the Carpenters. Their version of ‘(They Long To Be) Close To You’ topped the US chart for four weeks in the summer of 1970 and was greatly admired by both Bacharach and David.
Bacharach has given the show his seal of approval and joined the London cast at the Menier on opening night. “It’s brilliant,” he said. “Kyle has done something truly unique with my music. I loved it!”
In his notes for the fringe version, Riabko wrote: “How would I instinctively play each song if I were to pick up a guitar or piano and plunk out the chords? I tried smashing them together into a combined piece and made note of when it worked and when it didn’t.
“I wanted to try presenting some of these songs within backbeats that I grew up with, whether it’s the pulsing funk of Sly and The Family Stone, or the balladeering of Paul Simon, or the Delta blues of Muddy Waters. I just started experimenting with those influences, trying them out in different combinations.
“This was an opportunity for a younger generation to continue carrying the torch of an already timeless collection of music. Because what is timelessness without the voice of youth?”
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