In Broadway Rose Theatre Company‘s season finale, The Last Five Years (writer and composer Jason Robert Brown), tells the story of the short marriage of two young artists–Cathy (Kailey Rhodes) and Jamie ( Jeff Rosick). Told in a non-linear format Cathy, a struggling actor, starts her tale at the end of the marriage, working backward through the timeline. Jamie, a literary prodigy, begins his at the onset of the relationship. The two narratives intersect on their wedding day before diverging again to arrive once again at the beginning, and end, of their five years together.
The pair tell their stories separately–except for the wedding scene–which pretty much summarizes their marriage. This is all musical, all songs and no dialog, with two numbers together midway through the show when the pair get married–a sweet and touching scene that is the highlight of the show.
It’s a tender, tragic tale, dizzingly romantic at the beginning and bitter at the end. The story loosely follows the story of the playwright’s first marriage to a struggling actor.
Expertly directed by Broadway Rose Artistic Director Sharon Maroney, this is a fine production featuring top actor/singers, excellent musical direction by Brian Michael, and a talented creative team including Allison Dawe, costume design; Carl Faber, lighting design; Brian Karl Moen, sound design; Jeff Duncan, production manager; Liz Carlson, assistant production manager; Phil McBeth, technical director; and Jessica Junor, stage manager.
Broadway Rose never intended its 30th season to consist of four fully staged streaming musicals, but there you are. We roll with the punches, and in that regard Broadway Rose has done better than most. It was the first local theatre to stream a fully staged production, and they have done it safely. Three of this season’s four musicals featured just two players. While this is a viable alternative to live stage productions, we can only hope that all the region’s wonderful theatres are open by fall.
The Last Five Years is available for streaming through May 16. Household tickets for the show are $25 for a 48-hour rental; Oregon Trail Card rentals are $5. Tickets are available here.