The Last Five Years

musicals and operas · oscar productions · Ages 16+ · United States

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June 18, 2012 certified reviewer

My overall impression

“The Last Five Years” is a contemporary, award winning, musical written by Tony award winning composer and lyricist Jason Robert Brown (Parade, Songs For A New World, 13). It was cited as one of Time Magazine’s “Ten Best of 2001” and won Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics.

The musical chronicles a five year marriage, from beginning to end … or from end to beginning, depending on how you look at it, through song. Oscar Productions presents with Peter Berube directing the show at the Complex as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

“The Last Five Years” is an intensely personal look at the 5-year relationship between a rising novelist, Jamie Wellerstein (Nate Aylworth) and Cathy Hyatt (Aly French), a struggling actress. Theirs is an intense love, but from the first song we know it does not survive as Cathy tells us in “I’m Still Hurting.” Jamie then sings the praises of the “Shiksa Goddess” he’s just met.

It soon becomes clear that Jamie lives their relationship from beginning to end in the play, while Cathy lives it from end to beginning. It helps to know this before seeing the show as it makes the musical sequences much more understandable and seem less out of emotional order. Moods swing back and forth in time, all presented authentically and with great soul by both Aylworth and French.

Lauren Fraley on keyboard accompanies the duo, who speak only through song during the entire play.

By Shari Barrett
June 17, 2012

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