The Last Five Years is an emotionally powerful and intimate 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 telling her story backwards while Jamie tells his story chronologically.
Cathy is sitting alone lamenting the end of her marriage ("Still Hurting"). We shift to meet Jamie. It is five years earlier and he has just met Cathy. Jamie is overjoyed to be dating outside his Jewish heritage ("Shiksa Goddess").
Cathy and Jamie are in Ohio but not together. It is her birthday and he has come to visit her as she works as an actress in a show there ("See I'm Smiling"). She is anxious to fix any problems in their marriage but she becomes angry when Jamie tells her he has to go back early to New York. During breaks in the music, we see a younger Jamie, talking to a literary agent about his book.
Jamie is moving in with Cathy. He comments on how lucky he is that everything is going right for him; his book is being published and his life with Cathy seems too good to be true ("Moving Too Fast"). Elsewhere an older Cathy is making a call to her agent: it seems her career isn't going the way she planned it.
Cathy is attending Jamie's book party. She sings about how he ignores her for his writing but she will always be in love with him ("I'm a Part of That").
Jamie and Cathy celebrate their second Christmas. He tells her a new story he has written about an old tailor named Schmuel and he gives her a Christmas present: a watch, promising to support her as she follows her dreams of acting. ("The Schmuel Song").
Cathy is in Ohio and writing to Jamie. She describes to Jamie her disappointing life in Ohio among her eccentric colleagues ("A Summer in Ohio").
Jamie is sitting with Cathy in Central Park. Jamie proposes to her and, for the first time in the musical, they sing together ("The Next Ten Minutes"). They get married, exchanging vows to stay together forever.
Jamie is facing temptation from other women, especially now his career as a writer has escalated ("A Miracle Would Happen"). Cathy, meanwhile, is auditioning for a role ("When You Come Home to Me"). She is getting down about the rejection she faces as an actress and complains to Jamie ("Climbing Uphill").
Jamie speaks to Cathy on the phone, trying to convince her that there is nothing going on with him and his editor, Elise. He wants to celebrate a book review but Cathy refuses to go out. Jamie is fighting with Cathy, trying to get her to listen to him. He accuses her of being unsupportive of his career just because hers is failing. Though his words are harsh, he promises her that he believes in her ("If I Didn't Believe in You").
A younger Cathy is in the car with Jamie, who is going to meet her parents. She tells him about her past relationships and hopes not to end up in a small town life like her friend from high school ("I Can Do Better Than That"). She asks Jamie to move in with her.
Near the end of the relationship Jamie wakes up beside another woman ("Nobody Needs to Know"). He tries to defend his actions and blames Cathy for destroying his privacy and their relationship. Jamie promises not to lie to this woman and tells her that "I could be in love with someone like you," just as he does to Cathy in "Shiksa Goddess."
Cathy is ecstatic after her first date with Jamie. She sings goodbye ("Goodbye Until Tomorrow"). She proclaims that she has been waiting for Jamie her whole life. Simultaneously but five years forward, Jamie sits in their shared apartment writing laments over the relationship ("I Could Never Rescue You"). As Cathy waves Jamie "goodbye until tomorrow", Jamie wishes Cathy simply "goodbye".
During the run of The Last Five Years, the Lyric Stage will be collecting canned goods, non-perishable items, and personal care items for the Mashpee Wampanoag Food Pantry. Boxes will be located in the lobby for your generous donations.
“Marriage is hard no matter who you are or what generation you're from. Love isn’t enough. It requires work, patience, communication, compromise etc., and no one is there to teach you how to do these things. I think every audience member will be able to see themselves in ‘Jamie’ and ‘Cathy’ at various points throughout the story, whether they like it or not.”
"In other words, “The Last Five Years” is a thing of intricacy and delicacy, and much depends on the execution — a challenge director Leigh Barrett more than meets at Lyric Stage Company of Boston, with an invaluable contribution from set designer Jenna McFarland Lord."
"If you have a penchant for musicals and are also a romantic, or paradoxically if you're a skeptic of both, then this terrific little slice of life just might sing its way into your heart and change your mind."
“As a musical theater performer,” [Jared Troilo] maintains, “there’s really nothing better than getting to sing this role. Jason Robert Brown’s score is so beautiful and complex and Jamie’s music ranges stylistically from 80s Billy Joel to Eastern European Jewish folk music. As an actor and a singer, I’m in heaven!”
"A crucial element to the success of The Last Five Years is the band, a six-person ensemble led with gusto by musical director Dan Rodriguez. The show is almost completely sung through, so Rodriguez and company have to keep the music going smoothly for the entire 90-minute runtime — they don’t miss a beat."
"The comprehensive music supervision by Dan Rodriguez is flawlessly executed and the music provided by the show's unseen musicians (Gregory Holt on Bass, Emily Dahl-Irons on Violin, Tom Young on Guitar, Rodriguez on Piano, Kevin Crudder and Javier Caballero on Violoncello) is also exemplary."
"In her director’s notes, gifted veteran actress Leigh Barrett describes “The Last Five Years” as “a beautiful complicated mess.” With the magical pairing of Jared and Kira Troilo, Barrett has beautifully captured the complications of this very tuneful ‘mess.’"
"Jenna McFarland-Lord’s enthralling set design and Karen Perlow’s mood-induced lighting reflects two sides of love through its multi-color backdrops such as violet, teal, and purple as well as floating gold rings that shine alone and in pairs."