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The Last Five Years

7:30 pm Tuesdays-Saturdays, 2 pm Saturdays-Sundays and noon Thursdays through June 22., Thursday June 12 | $30-$60.
Gerding Theater
128 NW 11th Ave.
The Last Five Years begins at the end of a love story—but also at the beginning. That might sound like a sappy rom-com tag line, but don’t be mistaken: This two-character musical, presented by Portland Center Stage and directed by Nancy Keystone, features separate timelines, one going forward and the other backward, as our couple falls in and out of love (or out of and into love). Written by Jason Robert Brown in 2002, the musical travels forward with Jamie, a successful writer who has just fallen in love with Cathy, and in reverse with Cathy, a struggling actress shattered by the end of her marriage to Jamie. The music easily interlaces moody jazz, upbeat pop and wrenching ballads, leading the audience through snapshots of interactions and emotions. One moment, we ache at Cathy’s hope-tinged sadness as she sits with Jamie and tries to fix their problems. At another, we see a wide-armed Jamie dancing on the table as he confesses he’s going to ask Cathy to move in with him. It’s an interesting parallel to witness such tonally varied scenes one after the other, and it allows the audience to understand both of the characters’ stories without choosing sides. Though it’s occasionally disappointing that the characters don’t really interact with each other—their timelines intersect only once—Merideth Kaye Clark and Drew Harper give wonderfully natural performances, and The Last Five Years allows for a simultaneously bright and heartbreaking look into the development and failure of a relationship between two everyday people.

Where: Gerding Theater
Phone: 445-3700
Address: 128 NW 11th Ave.
Website: http://www.pcs.org

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