The Last Five Years: What I Learned

Hard to believe it’s been a whole month since the run of The Last Five Years at Canton Festival Theatre.  I was so thrilled for the chance to get to work in a very cool venue with a great cast and creative team.  Photos are available on my flickr stream.

Like most musical theatre nerds, I’ve been a fan of The Last Five Years for a long time.  I have fond memories of singing these songs in concerts, in college classes, and on long drives in the tour truck.  So I was eager for the chance to dig into this script and score as a director.

There’s no question that The Last Five Years is a show about perspective.  Moments, phrases, and melodies take on different meaning depending on who’s singing them and when.  I knew that going in, but what I didn’t count on was how much my perspective has changed with time, too.  Throughout the rehearsal process, I kept saying, “I’m so glad I’m working on this now.”  The seventeen-year-old version of me who first bought the cast album had a different set of favorite moments, a different set of insights on the story, and a different set of experiences to draw from in interpreting it.   It was fascinating to compare that with where I am now.  In this story, what I find romantic has changed.  What I find frustrating as changed.  I still love the show, just in a slightly different way – and it was a gift to explore that contrast.  I hope I get the chance to direct it again in another seventeen years to see what else I’ve learned.

Until then, I’m pretty sure my teenage self would’ve been very proud of this show.  (Teenage me certainly would’ve loved Jessie and Camden’s performances!). Glad to have been a part of it.



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