Jason Robert Brown's Off-Broadway show The Last Five Years takes the stage at Crossroads Theatre Company, April 12-29. Check out this footage of Wendy Fox and Nicholas Belton in rehearsals for the show.
The Last Five Years is a contemporary musical about the five-year relationship between two young New Yorkers: Jamie Wellerstein, a Jewish novelist whose career is rising at lightning speed, and Cathy Hiatt, an actress with integrity struggling to make it in a cut-throat business. The couple earnestly navigates the tumultuous waters of love, while their career successes and hardships tear them apart. Crossroads' production casts Cathy as an African-American, adding an interracial dimension to the show.
Jamie and Cathy convey the passion and intricacies of their five-year relationship completely through musiC. Brown's breathtaking score drives the brutally honest, heart-wrenching lyrics of two people struggling to make their love work in a complicated world of career pressures and expectations.
The drama unfolds with a storytelling twist: Cathy recounts her side of the relationship in reverse order from the end to the beginning, while Jamie offers his version from beginning to end. The show opens with Cathy's poignant number, "I'm Still Hurting," after their marriage has fallen apart.
Jamie follows with the upbeat "Shiksa Goddess," joyously expressing his excitement over meeting and falling in love with Cathy. Though they share a narrative, the couple sings together in the same space and time only once: when their two stories intersect as they exchange wedding vows in "The Next Ten Minutes."
Wendy Fox, who last appeared in Crossroads' productions of Sheila's Day, during the 30th anniversary season in 2009 in New Brunswick and again in Johannesburg, South Africa at the Market Theatre, returns as Cathy. Fox's credits include Rent National Tour, Little Shop of Horrors and Smokey Joe's Café. Nicholas Belton from Broadway's revival of Hair makes his debut at Crossroads as Jamie; other credits include My Life with Albertine at Playwrights Horizons, Wicked and Aida.
Directing The Last Five Years is Obie Award-winning director Leah C. Gardiner, who most recently directed the world premiere of Sucker Punch at The Studio Theatre in Washington D.C. Gardiner won the 2011 Obie Award for directing Born Bad at Soho Rep Theatre; other credits include the world premiere of Clementine in the Lower Nine at TheatreWorks, The Piano Lesson and Top Dog/Underdog. She returns to Crossroads after many years, having served as an administrative assistant for the Associate Artists program during 1991-1992 which included Ruby Dee, Anna Deveare Smith, Avery Brooks and others.
Writer and composer Jason Robert Brown won the Drama Desk Award for Best Music and Best Lyrics for The Last Five Years after it premiered Off-Broadway in 2002. Previously Brown had received a Tony Award for Parade in 1999. When approached by Crossroads Theatre Company's Artistic Director Marshall Jones III with the prospect of non-traditional casting of The Last Five Years, Brown responded enthusiastically, saying he was "very excited by the idea of having the show done at Crossroads."
Tickets: $40 previews, $65 for opening night including a reception; $50 all others. Purchase online at www.CrossroadsTheatreCompany.org or call 732-545-8100. Crossroads Theatre is located at 7 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08901