Phoenix Theatre presents a love story in order and in reverse
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press
There are two versions of every love story. The version you get depends on which half of the couple you ask. Audiences for The Last Five Years, running at The Phoenix Theatre Company March 15 through April 2, will get the story of a marriage from both perspectives, with a twist.
The musical imaginatively chronicles five years of a relationship, from meeting to break-up and from break-up to meeting.
The story, told in chronological order by one character and reverse order by the other, follows Jamie Wellerstein, a rising novelist, and Cathy Hiatt, a struggling actress, in New York City.
“This show is special to me because it is truly about storytelling, whittled down to the simplest form. It takes the audience on an emotional journey with nothing more than the talent, the music and the stage,” said Director Dwayne Hartford. “While there are only two characters, they are extremely complex and interesting. The audience will be wowed by their talent and nostalgic about their own journey with young love that may, or may not, have worked out.”
The intimate and bittersweet musical by Jason Robert Brown may captivate audiences with its emotional examination of relationships and the ingenious, interchanging structure between past and present. ‘The Last Five Years’ is semi-autobiographical with Mr. Brown sharing that the inspiration came from “working through the very painful wreckage of a relationship that meant a lot to me.”
His goal was to tell a simple story about a relationship falling apart.
Mr. Brown is a three-time Tony Award-winner whose Broadway credits include Parade, The Bridges of Madison County and Mr. Saturday Night. Since its premiere in Chicago in 2001, The Last Five Years, has enjoyed two Off-Broadway productions, an Off West-End production, and a film starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan in 2014.
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Phoenix Theatre presents a love story in two perspectives
“The scenic design strives to capture the energy of young love in this whirlwind five year relationship, which pairs perfectly with the energy of New York City. An abstracted New York Skyline is silhouetted by what could be a sunrise or a sunset. A series of platforms emphasize a horizontal pulling apart and a turntable is used with minimal furnishings to set the scene for each moment we glimpse in their relationship. The six person band is onstage floating on their individual platforms to further feed the energy of this emotional journey between two people in and out of love,” added Sarah Harris, scenic designer.
The Phoenix Theatre Company cast of ‘The Last Five Years’ includes Šime Košta as Jamie and Alyssa Chiarello as Cathy, who are both pictured above in character. Understudies include Kade Bailey and Daniela Delahuerta.