Toledo Rep offers ‘Five Years’Written by Lauri Donahue | | firstname.lastname@example.org
“The Last Five Years” goes over relationships backwards and forwards — literally. It’s the story of Jamie and Cathy, a 20-something writer and an actress who meet, fall in love and marry. His story is told in the conventional way, from start to finish; hers unfolds in reverse order. The characters alternate songs and appear on stage together only in the middle, at their wedding.
Brad Faust (who directed “Proof” last season) assures this two-person musical isn’t as confusing as it sounds — but it makes the audience think as they put the puzzle together. The show, by 35-year-old composer and lyricist Jason Robert Brown, opens Toledo Rep’s 73rd season Sept. 23.
“The Last Five Years” was cited as one of Time’s 10 Best Shows of 2001 and won Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics.
Jamie’s a “nice Jewish boy” tired of meeting “nice Jewish girls.” He’s smitten with Cathy, a “good Catholic girl” unlike anyone he’s met.
Scott Baker (a Maumee High School and Kenyon College graduate) plays Jamie. He finds the show very demanding: “Since we’re covering five years, any time I’m not on stage I’m changing my costume. There’s zero down-time.”
Baker has sung with the Toledo Opera for the past three years, appearing in “The Crucible” and “Sweeney Todd.” He says the show’s music “is just incredibly wonderful and entertaining. The lyrics are incredibly witty. Like in a [Steven] Sondheim musical, they just roll off your tongue. Some of the songs are downright hilarious.”
Playing Cathy is Lia Moore, who appeared in “Smokey Joe’s CafÈ,” “Honk” at the Croswell Opera House in Adrian and “A Christmas Carol” with the Toledo Rep. Moore, from Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti, said Cathy is a typical actress.
“She’s strong but vulnerable. You have to have strength, because you’re always getting rejected. At the same time, you have to be vulnerable,
because otherwise you come across as cold.”
As Jamie’s star is rising, Cathy’s is setting. At one point, she’s “exiled” to summer stock in Ohio (specifically, 40 miles east of Cincinnati), where she sings, “I could shove an ice pick in my eye/ I could eat some fish from last July/ But it wouldn’t be as awful as a summer in Ohio/ Without cable, hot water, Vietnamese food or you.”
“The Last Five Years” runs through Oct. 2. Tickets are $10 to 20 and are available by calling (419) 243-9277. The Toledo Rep is located at 16 Tenth Street (between Monroe and Washington streets).