The Last Five Years, With Adam Kantor and Betsy Wolfe, Extends Prior to Off-Broadway Bow
By Michael Gioia
Second Stage Theatre's new production of Jason Robert Brown's musical The Last Five Years, which will star Adam Kantor (Mark in the final Broadway cast of Rent) and Betsy Wolfe (Everyday Rapture, The Mystery of Edwin Drood) as the couple who falls in and out of love, has extended its Off-Broadway run prior to its March 7 premiere.
Due to high ticket demand, The Last Five Years, directed by the composer himself, will play an additional week through April 28; it was originally scheduled through April 21. The Off-Broadway revival will officially open April 2.
This is the first New York City production of the popular property (500 regional productions and 3,000 performances around the world) in 11 years. The show has book, music and lyrics by Brown, the Tony Award-winning composer of Parade.
According to Second Stage, the musical "tells the emotionally powerful story of two twenty-something New Yorkers who dive head first into a marriage fueled by the optimism that comes with finding 'the one.' But in a city where professional and personal passions collide and only the strongest relationships survive, navigating the waters of love and matrimony can sometimes prove too much. Funny, honest and intimate, with an exuberantly romantic score, The Last Five Years takes a bold look at one young couple's hope that love endures the test of time."
The revival will feature scenic design by Derek McLane, costume design by Emily Rebholz, lighting design by Jeff Croiter and sound design by Jon Weston. The musical director will be Thomas Murray.
Brown said in an earlier statement, "It means so much to me to be able to bring The Last Five Years back to New York after 11 years, especially since New York is such an important character in it. In so many ways, it feels like coming home. When we did the show in 2002, we had two amazing young performers who were just then on the verge of explosive careers in the theater; I think that we've got the same situation with Adam and Betsy. I've been watching them for so long, and am so excited to get them at this amazing moment in their lives as artists. I'm looking forward to rehearsing with them and then watching them bring these two characters to a new and fresh life."
Performances play Second Stage's Tony Kiser Theatre at 305 W. 43rd Street.
For more information, visit 2ST.com.
The Last Five Years premiered Off-Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theatre in 2002 in a production starring Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie Rene Scott, directed by Daisy Prince. The musical received the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music and Outstanding Lyrics, and was nominated for five additional Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Musical. It was also nominated for the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical.
A cast album preserves the experience.
Brown wrote music and lyrics for the musicals 13, written with Robert Horn and Dan Elish (Broadway); The Last Five Years (Off-Broadway); Parade, written with Alfred Uhry and directed by Harold Prince (Lincoln Center Theater on Broadway, for which he won the Best Score Tony); Songs for a New World, a theatrical song cycle directed by Daisy Prince (Off-Broadway). Parade was also the subject of a major revival directed by Rob Ashford, first at London's Donmar Warehouse and then at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
His upcoming musical projects include Honeymoon in Vegas, a musical adaptation of the 1992 film, written with Andrew Bergman, and The Bridges of Madison County, a musical adapted with Marsha Norman from the bestselling novel. He is also working with Daisy Prince and Jonathan Marc Sherman on a new chamber musical called The Connector. His orchestral adaptation of E.B. White's novel, The Trumpet of the Swan, premiered at the Kennedy Center with John Lithgow and the National Symphony Orchestra. He is the winner of the 2002 Kleban Award for Outstanding Lyrics and the 1996 Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Foundation Award for Musical Theatre. As a soloist or with his band The Caucasian Rhythm Kings, Jason has performed sold-out concerts around the world. His first solo album, "Wearing Someone Else's Clothes," featuring his band The Caucasian Rhythm Kings, was named one of Amazon.com's Best of 2005, and is available from Sh-K-Boom Records. His collaboration with singer Lauren Kennedy, "Songs of Jason Robert Brown," is available on the PS Classics label.
Brown is also the composer of the incidental music for David Lindsay-Abaire’s Kimberly Akimbo and Fuddy Meers, Marsha Norman's Last Dance, David Marshall Grant's Current Events, Kenneth Lonergan's The Waverly Gallery and the Irish Repertory Theater's production of Long Day's Journey Into Night. He will be serving as the musical supervisor and arranger for the upcoming musical Prince of Broadway, a celebration of the career of Harold Prince. Brown studied composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, with Samuel Adler, Christopher Rouse, and Joseph Schwantner.
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