The Story


This intimate 2002 Off-Broadway musical chronicles the five-year relationship between Jamie, a rising novelist, and Cathy, a struggling actress. Expressed through the evocative music and lyrics of Jason Robert Brown, each traces the course of events from opposite directions (forwards in time for Jamie, backwards for Cathy). At once innovative and familiar, The Last Five Years is filled with insights and observations about the joys and stresses that emerge when two creative people fall in love.

 

The Production


Two artists and one piano reimagine The Last Five Years - with breathtaking simplicity.

Though the beloved memory musical has received multiple restagings, a revival and a 2015 film adaptation, no previous production has attempted this approach. Originally conceived 10 years ago out of countless late-night piano sessions in their New Jersey apartment, actors and pianists Katherine Strohmaier (Cathy) and Aaron Lamb (Jamie) have finally brought their “crazy” idea to the Seattle stage. As the relationship unfolds in a series of solos, each accompanies the other, switching off seamlessly until they both play at once, during the musical’s only duet.

First produced in Olympia, WA by Harlequin Productions in 2016, this unforgettable production will be staged at Taproot Theatre’s Isaac Studio Black Box this September 21 - October 2.

Its complexity will astound you; its grace will melt you. Do not miss it!

WHEN: Sept 21 - Oct 2 Oct 8, 2017
WHERE: Taproot Theatre's Isaac Studio
Taproot Theatre's Isaac Studio
212 N 85th Street
Seattle, WA 98103

Cast & Creative

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Katherine Strohmaier as Catherine Hiatt

Katherine Strohmaier

Catherine Hiatt / Piano

Seattle area credits include 5th Avenue Theatre (Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls; Poopsie in The Pajama Game), Village Theatre (Anisette in The Gypsy King), Showtunes (Liz Imbrie in High Society; Molly in The Unsinkable Molly Brown; Cordelia in Falsettos), Mount Baker Theatre (Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods; Marina in Marina), Seattle Children’s Theatre, and Centerstage. Regional favorites include Laurey in Oklahoma at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, and Blue Rose: The Rosemary Clooney Story at Milwaukee Repertory Theater. With the Seattle Symphony, Katherine has been a vocalist for the Lullaby Project and in Pops concert highlighting the music of the Mad Men era, with conductor Steven Reineke; and a tribute to Marvin Hamlisch, with conductor Larry Blank. She also joined Maestro Blank to sing with the Pasadena Symphony-Pops, and at the Opéra de Rennes for a reimagining of Cole Porter’s La Revue des Ambassadeurs. She has sung in several cities with acclaimed Gershwin pianist Peter Nero. An adjunct professor at Cornish College of the Arts, she has served as musical director and piano conductor for Bat Boy: The Musical, Cradle Will Rock, and Into the Woods. Other MD/PC credits include Forever Plaid, The Fantasticks, and Bring It On (Shorecrest High School). Katherine has studied piano under Jay Mauchley at University of Idaho, and Wayne Horvitz.

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Aaron Lamb as Jamie Wellerstein

Aaron Lamb

Jamie Wellerstein / Piano

Seattle credits include Village Theatre (Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps), Taproot Theatre (Dracula in Dracula, Schott in Bach at Leipzig, Bertie Wooster in Jeeves in Bloom, Lord Goring in An Ideal Husband (Seattle Footlight Award), Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes, Mitch Albom in Tuesdays with Morrie, Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest), Book-It Repertory Theatre, and Seattle Shakespeare Company. In Olympia, Aaron has done twelve shows with Harlequin Productions, including Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Garry Essendine in Present Laughter, Henry Jekyll in Jekyll and Hyde, as well as directing August: Osage County, Hedda Gabler, Middletown, Time Stands Still, and others. Regional favorites include Jason in Medea, Clint in The Glory of Living, Ariel in The Pillowman, Jerry in The Full Monty (Memphis Theatre Critics Award), and Burrs in The Wild Party all at Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, Tennessee; Samuel Coleridge in Grasmere at The Cherry Lane Theatre (NYC); and Peck in How I Learned to Drive (OC Weekly Best Actor Award). Aaron has worked as a musical director and piano conductor regionally, including ragtime piano and underscoring for one of the last remaining melodrama companies in the country. Aaron studied piano under Gerald Berthiaume at Washington State University, and holds and MFA in Acting from California State University, Fullerton.

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Jason Robert Brown

Playwright and Composer

Jason Robert Brown is an American musical theatre composer, lyricist, and playwright. Brown's music sensibility fuses pop-rock stylings with theatrical lyrics. An accomplished pianist, Brown has often served as music director, conductor, orchestrator, and pianist for his own productions. He has won Tony Awards for his work on Parade and The Bridges of Madison County. Brown grew up in the suburbs of New York City and attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York for 2 years. During summer, he attended French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts in Hancock, New York. He said Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Sunday in the Park with George were two of his biggest influences, and had it not been for them, he would have joined a rock band and tried to be Billy Joel. He began his career in New York City as an arranger, conductor, and pianist, working on shows such as William Finn'sA new Brain and playing at several nightclubs and piano bars in the city. Songs for a New World marked the first major New York production of Brown's songs. An off-Broadway revue with a limited run, the show was directed by Daisy Prince, daughter of director/producer Hal Prince, and featured the 25-year-old Brown's best-known composition to date. Brown was introduced to Harold Prince through his association with Daisy Prince and was hired to write songs for the Broadway musical Parade, directed by Hal Prince and with a book by Alfred Uhry, won Brown the 1999 Tony Award for Best Original Musical Score. Brown went back to working with Daisy Prince for his third major show, The Last Five Years, for which he wrote the book as well as songs. Inspired by his own failed first marriage, the show is a two-person musical which tells the history of a relationship from two different perspectives. The male's narrative begins at the beginning of the story and progresses through marriage, infidelity, and divorce, while the female narrative begins at the end of the relationship and ends with the couple' first date; the two actors' only direct interaction takes place midpoint during the wedding sequence. The Last Five Years received mixed critical reviews and was not a commercial success, lasting only two months Off-Broadway, although Brown garnered 2 Drama Desk Awards for music and lyrics. Today, Brown teaches courses in musical theatre performance and composition at the University of Southern California. He is an active performer of his own work, singing and playing the piano with or without his band, the Caucasian Rhythm Kings.

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Harlequin Productions

Harlequin Productions is a professional not-for-profit theater company in Olympia, WA, founded in 1991. Their mission is to create stimulating and enriching theatrical experiences by producing an eclectic season of new works, “buried treasures” and unconventional treatments of classics. Through a dynamic selection of surprising material Harlequin explores the human adventure in search of theatrical magic that expands perspective and inspires human empathy.

Harlequin Productions produces a year-round, seven-show season, offering over 130 performances annually. By the end of their 25th season Harlequin Productions had mounted 159 productions, including 37 original pieces and 52 world, west coast or northwest premieres. Their 23 Shakespeare productions have included many of his lesser-performed works, including Antony and Cleopatra, King John, Measure for Measure, The Winter's Tale and Cymbeline.

Harlequin's projects tend toward strong, language driven works, both classical and modern, by such playwrights as Tom Stoppard, Israel Horovitz, Bruce Norris, Will Eno, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Martin McDonagh, Conor McPherson, Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams, Moliére, Rostand, and others.

View website

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Linda Whitney

Director, Scenic Designer, Costume Designer

Linda began working actively in theatre in the mid-1980s having found it a natural segue from a decade in the field of visual and graphic arts. She has been with Harlequin since 1991 designing, directing and writing, as well as service as Artistic Director for the company along with Managing Artistic Director husband, Scot Whitney. Of her over 75 total set design and/or direction credits, recent projects include: Little Shop of Horrors, To Kill a Mockingbird, Sixties Chicks Too, The Philadelphia Story, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Clybourne Park, Enchanted April, My Old Lady, The Seafarer, The Taming of the Shrew and the entire 20 show Stardust series. Linda has written 19 original shows plus several adaptations and monologues. She has received critical recognition for design and direction achievements and is a recipient of the Artist Trust President's Award for Arts Leadership. Linda and Scot also own Whitney Design, a graphic and web design firm in downtown Olympia.

 

 

 


Originally Produced for the New York stage by Arielle Tepper and Marty Bell
Originally Produced by Northlight Theatre, Chicago, IL

*Members of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors & Stage Managers in the United States.

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