Heart of Glass: The Last Five Years

 The Last Five Years | Seth Leiber & Galen Crawley | Photo by Shane Burkeen

The Last Five Years | Seth Leiber & Galen Crawley | Photo by Shane Burkeen

Check out the pipes on Galen Crawley (Cathy) as she sings "A Summer in Ohio" from The Last Five Years.

Our Professional Marketing and Development Intern Amos Glass shares why he loves Jason Robert Brown’s musical The Last Five Years, on stage now at Nashville Repertory Theatre.

The 2016 – 2017 season has already started and so far I am having a blast! This season is about how we treat those we love, what we do for love and how we behave when in love. Our first show The Last Five Years, explores what we do when we truly are in love and how much love can endure before it finally shatters.

Jason Robert Brown & Musical Theatre History

First, I want to geek out with a little musical theatre history. The Last Five Years was written by Jason Robert Brown in 2001 and is a pivotal piece of the musical theatre canon. After its short run on the New York Stage, The Last Five Years has become wildly successful in regional theaters and colleges all across the country. In my opinion, the work that Jason Robert Brown did on this show changed musical theater from the Sondheim and Webber Era into a new era of contemporary musical theater. I always find it funny that in interviews with Stephen Sondheim he talks about how he wanted to change musical theater from the Rogers and Hammerstein Era into something that was more conversational and more sophisticated, which he did. Now Jason Robert Brown successfully did that to Sondheim. He took Sondheim’s idea of musical theater and brought it into the 21stcentury and shaped the musicals we have today. I will go out on a limb and say that in some wayThe Last Five Years had something to do with the rise of HamiltonHamilton is known today as the modern musical of my generation, but if we look at the “Classic Modern Musicals” of the last 2 decades we have Rent in 1996 and The Last Five Years in 2001. All three of these modern musicals were written by composers who idolize Sondheim and all brought musical theater to a new generation of theater lovers. Also, Lin-Manuel Miranda referenced “Nobody Needs to Know” fromThe Last Five Years at the end of “Say No to This.” Okay Musical Theater lecture over.

The Last Five Years & Breaking Up

The Last Five Years is a musical that I have always viewed in a different light. When I was a freshman in college I tried really hard to hate this musical, but unsuccessfully. Since then, It has become a musical that truly speaks to me on multiple levels. To me, this musical isn’t about a break-up. I know what you are thinking “but this musical is about Jamie and Cathy and how their lives changed from falling in love and then falling out of love.” However, I see this show as a reflection on how life changes and how we give up certain aspects of our lives to those we truly love. The problem that ensues in this musical is that both Cathy and Jamie have to decide if their love for each other out weighs what they have to give up. In one way or another everyone can relate to this question. Do I give up family to spend time with friends? Do I give up a social life to be the best at work? This musical speaks to us about what we decide is valuable in our lives and how love can change that or how that decision can change love.

Nashville Rep’s production of The Last Five Years has all that emotion and more. With Galen Crawley and Seth Lieber playing Cathy and Jamie with such sincerity I felt that I was watching two friends fall in love and break up in front of my eyes. To be completely honest, I have never liked the character Jamie, but Seth’s performance of this character made me feel compassion for him. Galen’s performance of Cathy was extraordinary and heartbreaking. Her voice was just so powerful throughout the show. Their heartfelt openness framed by the beautiful wooden set and the cleverness of the lights reminded me of a music box coming to life.

You have until September 24th to see Nashville Rep’s production of The Last Five Years, and you won’t be disappointed! Oh, and don’t forget, bring some tissues you may need them….I did!

About Amos Glass

Amos Glass is originally from Bedford, Pennsylvania and started theater from a early age. He was born into a theater family where his father, Amos, would direct, set and light design while his mother, Nadine, was acting, directing and props designing for The Bedford County Players.  From his parents, Amos fell in love with theater and decided at the early age no matter what he did in his life his career path would be theater. He then went to Indiana University of Pennsylvania for college where he received his degree in Theater with minors in Entrepreneurship of Fine Arts and Economics. While there, he works as an Actor, Marketing, Public Relations, Box Office Manager, House Manager, and Producer of the Student Studio Theater. He also worked at Millbrook Playhouse as the Marketing Intern and House Manager for their 52nd season.

Click here to learn more about Nashville Repertory Theatre’s Internship program.