J. A. DI BELLO’S REVIEW OF THE LAST 5 YEARS
November 4, 2016
As Time Goes By
Opening night at theatre is a passionate experience that builds excitement and eagerness. This tired and true observation was alive and evident Friday night at the Falls Theatre in Wappingers Falls, as an anxious audience filled the house for the County Players’ opening-night production of The Last 5 Years. Those in attendance who arrived with high expectations were richly satisfied with a stellar production of Jason Robert Brown’s one-act musical.
As the audience filtered in, the stage was open and in plain view of conductor Joel Flowers’ 6-piece proficient orchestra, seated on risers upstage. While down stage right and left were two clearly delineated, elevated apartments. Thus Hanna Manner’s multi-level set design is perfectly suited for the two characters Jamie and Cathy to spill their musical narratives in opposite directions, from Jamie’s beginning-to-end and Cathy’s from end-to-beginning.
The element of Time in this set-to-song narrative is paramount as Director Anna Marie Paolercio allows Time to function as the production’s third character. Further, it is Time that allows two convincing and vocally proficient actors, Frank Anthony Fasano III as Jamie Wellerstein and Cheyenne See as Cathy Hiatt, to forcefully deliver the full range of each character’s emotions, stretching from the titillating tingle of first love to the disheartening thud of a collapsed marriage. Jamie shares his personal ascent and Cathy her descent through clever and catchy lyrics, as Jamie’s story is revealed in chronological order, while Cathy’s is delivered in reverse. They join on stage with a Time related duet representing their marriage, “The Next Ten Minutes.” It contains some of the musical’s most brilliant and prophetic lyrics. “I am not always on time,” Cathy coyly reveals, as Time continues to carry them further and further from each other. In terms of a marriage, they seem as two ships passing in the night: “one without a sail and the other without a rudder.”
The Last Five Years is the most entertaining, thought provoking theatre of the current season, delivering cleverly composed music and lyrics, with skillful, broadway ready vocalists, while at the same time pricking the mind with concepts and questioning the potential of Time. “As time goes by,” it is said, “The world will always welcome lovers.”
Subsequent performances will be November 5, 11, 12, 18, 19 at 8 p.m. and November 13 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults and $19 for seniors/children under 12. Call the Box Office at 845-298-1491 for reservations or order your tickets online at www.countyplayers.org. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are accepted. County Players Falls Theatre is located at 2681 W. Main, Wappingers Falls, NY.