One of Off-Broadway's most popular musicals, The Last Five Years, by American composer and holder of three Tony Awards Jason Robert Brown, is presented for the first time in Greece, in an ambitious production of the Greek National Opera Alternative Stage. An unusually love story set in New York comes to life for six unique performances, on 5, 6,7,11, 12 and 13 May 2023, offering an unforgettable music-theatre experience.
An emotionally powerful and intimate chamber musical about two New Yorkers in their twenties who fall in and out of love over the course of five years, the show's unconventional structure consists of Cathy, the woman, telling her story backwards while Jamie, the man, tells his own story chronologically; the two characters only meet once, at their wedding in the middle of the show.
Jason Robert Brown's Drama Desk winner The Last Five Years that has been named one of Time Magazine's 10 best musicals of 2001 is now presented on the GNO Alternative Stage at the SNFCC, conducted by experienced maestro Michalis Papapetrou, translated and directed by the specialist in the genre and prolific comedian Dimitris Dimopoulos, and starring Vassia Zacharopoulou and Paris Paraskevadis.
A different musical
The Last Five Years tells the bittersweet story of two young artists, from their first date to their last goodbye. In the musical, Cathy, a young and ambitious actress, and Jamie, a promising, emerging writer, meet, fall in love, get married and break up. The special narrative device set up by composer and dramaturg Jason Robert Brown starts with Cathy telling the story backwards, while Jamie gives his own version of it in a linear chronological order, from the beginning to the end. Through a series of wonderful songs the audience follows the course of this relationship, in a setting where the past and the present are caught up in a web of memories and actions, with the couple meeting each other in the same space and time only at their wedding in the middle of the show.
The musical premiered at Chicago's Northlight Theatre in 2001 and was a big success. The next year it moved to Off-Broadway's alternative stage scoring an equally great success and receiving raving reviews. Since then it has been translated into many languages and presented in many countries the world over: Canada, Australia, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, France and Great Britain. A testament to the show's longevity and spurred by its regional popularity, The Last Five Years enjoyed an Off-Broadway revival at Second Stage in 2013, directed by Jason Robert Brown himself. A film adaptation was also released in 2014 starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan.
The magical world of composer Jason Robert Brown
The three-time Tony-winner American composer Jason Robert Brown is regarded as one of the most prominent creators of modern American musical. Composer, lyricist, conductor, arranger, orchestrator, director and performer, Jason Robert Brown is best known for his dazzling scores to several of the most renowned musicals of our time, including the popular and generation-defining The Last Five Years, his debut song cycle Songs for a New World, the seminal Parade, for which he won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Score, and The Bridges of Madison County, a musical adapted with Marsha Norman from the bestselling novel, for which he received two Tony Awards (for Best Score and Orchestrations).
Jason Robert Brown has been hailed as "one of Broadway's smartest and most sophisticated songwriters since Stephen Sondheim" (Philadelphia Inquirer), and his "extraordinary, jubilant theater music" (Chicago Tribune) has been heard all over the world, whether in one of the hundreds of productions of his musicals every year or in his own incendiary live performances. The New York Times refers to Jason as "a leading member of a new generation of composers who embody high hopes for the American musical." As a soloist or with his band The Caucasian Rhythm Kings, Jason has performed concerts around the world.
In 2023, the musical The Last Five Years, one of Jason Robert Brown's most popular works and at the same time his most autobiographical one, acquires its Greek version. The work's music is a select blend of sounds and influences, where pop-rock is perfectly combined with jazz, classical and folk music, along with elements of country.
Greek premiere with an ambitious production of the GNO Alternative Stage
The popular and awarded musical The Last Five Years is coming to the GNO Alternative Stage at the SNFCC, introducing for the first time to the Greek audience a great creator in the genre. The production is conducted by Michalis Papapetrou, translated and directed by Dimitris Dimopoulos, with set and costumes by David Negrin, and lighting by Christos Tziogkas, starring the talented Vassia Zacharopoulou and Paris Paraskevadis, both of them experienced and knowledgeable performers that have been chosen from among more than 160 candidates through an open audition. The six-member instrumental ensemble consists of: Mislav Režić (electric guitar), Manos Anagnostopoulos (electric bass), Michalis Papapetrou (piano), Dionysis Vervitsiotis (violin), Alexandros Botinis, Fabiola Ojeda (violoncello).
Dimitris Dimopoulos' directorial approach guarantees an unusual music-theatre experience, beyond the stereotypical conventions of American music theatre. As he notes: «All stagings of The Last Five Years are based on the skills and chemistry between its two protagonists. My goal and wish as a director was to create in rehearsals the space where Vassia and Paris would mould their own Cathy and Jamie. Ready now, we stand on the stage and find ourselves in the set designed by David Negrin (who has also designed the costumes) and lit by Christos Tziogkas, a stage set where memories of the past and present actions co-exist and unfold simultaneously, as the last five years of the couple's common life are experienced as a memory by Cathy but as a present happening by Jamie. This special device coined by Jason Robert Brown creates the theatrical condition for the couple to meet in the same time and space only in their wedding scene. If, in this scene, we could manage to make you, the audience, forget the ending of Cathy and Jamie's relationship - which is anyway revealed already from the first scene -, then we would have achieved our goal.»
Presented by arrangement with Music Theatre International: www.mtishows.eu