Entertainment » Music

The Last Five Years - 2013 Off-Broadway Cast Recording

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Monday Sep 30, 2013
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"The Last Five Years" is one of Jason Robert Brown’s most frequently produced musicals. With a cast of only two actors and a sung-through score, it is an economic production for any level of theater. It’s also a well-written, poignant, and emotional tale of a doomed five-year relationship between a young couple struggling between the romantic ties that bind and the pulls of occupational success.

Second Stage Theatre in New York produced the 2013 Off-Broadway production, extending the run three times, and Ghostlight Records has now released the recording featuring Adam Kantor ("Rent") as Jamie, the husband whose optimism and anticipation about meeting and marrying Cathy (played by Betsy Wolfe, "The Mystery of Edwin Drood") is blackened by his rising star as an author.

The performances are refreshing, especially in comparison with the original 2002 recording, which starred two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz, and Tony nominated Sherie Rene Scott, and the current couple should anticipate the same accolades in their futures that were bestowed upon their predecessors. Wolfe brings a lighter touch to Cathy, yet is not afraid to kick up her psychosis as Cathy begins to recognize that her pursuit of an acting career isn’t as important as her love of Jaime. Kantor, meanwhile, gives Jamie a more Jewish sensibility, especially in "Shiksa Goddess" and the delightful "The Schmuel Song," giving the relationship’s other obstacle - religion - a greater prominence.

The individual songs are some of the strongest in Brown’s catalog. In addition to the songs mentioned above, the score includes "I’m Still Hurting," "Moving Too Fast," and "I Can Do Better Than That," which Kantor and Wolfe deliver as effortlessly as if they’ve been using them for auditions for years. The show as a whole is a sad look at a doomed relationship, but Brown’s direction of the work makes us want to hear what these two people have to say, nonetheless.

"The Last Five Years: 2013 OBCR"
Jason Robert Brown
CD and digital formats
Ghostlight Records

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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