The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown.
Many who know me know my obsession with this show. It started when a good friend (who one day became my husband) introduced me to the beautiful soundtrack from the show, delivering the CD into my hands with the strict instructions to only listen to it when I can be free from other distraction; just sit, close my eyes, and absorb it. I was entranced. The more I listened to it, the more complex musical and emotional layers unwrapped themselves.
For those who don't know of it, it is partially autobiographical in nature, written close on the heels of Jason Robert Brown's own failed marriage. It follows a couple over five years, from meeting to marriage to divorce. The kicker is that each half of the couple lives out the story in opposite time-lines; hers going from the end backward to the beginning and his in normal chronological order. Everything is 20/20 in hindsight? To a degree, yes. For the perceptive, warning signs and their repercussions are seen almost side by side as the audience jumps back and forth between the two time-lines and perspectives. Not only in the verbal plot does this happen, but there are stunning musical themes that strengthen this element as well, such as a haunting waltz heard at the start of the show in the wife's abandonment, again in the middle of the show during the wedding scene, and once more at the end of the show as the husband writes a goodbye letter.
Some may find this a rather dark and depressing subject for a musical. Perhaps that is part of what attracted me. I believe that music has the ability to awaken layers of emotion and places in our hearts that often words can't...so when it is combined with such storytelling it can reach into us in amazing ways. And like any good story, I think it helps us to see another corner of the human experience; perhaps even let us examine what went wrong for this couple and how we could avoid that ourselves.
So since that day that my darling husband-to-be loaned me the soundtrack, I continued to listen to it until I had memorized about 90% of it. I became so enamored of it that I turned into an evangelist for the show, passing on the CD whenever I could, including to the Artistic Director of the company I have been apprenticing at this year. It was my dream role and ever since I considered doing this apprenticeship I knew I would want this show to be my season project. So when I started my first day on the job and Ron Reed took me aside to say he'd love it if I did The Last Five Years as my project I was on Cloud 9.
Pretty much from the time I heard the music I knew that I would love to do this role...and to do it with the gloriously talented man who became my husband. His voice is amazing...beyond words, and that is no wifely-pride exaggeration. Only thing is that when I kept asking him, he'd always say that it was written for a Tenor and he is a Baritone and so it would never happen. Well, that excuse eventually fell away, and with a little transposing of keys for some of the songs I have been granted the pleasure of hearing him sing all of this great music.
This process has been long and hard, but highly rewarding. I have learned much. I've acted, at least partially, as stage manager, publicist and administrator while working on lighting hang & focus times and numerous other tasks, all while acting/singing in the rehearsals too. Certainly demanding, but I now know how to do many things I didn't before. All of that is with the generous help of loving and knowledgable friends.
And now the show is almost ready to open! We have a Tech run tomorrow night, a dress rehearsal on Tuesday and a preview on Wednesday. After that, our run is very short; only Thursday through Saturday.
This show has so much love and work put into it by many parties.
So if you are free, please come out and see this show. It would certainly mean the world to me and I really do believe in the quality of this show. It is worth the hour and a half and the $15.
So come out and see it! You can buy tickets here.