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Musical ‘The Last Five Years’ explores relationship

Christina Collins Burton
Staff Writer

Handling a break-up can be a delicate process whether one is dating or in a serious relationship. In the play “The Last Five Years,” audiences will be treated to the private relationship between two people.

The two characters come into their relationship innocently and face the hardships that any normal couple would face. As we follow a man’s excitement over finding his dream woman, we watch the woman walk backward through a relationship she has seen fall apart before her eyes.

The play is a contemporary musical originally written by Jason Robert Brown and is being presented in its original form to the audience of La Verne. The two-actor cast keeps the play intimate between the characters and the audience.

“I love Jason Brown,” Annie Curasi, senior theater major, said. “The music is brilliant and everything is so real and close to life.”

Curasi is portraying Cathy for her senior performance thesis, and selected the story for its familiarity. Her character, Cathy, is an aspiring actress that is wooed by a writer.

“Personally, I hate (Cathy). I am nothing like her,” Curasi said. “But I like the challenge of her character as she is forced to rely on (Jamie).”

Cathy’s husband, Jamie, played by returning alumni James Ellis, who auditioned after hearing about the role from Curasi. His character is an up and coming writer who is becoming famous fast.

“It’s not a role I’ve done before,” Ellis said. “He is very different from who I am. Jamie is confident and talented. Honestly I don’t think he gets why Cathy doesn’t just go along with his success and he desperately wants her to.”

Carol Stephenson, director for the ULV theater production of the “Last Five Years” has worked closely with Curasi and Ellis as they prepared for opening weekend.

“Hopefully (the audience) will be clear as to what is happening,” Stephenson said. “I think at its peak the audience is going to be torn between the two (characters); they’ll do a lot of identifying with them.”

The performers have faced rough rehearsals as they prepared for opening night. Construction in the theater’s cabaret prevented them from using the space. Though this has caused delay, both actors look forward to their first performance with high hopes.

The story promises to both entertain audiences and remind anyone that has ever seen a relationship unravel before them what it is like.

Either by laughing or by crying, audiences will find something to relate to in this unique show.

“If they are going to leave feeling anything, I hope they leave and give their all, nothing but 100 percent and that’s what I hope they walk away with,” Curasi said.

“The Last Five Years” opened last night at 7:30 p.m.

The play will have two more performances tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in the Dailey Theatre.

Students get in for $3 and non-students pay $5.

Christina Collins Burton can be reached at christina.burton@laverne.edu.

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