Jason Robert Brown's
THE LAST FIVE YEARS
Friday, February 13, 8:00 PM
Recital Hall | Staller Center for the Arts
Sunday, February 15, 8:00 PM
National Opera America Center, 330 Seventh Ave, NYC
The Stony Brook Opera boldly steps outside the opera repertory to present the hit musical The Last Five Years by Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown in two performances: the first on Friday, February 13, 2015 at 8 p.m. at the Staller Center Recital Hall at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, the second on Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 8 p.m. at the National Opera America Center, 330 Seventh Ave., New York, NY. Admission is $10 at both performances.
Stony Brook’s production comes on the heels of a film adaption of the musical for major release, to be released concurrently in movie theaters on February 13. The movie features Broadway stars Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan and is directed by Richard LaGravenese.
Capturing the vulnerability and volatility of love, The Last Five Years recounts the rocky five-year marriage between Jamie Wellerstein, a rising novelist, and Cathy Hiatt, a struggling actress. The plot creatively manipulates time and perspective; Cathy’s story is told in reverse while Jamie’s is told in chronological order, with the characters’ timelines intersecting in the middle for an emotional wedding duet.
Funny and heartbreaking, The Last Five Years is heralded for its raw material and fresh storytelling. The show won two Drama Desk Awards in 2002 for Outstanding Musical and Lyrics and garnered praise in performances nationally and internationally. Composer Jason Robert Brown is a Tony Award winner best known for pushing the boundaries of Broadway with a contemporary pop/rock style and for finding a balance between complexity and accessibility for newer audiences.
Staring in the Stony Brook production is soprano Corrine Byrne and tenor Gennard Lombardozzi, both versatile singers with professional credits ranging from leading roles in regional opera companies to headlining jazz ensembles. Lombardozzi recently received his doctorate in vocal performing arts at Stony Brook and Byrne is expected to graduate from the program this year. The two were cast due to a strong on-stage chemistry, tested out in a concert of American song last year. “They were both so captivating on stage and so well suited to one another vocally and temperamentally,” says David Lawton, artistic director of the Stony Brook Opera.
Directed by Jennifer Aylmer, the production will keep minimal to put the focus on the singers. A small chamber orchestra, comprised of advanced performers from Stony Brook’s graduate music program, will accompany. Timothy Long, associate professor of opera studies, will conduct.
“Jason Robert Brown has crafted for us a romance, but he intentionally blurs our perspective of that relationship by immersing us in both the past and present, simultaneously,” says Aylmer. “In order best to tell the story of our lovers, Cathy and Jamie, the staging is simple and intimate, allowing us to focus better on those critical emotional peaks that defined their romance."