The Last Five Years

Infobox Musical
name=The Last Five Years

caption=2002 Album Cover
music=Jason Robert Brown
lyrics=Jason Robert Brown
book=Jason Robert Brown
productions=2001 Chicago
2002 Off-Broadway

2006 London

2007 Edinburgh Fringe

The Last Five Years is a one act musical written by Jason Robert Brown. It premiered in Chicago in 2001 and was then produced off-Broadway in March 2002. Since then it has had numerous productions both in the United States and internationally.

The story explores a five-year relationship between Jamie Wellerstein, a rising novelist, and Cathy Hiatt, a struggling actress. The show uses a form of storytelling in which Cathy travels backwards in time (beginning the show at the end of the marriage), and Jamie travels forwards (starting just after the couple have first met). The characters do not directly interact except for a wedding song in the middle.

The Last Five Years cast album was released by Sh-K-Boom Records in April 2002. [cite web
work=Cast Albums
title=The Last Five Years Original Off-Broadway Cast


The musical opens with Cathy sitting alone in her apartment lamenting the end of her marriage to Jamie, who has just moved out ("Still Hurting"). As the song finishes, Jamie appears. It is five years earlier and he is on their first date. We learn that Jamie is Jewish and Cathy is not. Despite this, Jamie is completely smitten with his "Shiksa Goddess".

The scene then switches to Cathy sitting on a pier in Ohio with Jamie, who has come to visit her for her birthday while she does summer stock theatre ("See I'm Smiling"). It is clear that she is not happy about spending her time away from Jamie and is enthusiastic about fixing their marriage. She becomes very angry when Jamie announces that he has to return to New York. They argue, and Cathy claims that he spends all of his time thinking only of himself, singing "you and you and nothing but you". During interludes in the music, Jamie, several years earlier, talks to a literary agent about the book he has just written. His future looks promising.

The play moves away from their argument, and Jamie tells a friend that he is moving in with Cathy. Everything seems to be going right for him; his book is being published and the Atlantic Monthly is printing the first chapter. Even though his work and his relationship with Cathy seem to have taken on lives of their own, he's too happy to get worried ("Moving Too Fast"). Cathy, meanwhile, is making a call to her agent. Though we only hear her side of the conversation, it is obvious that she is struggling with her career.

Cathy sits at Jamie's book signing party. She sings about her life with him, asserting that even though he often obsesses over his writing and ignores her, she is terribly in love with him ("A Part of That"). Cathy confesses that she does not act independently anymore, but instead follows in his footsteps.

Jamie celebrates his first Christmas with Cathy. He tells her a fable (which he has written, "new and unpublished") about an old tailor named Schmuel whose encounter with a magical clock gives him infinite time to realize the dress of his dreams. Jamie reveals the parallel between Schmuel and Cathy: she needs to take the time to "unlock" her dreams. He presents Cathy with her Christmas present: a watch ("The Schmuel Song").

filename=The Next Ten Minutes - L5Y 2002.ogg
title="The Next Ten Minutes"
description=The duet between Jamie and Cathy in "The Next Ten Minutes", as performed by Sherie Rene Scott and Norbert Leo Butz on the 2002 Off-Broadway cast recording.
Cathy sits in Ohio and writes a letter to Jamie. They have just been married and she is missing him dreadfully. She describes to Jamie her quirky life in Ohio among her eccentric cast members ("A Summer in Ohio").

In the next scene, Jamie is sitting with Cathy in a boat on the lake in Central Park. He proposes. Cathy enters and Jamie presents her with the engagement ring and, for the first and only time in the musical, they sing together ("The Next Ten Minutes"). They exchange vows and rings, promising to stay together "for the next ten lifetimes." They kiss before Jamie escorts Cathy to the rowboat, where she has the other side of the conversation that Jamie had before her arrival. Jamie watches her go.

The newlywed Jamie is facing some temptation issues. He feels like he is constantly bombarded by attractive women, especially since his writing career has taken off ("A Miracle Would Happen"). Cathy, meanwhile, embarks on a series of auditions for the job in Ohio ("When You Come Home to Me"). She is frustrated with the audition process and discusses her sense of inadequacy with her father ("Climbing Uphill").

Jamie, on the phone with Cathy, does his best to convince his wife that his relationship with his editor, Elise, is purely platonic. Cathy doesn't believe him. Jamie wants to celebrate a book review by John Updike in "The New Yorker", but Cathy isn't in the mood to go out. She sings passionately about her desire to be independent, refusing to "trot along at the genius's heels."

Jamie is reading an excerpt of his book. It is obviously about his relationship with Cathy. In the next scene, Jamie is fighting passionately with Cathy. It is toward the end of their relationship and he is trying desperately to just get her to listen to him. He wonders aloud if they will ever get to the point where things are easy, where there aren't so many obstacles facing their marriage. He accuses her of being unsupportive of his career just because hers is failing ("I will not fail so you can be comfortable, Cathy."). Though his words are harsh, he promises her that he believes in her unconditionally, and that if he didn't he wouldn't love her ("If I Didn't Believe in You").

Some time into the relationship, Cathy drives Jamie to her parents' house in the suburbs. As she drives, she babbles happily about her past relationships and her desire not to end up in the same small town life as her best friend from high school: married with children and living in "a little cute house on a little cute street with a crucifix on the door" ("I Can Do Better Than That"). At the climax of the song, she asks Jamie to move in with her.

Towards the end of the marriage, Jamie wakes up in the apartment beside a woman who may or may not be his editor, Elise ("Nobody Needs to Know"). He tries to defend his actions and blames Cathy (who is away in Ohio) for destroying his privacy and their "perfectly balanced" relationship. Jamie promises not to lie to this woman and tells her, just as he told Cathy in "Shiksa Goddess", that "I could be in love with someone like you."

Cathy is at the end of her first date with Jamie. She sings goodbye to him ("Goodbye Until Tomorrow"). She proclaims that she has been waiting for Jamie her whole life and is ready for this romance. Simultaneously but five years forward, Jamie sits in their shared apartment writing a farewell note ("I Could Never Rescue You"). As Cathy waves Jamie "goodbye until tomorrow", Jamie wishes Cathy simply "goodbye".


The musical style draws on a number of musical genres, including pop, jazz, and classical, klezmer, Latin, Rock, and Folk. The orchestration consists of piano, guitar, bass, two cellos, and a violin.

* "Still Hurting" (Cathy)
* "Shiksa Goddess" (Jamie) "*Replaced "I Could Be in Love With Someone Like You" from the Chicago production"
* "See I'm Smiling" (Cathy)
* "Moving Too Fast" (Jamie)
* "Part of That" (Cathy)
* "The Schmuel Song" (Jamie)
* "A Summer in Ohio" (Cathy)
* "The Next Ten Minutes" (Jamie & Cathy)
* "A Miracle Would Happen/When You Come Home to Me" (Jamie/Cathy)
* "Climbing Uphill/Audition Sequence" (Cathy)
* "If I Didn't Believe in You" (Jamie)
* "I Can Do Better Than That" (Cathy)
* "Nobody Needs to Know" (Jamie)
* "Goodbye Until Tomorrow/I Could Never Rescue You" (Cathy/Jamie)

:"Source: [ MTI Shows song list] "

Production history

Original Chicago production

The show debuted at Northlight Theatre in Skokie, Illinois in 2001, running from May-July 1. The production starred Lauren Kennedy as Cathy and Norbert Leo Butz as Jamie. [] Kennedy had a previous commitment (a role in Trevor Nunn's South Pacific in London) and was replaced by Sherie Rene Scott. [ [ talkinbroadway 2003] ] Scott, therefore, performed the vocals on the cast recording.


It opened off Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theatre on March 3, 2002 and closed May 5, 2002. Directed by Daisy Prince, Butz and Scott again starred. [ search_by=show&id=408 Lortel listing] ]

The production won the 2002 Drama Desk Award for outstanding music and lyrics, as well as receiving Drama Desk nominations for Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Actor, Outstanding Actress, Outstanding Orchestrations, and Outstanding Set Design. It also received the Lucille Lortel nomination for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Actor, and the Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical.


;DallasThe production premiered February 8, 2007 at the Labyrinth Theatre.Cathy was played by Kimberly Whalen and Jamie was played by Theo Wischhusen. Stephanie Wulfe-Epstein was director, Tim Hyman was musical director. [ [ Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Arts & Entertainment ] ]

;GermanyThe original German-language production premiered in Wuppertal, Germany on June 18, 2005 at the Rex-Theater. Jamie was played by Patrick Stanke, and Cathy by Charlotte Heinke. Daniel Witzke and Christoph Drewitz directed. The translation was provided by Wolfgang Adenberg.

;UKThe original London production at the Menier Chocolate Factory Theatre, running from July 18, 2006 through September 30, 2006. The cast included Damian Humbley as Jamie and Lara Pulver as Cathy. [ [ The Last Five Years @ Menier Chocolate Factory, London : theatre review ] ]

A new production of The Last Five Years previewed at the Apollo Theatre in the West End on 3 August 2007 before playing a limited run from 20 August 2007 to 27 August 2007 at the Pleasance Theatre as part of the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The cast included Nadim Naaman and Hannah Wilding and was produced by Echo Theatrical Productions. [ [ :: The Last Five Years :: ] ]

Oxford based theatre company, Maple Giant performed one of the first UK amateur productions at the OFS Studio in Oxford between 3 and 7 June 2008. [ [] ] [Cite web
title=Review of The Last Five Years
author=Geoff Dallimore
date=4 June 2008

Three gala performances starring Julie Atherton and Paul Spicer will be performed at London's Theatre Royal Haymarket in October 2008 as part of the "Notes from New York" series. [ [ Notes from New York - The Last 5 Years ] ]

Dublin, IrelandThe Irish premiere of the show will take place 6th November 2008 at The Pavilion Theatre starring Ranae Von Meding and A.J. O’Neill. It will be directed by Joseph C. Walsh with Musical Direction by David Wray and a design by Shawn Boyle, and produced by Music Theatre Ireland. ;Brisbane, AustraliaThe Queensland premiere production ran from 9th to 12 May 2007 in Brisbane, Australia and starred Luke Kennedy and Naomi Price. It was directed by Tim O'Connor, music directed by Dale Lingwood and designed by Josh McIntosh. It was produced by Oscar Theatre Company for The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. [ [ The Last Five Years | theatre australia ] ]

;Melbourne, AustraliaThe "Melbourne Music Theatre" production ran from 31 August to 17 September 2006 at Chapel Off Chapel, Prahran, in Melbourne, Australia and starred Matt Hetherington and Laura Fitzpatrick. Directed by Peter Fitzpatrick and musical direction by Vicky Jacobs. ["The Age" (Melbourne, Australia), Jim Murphy, p. 16,September 4, 2006]

;GreeceThe production premiered in June 2006 at the Amerikaniko Kollegio, Athens. Musical Director Nassos Sopilis, Director Stratos Sopilis.

Christos Alexandrou played the role of Jamie Wellerstein and Anna-Marie Aronis the role of Cathy Hyatt

; MexicoThe production premiered in October 2006 at the Metropolitano Museum, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Luis Arrambide played the role of Jamie Wellerstein and Paloma Cordero the role of Cathy Hyatt. Translated and directed by Jaime Lozano.

;PhilippinesThe production ran from 29 August to 14 September 2003 in Makati City, Philippines and starred Audie Gemora and Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo. The show was directed by Bart Guingona. [ [ Last Five Years premiers in Manila, Philippines ] ]

;CanadaThe Roaring Lion Theatre Collective presented "The Last 5 Years" from September 18 - October 5, 2003 at the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. Directed by Kendra Fanconi, it stared Matt Palmer and Barabara Tomasic with music direction by Wendy Bross Stuart. ["The Vancouver Sun" (British Columbia), Peter Birnie, p. D9, September 20, 2003]

The Western Canada Theatre's production ran from 22 February to 3 March 2007 in Kamloops, British Columbia, at the Sagebrush Theatre. Neil Minor played Jamie and Meghan Gardiner played Cathy. Directed By David Ross, musical direction by Courtenay Ennis. ["Kamloops Daily News" (British Columbia), Mike Youds, p.A8 February 27, 2007]

In Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Summer Players presented "The Last 5 Years" at Castle Theatre in Aden Bowman Collegiate from October 2October 6, 2007. Cathy was played by Robin Burlingham, Jamie by Blake Cumming, the director was Joel Swaan. ["The Star Phoenix" (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), Joanne Paulson, p.D3, October 4, 2007]

In Toronto, Ontario, Footpath Productions presented "The Last 5 Years" at Bread and Circus Theatre Bar in Kensington Market from May 21 to May 31, 2008. Karita Mullins played Cathy and Scott Pietrangelo played Jamie. The show was directed by Jenny Salisbury. [ Tapeworthy Review ]

;HungaryThe Last Five Years opened in Budapest on 5th January, 2007 at the Palace of Arts. Cathy was played by Andrea Malek and Jamie was played by Iván Kamarás. The show was directed by György Böhm and it ran for five performances in January, [ [ Unconventional Musical on Palace of Arts Programme - - Community & culture ] ] returning for three more in June, 2007. In September, 2007 it moves over to another venue as a repertory piece, for two-three performances a month.

;The NetherlandsAra Halici and Birgit Schuurman played the parts in the first season (2006-2007) of the Dutch production under its original English title. It was translated by Allard Blom and directed by Maarten Mourik. The second season was played by Birgit Schuurman together with Jimmy de Groot under the Dutch title "5 jaar met jou" (5 years with you).

;Belgium (Flanders)In 2008 a new producer Judas Theaterproducties brought a Dutch version to Belgium. The translation of Allard Blom was used again, but adapted to Belgian Dutch (Flemish). In this production Cathy (Sanne) was played by Ann Van den Broeck and Jamie (Nathan) by Jan Schepens in a direction of Frank Hoelen.

;JapanJapanese production opened in Tokyo in 2005, Jamie was played by Koji Yamamoto and Cathy was Nao. The show was directed by Katsuhide Suzuki and the lyrics was translated by Ako Takahashi. The show was revived in 2007, Yamamoto kept playing Jamie, and Cathy was played by singer, Mariko Ide.

;AustriaThe musical was first performed in Austria at the Vienna Chamber Opera (Kammeroper Wien), opening night was 22 November 2007. Catherine was played by Caroline Frank and Jamie by Rob Fowler. Conductor: Michael Schnack, Director & Choreography: Alonso Barros. [ [ Vienna Chamber Opera: The last five years ] ]

;Baltimore, Maryland
*The Everyman Theatre presented the show from September 9 - October 16, 2005, with direction by Vincent M. Lancisi and starring Josh Davis and Betsy Morgan. [ [ review, 9/23/05] ]
*The Vagabond Theater-America's Oldest Little Theater in Fell's Point-October 26-November 25, 2007. Directed by Bill Kamberger; Cathy was played by Julia Lancione, Jamie was played by Randy Dunkle. [ [ review, 11/21/07] ]


External links

* [,%20THE%20(PLAY)&pdate=20020304&byline=By%20BEN%20BRANTLEY&id=1077011432568 New York Times review, March 4, 2002] (requires registration)
* [ Curtain Up review, March 2002]
* [ MTI shows synopsis and production information]
* [ Flemish production]

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