Studio Theater in Exile presents “The Last Five Years” by Jason Robert Brown

“The Last Five Years” by Jason Robert Brown will be on stage at STUDIO THEATER IN EXILE@HUDSON VALLEY MOCA,

FRIDAY, December 1st – 7pm, SATURDAY, December 2nd – 7pm; SATURDAY, December 9th – 7pm, SUNDAY, December 10th – 3pm; SATURDAY, December 16th – 3pm and 7pm,

SUNDAY, December 17th – 3pm. $40.00 adults, $35 student, senior 65+, HVMOCA member.

One could say that this is a ‘He said, She said’ or one could call it a musical inspired by Jason Robert Brown’s ex-wife, or a revenge against same, whatever it must be admitted that the play is a lyrical tribute to love, marriage, and divorce as the two character, Cathy (Alea Vorillas) and Jamie (Brett Fox) tell their stories of the relationship.

The structure of the show is unusual. Cathy’s story begins at the end of the relationship and concludes at its beginning. Jamie’s story starts at the beginning and follows through to the end. It’s an intriguing structure bringing up theories of how memory works and what the time-line crossover means. Will Cathy be better off since she deals with the sorrow of an ending first and remembers love last; does Jamie’s focus on his love first and his departure last tell us anything about memory, loss, the ability to get on with life even in pain? Artistically, rumor has it that Brown found the structure standing on a subway platform watching two trains pass in different directions.

Starting in 2001 at the Minetta Lane Theatre, “The Last Five Years” has traveled across the United States and six other countries. The words are intimate and poetic, the music is expressive, and the situation is universal, although much more melodic than the usual love to break-up story.  It was named one of the top ten musicals by Time Magazine and lauded as a “powerful and intimate look at the 5 year-long relationship.”

Quotes from the actors:

For Bret, the show explores themes that he connects with deeply, and he has been in love with the material for over 20 years.  He was fascinated by the complexity and deconstruction of such a simple storyline, as well as the theatricality of it, considering it has only two characters.

Alea has always loved new concepts that disrupt the status quo.  She was equally fascinated that the composer/lyricist was able to take a cookie-cutter plotline and invert it for the audience, making it even more heart wrenching.  As an opera singer, Alea found the composition both defiant and innovative, while at the same time conventional and deferential to classical tradition, which is not often found in contemporary works.

Bret and Alea have wanted to do this show since they met each other 5 years ago.  This show is about a couple and their 5-year relationship, and it is fitting that their friendship would culminate in this production in its 5th year.

About Studio Theater in Exile

Studio Theater in Exile is a collective which morphed out of the Newman Theater and Theater in Odd Spaces. Formed in 2018, Studio Theater in Exile shares and builds upon the mission of these previous organizations, and now supersedes them as an official entity. The Newman Theatre, in Pleasantville, NY, ran from 1993 to 2005 and its mission was to “Bring the Arts and Community Together”. Besides mounting established plays, the Newman was known for encouraging and creating original work, including Promised Land, about the Holocaust which began at the Newman and toured from SUNY Purchase to Budapest, Hungary, Memoirs of a Mad Masseuse written by Westchester Playwright Staci Swedeen, and Shedding Light, an Abeles award winner that toured the tribe-state area. After the Newman Theater closed, the executive team ran Theater in Odd Places from 2005-2018 wanting to continue the mission and focus collaborating with others and produce new works presented in unusual venues. And thus Studio Theater in Exile was born. Mara Mills and Jeremy Gratt, cofounders with Marsha Newman of the Newman Theater and partners in Theater in Odd Spaces are the founders of Studio Theater in Exile. Karina Ramsey joined the administrative team in August 2018. Evan Bishop and Katori Walker joined us this year, both as creators and members of the collective.

mission: Studio Theater in Exile collaborates with playwrights and performers to create and develop original work. Studio Theater in Exile is a company without a space that collaborates with its environment. It is an outgrowth of the belief that theater takes place anywhere and can be performed anywhere – in the streets, galleries, libraries, museums, black boxes, backyards, and even on a stage. We have been working with performers and playwrights to develop work that can be performed in any venue. Co-founders, Mara Mills and Jeremy Gratt have worked together, since 1991, to present original work, based on the art in an exhibition, a social justice issue, history, or the spark of an idea. Karina Ramsey joined Studio Theater in Exile in 2018.