WINCHESTER — Hind sight, as we all know, is 20-20. The Last Five Years, a musical by Jason Robert Brown, is a poignant case in point. Presented by several fine local musical talents, the show runs just for one weekend at the Old Town Hall in Winchester, on May 18, 19 and 20.
From love at first sight to the turmoil of marriage breakdown (and everything in between), The Last Five Years tells the story of the rise and fall of a doomed relationship between an aspiring actress and a budding novelist. But there’s no need for a spoiler alert, because the show is most unconventional in structure as it tells their stories from the point of each character travelling in opposite directions – her story goes backwards from the end of the relationship, while his moves forward in time from their first meeting.
For director Lauren Casselman, who is a performer in her own right and has directed three youth musicals with Dundas County Players as well as the Lion King in Kemptville, the theme of The Last Five Years is a universal one. “It’s basically a girl meets boy story, but with a chronological twist,” she explained. “On a deeper level, it examines the yearning for artistic success, the effect when it comes, and the way it can unbalance and corrode relationships.”
Casselman is pleased to work with two superb singing actors, one of them her brother James. James is also a Dundas County Player alumnus and this production is his graduating recital for his Bachelor of Music. The other, Michelle Gendron from Ottawa, has recently finished her music degree at Carleton University. Both have been performing large roles in a number of musicals in the past few years. James in Legally Blonde this winter and the Hunchback of Notre-Dame only three weeks ago and Michelle in Cabaret, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Spring Awakening.
Musical direction is by David MacAdam, an accomplished voice teacher and opera singer. He has performed with opera, operetta and musical theatre companies in the US, Canada and internationally. He is James’ and Michelle’s regular vocal instructor.
Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Tom Henbest, a performer and composer from Chesterville. He too has been actively involved as music director and accompanist in three Dundas County Players summer youth musicals. Tom currently heads the music department at Upper Canada Village.
“This two-character show is beautiful, touching, and truly unique,” added Casselman. “The songs range from comic numbers to reflective ballads and bring together incredibly talented musicians and actors. You don’t want to miss it!”
Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on May 18, 19 and 20 at the Old Town Hall in Winchester.
Tickets are $15 and available by calling or texting 613-227-1816.
PG 13 recommended, or mature audiences.
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