The Last Five Years: Who else played Cathy & Jamie before Samantha & Jonny?

In Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Photos, Sticky by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

As I prepared to head to the St James Theatre last night to catch Jason Robert Brown‘s own production of his painfully semi-autobiographical two-hander The Last Five Years, I sent out a quick tweet remembering the original London production at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Which was in 2006.

‘Was that really ten years ago?!’ was the gist of several replies, including Lara Pulver, who starred at the Chocolate Factory, with Damian Humbley. Actually, it was MORE than ten years ago – July 2006. Never mind five years, how did these last ten years disappear so quickly? (A consolation: it’s good to know I’m not the only one bowled over by the quickening passage of time.)

At the St James – where, ahead of opening, booking was extended by a week to meet box office demand – it’s the turn of Samantha Barks and Jonathan Bailey to play Cathy and Jamie, who fall in and out of love over the course of five years – told forwards for him and backwards for her – during their twenties in 1990s New York.

But they are just the latest in a line of musically exquisite, broken-hearted couples to tackle Jason Robert Brown’s song cycle. Here’s a little pictorial timeline of some of the transatlantic pairings you may recognise.

The Last Five Years runs at London’s St James Theatre until 3 December 2016.

Joshua Henry and Cynthia Erivo

Hot on the heels of her Tony Award, Brit-born Cynthia Erivo found time from her schedule in The Color Purple on Broadway to appear in a concert version of The Last Five Years with Joshua Henry. Also directed (and conducted) by Jason Robert Brown, it was a sell-out at New York’s Town Hall this past September.

Fra Fee and Amy Lennox

West End regulars Fra Fee and Amy Lennox starred in The Last Five Years‘ Irish premiere, which was directed by Stephen Whitson and ran at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre in 2015.

 

Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan starred in the 2014 film adaptation of The Last Five Years, which was adapted and directed by Richard LaGravenese. The film extended the two-hander into a fully populated story, while retaining the counter-chronological structure of couple’s points of view.

Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan 2014

 

Jason Robert Brown’s staging of The Last Five Years now being revived at the St James Theatre was first seen in a record-breaking Off-Broadway run at New York’s Second Stage Theatre in 2013, when Adam Kantor and Betsy Wolfe played the roles of Jamie and Cathy.

Adam Kantor and Betsy Wolfe 2013

 

As part of the Notes from New York series, Paul Spicer and Julie Atherton had a brief West End run of The Last Five Years in 2009 at the Duchess Theatre, where Jason Robert Brown’s two-hander was paired with Jonathan Larson’s similarly semi-autobiographical tick tick BOOM! (which is revived next year at the Park Theatre).

Paul Spicer and Julie Atherton 2009

 

Damian Humbley and Lara Pulver 2006

The Last Five Years received its UK premiere in 2006 at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, where Damian Humbley and Lara Pulver starred. The production was directed by Matthew White.
Writing in The Stage, Mark Shenton said in his review:
“Exquisitely staged on a revolve that keeps it physically in motion throughout, the churning emotions of its songs are powerfully projected by two fine musical actors Lara Pulver and Damian Humbley who bring heart as well as great art to it.”

 

 

 

The Last Five Years had its New York premiere Off-Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theatre, where Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie Rene Scott starred. It won the Drama Desk Award for music and lyrics. Butz was reprising his role…

Sherie Rene Scott and Norbert Leo Butz 2002

 

Norbert Leo Butz and Lauren Kennedy 2001

And last but not least, back to the beginning… The Last Five Years had its world premiere in 2001 at the Northlight Theatre in Skokie, Illinois in the US. The roles of Jamie and Cathy were originated by Norbert Leo Butz and Lauren Kennedy.

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Five Years runs at London’s St James Theatre until 3 December 2016.

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The Last Five Years – Curated tweets by StageFaves

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Terri Paddock
Terri Paddock runs MyTheatreGroup, which provides content and social media marketing services for theatre clients across channels including MyTheatreMates.com, StageFaves.com, Stage Talk and TerriPaddock.com. Previously,
Terri Paddock founded WhatsOnStage.com and the WhatsOnStage Awards, running the company and its events from 1996 to 2013. Terri is also the author of two novels, Come Clean and Beware the Dwarfs, and has previously written for the Evening Standard, Independent, The Times and other national publications. She also produces the annual Critics' Circle Theatre Awards and acts as a digital, content strategy and event consultant for theatre, producers and other clients. She tweets about theatre at @TerriPaddock.
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Terri Paddock on FacebookTerri Paddock on InstagramTerri Paddock on LinkedinTerri Paddock on TwitterTerri Paddock on Youtube
Terri Paddock
Terri Paddock runs MyTheatreGroup, which provides content and social media marketing services for theatre clients across channels including MyTheatreMates.com, StageFaves.com, Stage Talk and TerriPaddock.com. Previously,
Terri Paddock founded WhatsOnStage.com and the WhatsOnStage Awards, running the company and its events from 1996 to 2013. Terri is also the author of two novels, Come Clean and Beware the Dwarfs, and has previously written for the Evening Standard, Independent, The Times and other national publications. She also produces the annual Critics' Circle Theatre Awards and acts as a digital, content strategy and event consultant for theatre, producers and other clients. She tweets about theatre at @TerriPaddock.

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