Bleh with Barry

Random with a cynical twist of lime.

The Last Five Years

with 4 comments

I don’t know if any of you out there in the blog world are familiar with the musical The Last Five Years, but it is brilliant. From the concept itself to the music of Jason Robert Brown, it is amazing. It is the perfect blend of narration, conceptual idea, and beautiful music.

The story of the musical follows two main characters (actually the only people in the show) and their relationship, marriage, and the inevitable failure of both. You’re probably sitting there wondering how this can be a new or different idea. And if you’re looking for an offbeat story, don’t let the plot throw you to thinking that it’s mediocre (even though the plot is beautifully written). The true beauty of this musical lies in the format. Cathy, the female lead and also an actress, starts at the end of the relationship in the play and moves backwards through every fight and lovely moment until we get to the beginning. Jamie, the male lead and a budding writer, on the other hand, starts at the beginning and moves toward the end. While both of them effect the other over the course of the musical, they only have a couple of songs that they sing together, and when they do, believe me when I say it’s for dramatic and emotional effect.

With the vocal talents of Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie Rene Scott, Jason Robert Brown (a relative unknown among the musical greats of Sondheim and Webber) has his music brought to life. With fun pieces such as “Summer in Ohio,” “Shiksa Goddess,” and others, Brown lightens the mood of the story by making us see that relationships aren’t all bad…there is good in even the worst of relationships. But this also makes the other powerful numbers like “Still Hurting”, “Nobody Needs to Know”, “Goodbye Until Tomorrow/I Could Never Rescue You”, and others stand out to be even more heartbreaking and beautiful. It is a perfect blend of both teetering on the edge of collapse, just like the couple’s marriage.

Although The Last Five Years has been out since 2002, it still holds true today and is a beautiful music, lyrics, and mood can still touch the masses. It is something that is truly timeless in my opinions and is a musical that I continue to come back to while others may fade into the recesses of my mind. Why? Because the ideas are something that we can relate to…losing love after working so hard to see it succeed and grow.

“Still Hurting”

“Climbing Up Hill”

“Shiksa Goddess”

4 Responses

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  1. I don’t think it’s fair to call Jason Robert Brown a relative unknown! I think you coul call his wife one, but not him…He’s had 4 shows produced on or off-Broadway, and he’s collaborated with several others. He’s teaching a class on musical theatre at Columbia, for crying out loud!


    April 27, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    • He hasn’t hit it big yet. He is still unknown to a lot of people…even people who know musicals because he hasn’t hit it big. Also, relative unknown doesn’t mean that he’s entirely unknown.


      April 28, 2010 at 12:26 am

      • I still disagree. He’s pretty well-known among theatre people. At my Sweeney auditions, like 5 people sang his pieces. Now, people like Pasek and Paul, THEY’RE obscure.


        April 30, 2010 at 10:28 pm

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Barry Rich. Barry Rich said: The Last Five Years: […]

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