THE LAST 5 YEARS

THE LAST 5 YEARS

Music & Lyrics by Jason Robert Browne

McCoy Rigby Entertainment, La Mirada Theatre
JANUARY 21, 2017

An Elegant Revival of THE LAST FIVE YEARS Soars in La Mirada

 

McCoy Rigby Entertainment and La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts have reimagined this gem of a musical in a wonderfully creative way and the result is truly something special. If you are one of the few who has not seen the show before, or if you've only seen it produced on a small scale, this is memorable work you don't want to miss.

What this revival of THE LAST FIVE YEARS does, so beautifully, is breathe. That contrast between ease and Jamie's mounting suffocation and Cathy's frustration, delivers an even more powerful emotional journey than usual.

 

Director Nick DeGruccio and his technical trifecta - Stephen Gifford (scenic design), Steven Young (lighting), and Keith Skretch (video) - surround Jamie and Cathy with the story of their life in a way that never overpowers them but still gives the audience a window into their world on a grand scale. 

 

Their joy and heartache becomes even more fragile with so much "air" around them, and DeGruccio weaves it all together elegantly.

 

His staging reveals as much about their relationship as what Brown has written. One of the most ironic moments is the transition from Cathy's audition to a public reading of Jamie's book. It happens without a word but the subtext behind the purposeful upstaging is clear. DeGruccio also positions the non-active character on stage in separate parallel scenes which makes the handoff from one to the other seem effortless.

 

La Mirada Theatre's revival of THE LAST FIVE YEARS is a breathtaking production that balances subtlety with sweeping passion. Its arrow aims right for the heart and lands with eloquent precision over and over again. Bring tissues.

 

Ellen Dostal  BroadwayWorld

 

 

Cathy stands center stage, in the spotlight, singing at yet another audition. That is, until Jamie wordlessly steps in front of her and sits on a stool to begin reading

from his novel. Cathy, her spotlight now literally and figuratively occupied by her more successful husband, silently retreats, defeated once again.

This stunningly symbolic directorial choice was a highlight of The Last 5 Years, a fantastic musical currently in a wonderful production at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. Directed by Nick DeGruccio, Jason Robert Brown’s highly personal musical known for its unique structure is in very capable hands in a staging that embraces the emotional core of the story while adding a new, modern aesthetic.

 

Stage and Screen, Erin Conley

 

Featuring minimal but effective staging, spectacular performances, and, of course, gorgeous songs from composer Jason Robert Brown, 

Beautifully subtle yet still powerfully resonant, this L.A.-area regional revival of the 2001 cult off-Broadway musical directed by Nick DeGruccio brilliantly showcases the catharsis of heartbreak while also providing glimpses of the giddy euphoria of falling in love.

 

...it handily proves itself to be something truly special right from its first melancholy notes. La Miranda has skillfully polished off this under-appreciated gem, so it would be wise to catch it while its still around. 

 

ON Stage, Michael L. Quintos

 

McCoy Rigby Entertainment’s exceptional revival of Jason Robert Brown’s exquisite The Last Five Years, now thrilling audiences at the La Mirada Theatre For The Performing Arts.

 

The result: side-by-side sadness and joy and an ending that delivers an emotional wallop, and with director Nick DeGruccio masterfully in charge, this Last Five Years packs particular punch.

 

With Nick DeGruccio masterfully in charge and Devin Archer and Natalie Storrs bringing Jamie and Cathy to unforgettable life, this one is in a class all by itself.

 

Steven Stanley, StageScene LA

 

Photos:  Michael Lamont

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