Asolo Repertory Theatre's THE LAST FIVE YEARS Closes 2/28

By: Feb. 28, 2010
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Jason Robert Brown's award winning musical, The Last Five Years, takes a fresh, contemporary look at romantic involvement. From the thrill of first contact, to the joy and angst of marriage, the audience becomes an intimate witness to how changing fortune shapes a relationship. Known as "the musical for a new generation," The Last Five Years stars married couple and FSU/Asolo Conservatory alumni Kris Danford and Sam Osheroff and is directed by Michael Donald Edwards. The show will play through Feb. 28.

In addition to Mr. Edwards, the creative team includes music direction by Brian Nash, set design by Jeffrey W. Dean, costumes by David Covach, lighting design by Aaron Muhl, projection design by Aaron Rhyne, sound design by Edward Cosla, movement by Jim Hoskins, wig and hair design by Michelle Hart, and stage management by Sarah Gleissner. Musicians include Brian Nash (piano/music director), Chris Peggis (cello), Marc P. Mannino (guitar), and Gail Picha (violin).

The Last Five Years plays s in the Historic Asolo Theater from Thursday, January 21 through February 28, 2010 in repertory with Searching for Eden: The Diaries of Adam and Eve, which stars the same actors/couple as Adam and Eve. For the performers, two demanding productions running in repertory provide a unique acting challenge to showcase their talents. In the musical alone, each must perform songs running at least 4 1/2 The show is an emotionally powerful and intimate musical with an unconventional structure that consists of Cathy, the woman, telling her story backwards while Jamie, the man, tells his story chronologically; the two only meet once, at their wedding in the middle of the show. Jason Robert Brown told the New York Post that the show tackles many of the questions facing young married couples as traditional roles and expectations have disintegrated. "Now it's a question of how do you have a successful marriage and still grow as an individual? Where does a couple find true fulfillment, in each other or in other goals and ambitions?"

"Compulsively enjoyable... The two characters 'make beautiful music together'... The show moves smartly along on the specificity of truth... Unpredictably heartfelt insights, energized by a seductive, rhythmic drive...Expressive, low-rumbling strings of the orchestra... Poignant and ironic... set is simple yet striking... New York sense of humor... Here is a real modern falling-in-and-out-of-love musical... Their last five years make us feel much better about the future of musical theater." -Linda Winer, The New York Post

"A bracing musical theater piece... Brimming with persistent melodies, thoughtful lyrics and a heartfelt, compelling story... Articulated with surprising tenderness... Brown's fine score is diverse... Catchy tunes. There are several here that stick in the memory... Poignant... Intelligent lyrics... Blessed with two gifted performers... A potent reminder of what musicals can be like when they make up their minds to really sing." -Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press

"Pulses with dangerous, irresistible giddiness... MR. Brown is a leading member of a new generation of composers who embody high hopes for the American musical... Brown has captured the delicious energy of being young, gifted and meteoric in New York City... MR. Brown confirms his sparkling facility as a composer, fluidly mixing diverse styles. They range from waltzes to rhythm and blues, from Sondheimesque urbanity to a clever 'Chorus Line'-like audition piece for Cathy." -Ben Brantley, The New York Times

The Last Five Years was originally produced for the New York stage by Arielle Tepper and Marty Bell; originally produced by Northlight Theatre, Chicago, Illinois.

Director's Note by Michael Donald Edwards The first time I heard the score for The Last Five Years, I was instantly hooked. Jason Robert Brown has created an interlocking web of brilliant musical gems - from the lush opening melody of "Still Hurting," through the playful
rhythm of "Shiksa Goddess," all the way to the poignant finale, each song indelibly evokes the strong emotions of the central couple, Cathy and Jamie.

In fact, Cathy and Jamie are more than the central couple - they are the show. The Last Five Years is a musical with only two characters, and the inherent intimacy of that makes experiencing it all the more intense. Beyond the lure of the music, what originally drew me to the piece was its love story about two young, creative people both trying to make it big in the pressure cooker of New York City. But where many musicals feature the rise and fall of a love affair as their main plot, what is so different about The Last Five Years is the way it tells its tale. At the top of the show, we meet Cathy when she's at the end of her marriage to Jamie, but we simultaneously
encounter him five years earlier, on the night of their first date. As she moves backwards in time and he moves forwards, we get to see the bitter and the sweet sides of their romance play out side by side. The result is a series of stunning snapshots - not of their relationship's arc, but of each small, almost ordinary moment when things could have turned out differently, either for better or worse. What consistently kept me intrigued with this piece is the fact that nothing about it is cliché. It is a deceptively deep exploration of the joyous and difficult terrain of connecting with another human being. Brown recognizes the fragmented nature of human lives, and the fact that all too often we are out of step with one another. The Last Five Years takes us on a vibrant journey - one that is by turns heartrending, joyful, painful, and exhilarating, but
always completely and utterly human.

Kris Danford* - Guest artist, fourth season. Previous Asolo roles include Hermione in The Winter's Tale, Beline, Imaginary Invalid, Henrietta, Smash, Carolina Bingley, Pride and Prejudice, and Cinderella, The Plexiglass Slipper. Other favorite projects include Sight Unseen, Five By Tenn and the title role in Mirandolina. Kris gives her love and gratitude to the Covilles, her parents and her wonderful husband - and castmate - Sam.

Sam Osheroff* - Guest artist, second season. Favorite roles include Stanley in Broadway Bound and Cecco the Pirate in Peter Pan (Asolo Rep), Morris in The Heiress and Jamie in The Last 5 Years (Peterborough Players), and Uncle Louie in Lost in Yonkers (Pioneer Theatre). Sam holds an M.F.A. from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory and is a proud member of Actors Equity.

Creative Team Bios
Michael Donald Edwards (Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director; Director, The Life of Galileo and The Last Five Years) is in his fourth season as producing artistic director of Asolo Repertory Theatre. He was previously the associate artistic director for Syracuse Stage and served as artistic director of Shakespeare Santa Cruz for six years. A Garland Award and Drama Logue Award winning director, Mr. Edwards has directed at Indiana Repertory Theatre; GeVa Theatre; Syracuse Stage; The Shakespeare Theatre; San Jose Rep; Opera San Jose; the
Oregon Shakespeare Festival; The Old Globe in San Diego; Virginia Stage Company; the Virginia Opera; the State Theatre of South Australia; Opera Australia; Victoria State Opera; and the Metropolitan Opera. In previous seasons, Mr. Edwards has directed The Smell of the Kill, Amadeus, Nobody Don't Like Yogi, Darwin in Malibu, A Tale of Two Cities, Equus, The Winter's Tale, and Perfect Mendacity for Asolo Rep. This year he is directing The Life of Galileo, The Last Five Years, and pieces in the Asolo Rep: Unplugged festival of new plays.

Brian J. Nash (Musical Director) has been music directing and orchestrating for the theater since the age of 16, and is thrilled to be making his Asolo Rep debut. Recent NYC projects include A Night In Seville (Epic Theater Ensemble), Crossing Brooklyn (Transport Group), Writing Arthur and Something's Wrong With Amandine at TheatreWorks New Works Festival in Palo Alto, CA, Writing Arthur at NAMT, The $trip, Phenomenon at HERE, The Unauthorized Musicology of Ben Folds I and II, Undercover Showtunes, and But I'm A Cheerleader for the New York Musical Theatre Festival, and A Broadway Diva Christmas, starring Ellen Greene and Kathy Brier. Other NYC and regional credits include Songs for a New World, The Sexless Years, Red, Room to Grow, Lend
Me a Tenor, Jesus Christ Superstar, and The Rocky Horror Show. Brian has produced albums for
singer/songwriters Justin Tranter, Shanna Sharp, and Stacy Allyn Baker, recently performed at Town Hall, the Kennedy Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Birdland with Natalie Douglas, and produced and music directed Kate Pazakis' debut album, Unzipped: Live at the Zipper for PS Classics. Brian is in extensive demand as a pianist and singer throughout NYC and has played sold out concerts of the music of Tori Amos; he has also been a featured performer on Rosie and Kelli O'Donnell's r family vacations cruises. His first songs were written for two recent editions of TheATrainPlays, and were featured on NPR's All Things Considered. Brian holds a
Bachelor's of Music degree from Boston Conservatory and studied record production at Berklee College of Music. For more info, please visit BrianJNash.com.

Jeffrey W. Dean Scenic Designer (The Perfume Shop, The Last Five Years) Company Senior Property Master, previous Asolo Rep shows include: Nobody Don't Like Yogi; Laughing Stock; To Kill a Mockingbird; Broadway Bound; The Smell of the Kill; The Front Page; Inherit the Wind; The Corn is Green; Broadway; You Can't Take it with You; Look Homeward; Angel; Much Ado About Nothing; The Diary of Anne Frank; I'm Not Rappaport; Sicilian Vespers; Ernani; Tales of Hoffman and L'Ariesiana for the Sarasota Opera. Execution of Justice; Invictus and The Sum of Us for Florida Studio Theatre. Anna in the Tropics; Dracula and We Got Gershwin for American
Stage. Jeffrey has designed well over 200 shows in Florida including designs for television and fi lm. He is a nationally recognized sculptor and recipient of two Florida Individual Artist Fellowship Awards for set design.

David Covach Costume Designer (Searching for Eden, The Last Five Years) in his fourteenth season, David began with Asolo Rep as a designer/draper and has been the costume shop manager for eight years. In addition to ensuring that all costume production runs smoothly, David is a freelance designer whose credits include: Nobody Don't Like Yogi (Asolo Rep) in the Historic Asolo Theater, Murder by Poe and The Underpants (FSU/Asolo Conservatory), and Five Course Love (Human Race Theatre Company-Dayton, Ohio). He has designed more than 100 productions and worked on more than 100 others. Having worked in all levels of theatre from community theatre to the Broadway stage, David appreciates the uniqueness of each opportunity.
Some of his work is featured at the Motown Café in NY, Sony headquarters in Japan, and the LBJ library in Aaron Muhl Lighting Designer (The Perfume Shop, The Last Five Years) Second season. Asolo Rep Credits: This Wonderful Life, Perfect Mendacity. Regional theater: This Wonderful Life (Syracuse Stage) Around the World in 80 Days, Trapezium, A Moon for the Misbegotten, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Orlando Shakespeare Festival); A Little House on the Prairie, Dancing at Lughnasa (Orlando Repertory Theater). Dance credits: The Snow Falls in the Winter (OtherShore); The Two Pigeons, Las Hermanas, Grosse Fuge, Elite Syncopations, Allegro Brillante, Infernal Gallop, Checkmate, The Rake's Progress, Anna Karenina (Sarasota Ballet); Shifting
Phantoms, The Testimony of Matrimony (Moving Ethos). He is the managing director of production for the Ringling International Arts Festival and the technical director of the Historic Asolo Theater. B.F.A. - University of Aaron Rhyne (bio unavailable at this time)

Edward Cosla Sound Designer (The Last Five Years) second season, previously sound designed Misery. Edward has also sound designed for The Wooster Group, Mabou Mines, Playwrights Horizons, as well as for several productions at The Vienna International Festival of the Arts in Vienna Austria, for directors such as Peter Sellars and Peter Brook. Edward created the original sound design for the 1999 Tony nominated Best Musical It Aint Nuthin But The Blues.
Jim Hoskins Choreographer (Life of Galileo, The Last Five Years, Hearts) Mr. Hoskins has performed, directed and choreographed in education theatre, television, film, the corporate theatre, opera, nightclubs and the legitimate theatre. He has staged more than 400 productions in this country and abroad. Over the past 35 years Mr. Hoskins has taught period movement and dance, and was the movement specialist for both the graduate and undergraduate programs at Penn State University and the graduate program at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. He resides in Sarasota, where he is an adjunct professor of theatre at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory and staff choreographer for Asolo Rep. Mr. Hoskins' book, The Dances of Shakespeare, is
published by Routledge, New York/London.

Michelle Hart Hair/Wig Design (all shows) a licensed cosmetologist and certifi ed professional make-up artist, is in her ninth season with Asolo Rep and designs for both Asolo Rep and FSU/ Asolo Conservatory shows. Other credits: Sarasota Ballet: Last Call, Rake's Progress; Florida Studio Theatre: Ruthless the Musical and Lady With All the Answers; West Coast Black Theatre Troupe: One Mo' Time; four seasons with Banyan Theater, and Open Stage Theatre: Ideal Husband, Dorian Gray and Rumors (where she won the Opius Award for Best Hair).
She has also done hair and make-up for Joan Rivers, Doris Roberts, Martin Short, Jane Russell, Arlene Dahl and for the music video "Second Chance" by Shinedown. She wants to express her gratitude and great respect to all involved in every aspect of theatre.
Sarah Gleissner Stage Manager (Life of Galileo, Searching for Eden, The Last Five Years, Backwards in High Heels) This is Sarah's third season with Asolo Rep. Previous shows include The Giver, Visiting Mr. Green, Production stage management credits at SCAD include The Grapes of Wrath, Pirates of Penzance, The Night of the Iguana and Balm in Gilead. She spent last summer at Millbrook Playhouse in central Pennsylvania stage managing four musicals in ten weeks, including Peter Pan! Three years ago she was an Asolo Rep stage management intern, and she has stage managed for Perry- Mansfield Performing Arts School & Camp, the Perry- Mansfield New World Festival, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and the Coastal Carolina Chamber Music
Festival. Sarah is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art & Design in 2004 with a B.A. in Media and Performing Arts.

Asolo Repertory Theatre is Florida's premier professional theatre and one of the most important cultural forces in the Southeastern United States. Asolo Rep crafts the highest quality productions of classical, contemporary and newly commissioned work all performed in the rarest form of rotating repertory. Featuring an accomplished resident company - complemented by distinguished guest artists - Asolo Rep offers audiences a unique and dynamic theatre experience. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele, this world-class institution has taken bold steps toward the future, building
landmark partnerships and collaborations which will add to its success for generations to come.
Learn more about Jason Robert Brown and his work at http://www.jasonrobertbrown.com/.
Learn more about Asolo Rep, the season and this production at www.ASOLO.org.

Asolo Repertory Theatre (AKA: Asolo Theatre, Inc.) is funded in part by the Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Department of State, The Florida Arts Council, the City and County of Sarasota and the Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax through the Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council and the Sarasota Arts Council. The Asolo Rep's Shakespeare productions are sponsored in part by Shakespeare in American Communities, a national theater initiative sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Sallie Mae Fund in cooperation with Arts Midwest. Additional funding is also received through the efforts of support groups including the Asolo Angel Association, the Asolo Theatre Guild, The Directors Emeritus and the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations.



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