Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Last Five Years: What's Not to Love?

If you’re a musical theatre person, you’ve probably heard of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years, and if you’ve heard of it, you’ve probably listened to it and subsequently become obsessed with this show.

The Last Five Years has enjoyed more than 500 productions in America (many in colleges and high schools) and thousands more overseas. The question then is, “Why is everyone so in love with this show?”  What is it about this story that has people lining up outside theaters around the world?

In search of an answer, we checked out blogs and talked to people within our own offices:

Credit: Teresa Wood

"I love The Last Five Years because the songs show such masterful musical theatre songwriting, but at the same time they feel fresh, simple, and catchy. I also love the show because its modest scope allows for the poignant moments to come across in a clean and elegant way… the show doesn’t hit us over the head with how sad it is."
Hunter (Signature Publicity and Communications Manager)

“I think people find Jamie’s enthusiasm and artistic success inspiring and inviting. Artists like it because it’s at least partially about the experience of being an artist (both succeeding and failing). Actors like it because it is full of great audition songs. Anybody who’s ever been unsure about dating someone likes it because it speaks to a lot of common difficulties in relationships.”
Joan (Signature Education Intern)

“As much fun as it is to see shows about people who sing and escape Nazis (The Sound of Music) or free flying monkeys (Wicked) sometimes it’s therapeutic and personally enlightening to see a show that feels like it’s about your life.”
– Kari (blogger)

New York Post blogger Elisabeth Vincentelli believes that for the younger generation, it comes down to the show's “specific yet romantic depiction of life in New York City. Brown might as well have written an open letter to creative small-town kids who can’t wait to graduate and move to the big city.”
– Elisabeth Vincentelli (NY Post Blogger)

Credit: Teresa Wood
“There’s a warmth to that voicing and orchestration that just draws you in from the start, and for the next 90 minutes, I sat there watching a master class in how to construct an intimate chamber musical about what it is to love and lose… I wouldn’t experience the pain of romantic heartbreak for the first time until three years later, but The Last Five Years was the only thing I wanted to listen to during that period, because there was something so universal about the storytelling that it was the only thing with which I could identify.”
– Gregory Jacobs-Roseman (blogger) 

Regarding Signature's production, Washington Post reviewer Nelson Pressley remarked "[The show]hurtles with energy: The story-rich songs soar with youthful expectation and cut with the fury of thwarted desires... Both characters have abrasive qualities — it’s a strength of Brown’s writing — yet Weaver and Gardiner (who ages convincingly) are appealing enough to keep your rooting interest high."
Read the full review here.

What do you love about the The Last Five Years?
Tell us by tweeting @sigtheatre and using the hashtag #sigL5Y.

Credit: Teresa Wood
Signature is lucky to be working with a fantastic team of actors, designers, musicians, director, etc on this production. Click here for some of James Gardiner's thoughts on his character and check out "A Quick 5 with Erin Weaver."

P.S. If you enjoyed his performance, give a shout out to James on twitter: @jamesdgardiner. As for the talented Erin Weaver and Aaron Posner, you’ll just have to give your regards in person.

Watch the video of Signature Theatre's Page to Stage at the Shirlington Branch Library with guests Aaron Posner (director) and wife Erin Weaver (Cathy).

To find out how to purchase tickets, click here.


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