On its fifth year, Philstage Gawad Buhay award-winning theater company, 9 Works Theatrical, invites you to look back, and move forward, with one of the greatest and most poignant musicals of all time, Jason Robert Brown’s “The Last Five Years.”
In a heartbreaking and moving tale of “he says, she says” told forward and backward, we meet rising young, novelist Jamie Wellerstein and struggling young actress Cathy Hyatt. She begins at the rueful end of their marriage and moves towards a hopeful beginning. He begins as a giddy, young 20-something who has just met the girl of his dreams but winds up making unfavorable choices – a story all too familiar but structured in a way that is unique whilst set to Brown’s emotionally raw and honest music.
An intimate two-actor musical which won Jason Robert Brown Drama Desk awards and nominations for the show’s Off-Broadway premiere in 2002, “The Last Five Years” has been dubbed as one of the best shows of 2001 by Time Magazine, contrasting grim endings with promising new beginnings.
Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote, “Brown captures the delicious, embarrassing energy of being young, gifted and meteoric in New York City” – infusing musical styles that exact from a number of musical genres: pop, jazz, classical, folk, rock, Latin, and even klezmer.
The show couldn’t have been a more fitting choice to kick off 9 Works Theatrical’s fifth year. The company that brought you “RENT,” “Wedding Singer,” “Sweet Charity,” “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” “They’re Playing Our Song,” and most recently, “Grease” (which bagged the 2013 Philstage Gawad Buhay award for Best Musicale of an Existing Material), returns to its theatrical roots. It launched in 2009 with the musical “Songs For a New World,” also by Jason Robert Brown.
“Five years na tayo? Eh ‘di let’s do The Last Five Years!” shares artistic director Robbie Guevara. “I meant that as light joke but my partners took it seriously and liked the idea so much. And since I love the musical, I didn’t object at all when they agreed to do it.”
For the much-awaited return to the Philippine stage after more than a decade since it was last performed at the RCBC Theater, 9 Works Theatrical welcomes a new Jamie and Cathy in two of Philippine theater’s brightest young stars – Nikki Gil and Joaquin Valdes.
Returning to the stage after her PMPC Star Awards for TV win for Best Single Performance by an Actress and 2013 Philstage Gawad Buhay nomination for “They’re Playing Our Song,” singer-actress Nikki Gil will be playing the role of Cathy Hyatt, an ambitious, fresh-faced girl in a new relationship who is stunned by a betrayal that she is only beginning to understand. As with the deterioration of most relationships, there are two sides to every story.
Bagging the 2013 Philstage Gawad Buhay award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his work in “Red,” actor and commercial director Joaquin Valdes returns to his musical roots to play the role of novelist Jamie Wellerstein, an ambitious lad who is lovable yet makes unintentional choices that sabotage his own happiness.
“9 Works Theatrical began by showcasing the brilliance of Jason Robert Brown’s music in Songs For A New World. Our last 5 years have been remarkable and as we celebrate our anniversary, it’s but fitting to mark this milestone with the staging of arguably Jason Robert Brown’s most popular musical, “The Last Five Years,” an apt title to match our special occasion,” says executive producer, Santi Santamaria.