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The Last Five Years
a Musical
by Jason Robert Brown

COMPANY : Kudzu Playhouse [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Kudzu Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 1292

SHOWING : June 24, 2005 - July 09, 2005



The Last Five Years is a show about a relationship, about a marriage. It's told from two angles. From the man's point of view, it starts at the first meeting and ends in the present, when the marriage breaks up. From the woman's point of view, it starts in the present and works back in time to the first meeting. Only at the wedding, in the center of the one-act evening, do the stories intersect. The audience has to do some thinking to track the two stories, but the clues are all there.

Director Wally Hinds
Stage Manager Anna Eitmann
tech Melissa Goodfellow
Jamie Wellerstein Andy Meeks
Cathy Hiatt Shelley Murphy
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Just my thoughts.
by tylers
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Well I begin this review rather timidly. I will start off with saying that yes I am very involved with Kudzu... there now everyone knows it! So here we go...
I had never seen either of these Actor's perform before but I had heard many good things about them so I expected to be blown away. To be honest I wasn't. While I will say that these two performers were EXTREMELY talented they seemed to need a little more direction. Mr.Meeks had wonderful energy in the part he played but sometimes, and yes I did look at the program to see if they had one and they didn't, I really felt like he needed a musical director to help out with some of the songs. They didn't appear to really be in his range at times and he also needed to open his mouth a little wider to be understood clearly. Miss Murphy, I felt, was the stand out in this show. Her voice was fantastic! She too though, once again just my thoughts, needed to be directed more. While I understand that her part was the "timid" one... she never moved. It seemed like every song she sang, her direction was to sit/stand there. To me if you could have married her voice with his energy... that would have been a great, great show. Also I didn't really see that much emotional connection with either of the performers with the songs they were singing. While they both had great voices to me they could have been singing about laundry soap and it would not have made any difference. All in all I did enjoy this show and would go to see both of these folks again. Congrats on a good run and I hope to see both of you again in the future!

sweet Andy Meeks's baadasssss song
by Okely Dokely
Saturday, July 9, 2005
I am one of the ones who has seen both the OSA and the Kudzu production of L5Y. I am happy to report that they are pretty damn close together in the same league. Certain aspects were better and weaker than each other's productions. Let me start off with a concept I felt Onstage grasped better than Kudzu: how much of the plot of the show to reveal. Throughout the curtain speeches of Kudzu's past shows leading up to this one, the main plot point which makes L5Y unique was crammed down our throats. Granted, most of us are musical theatre buffs who therefore already knew about this beforehand, but I'd rather there had been at least some element of surprise for the minority who possibly didn't know. This, to me, would be the equivalent of Hollywood execs advertising their films by saying Rosebud is a sled/Bruce Willis's character is a ghost/Gwyneth Paltrow's head is in the box/etc.

On to the show itself - it seemed to move along more efficiently than OSA's staging. I didn't mind the two clocks on the set. I felt it was subtle enough, but prominent enough to get the point across. I enjoyed the lighting, especially during Climbing Uphill. The lights did a very cool thing where they switched back and forth between Cathy's audition and her internal monologue. I did wish, though, that the two performers had found their light better. It was the most distracting in the final number where Shelley Murphy was almost completely in darkness. I felt Kudzu grasped the costume concept a bit better than OSA. They each had basically a unit costume. I wish they had more small accessories to change, but at least I didn't feel I was getting a fashion show this time around. The performances were wonderful, and probably the best I've seen from both of them. Kudzu's staging for Nobody Needs to Know was much more interesting, and it made the plot and point of the song translate better.

You may think this is unfair for me to do so much comparing. I only do it because the productions were mounted so close to each other time-wise, and as I said, I feel they are in the same league, and can be put up against each other to a certain extent. Both productions were fabulous, and, as I have recently finally bought the cast recording, this show is growing on me and continues to reveal to me what a beautiful palindrome it is. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Pathos and Laughter
by Sommerfield
Friday, July 8, 2005
The Last Five Years is tremendously character driven. Andy and Shelley brought both characters to life with their acting and singing talents. I had been told that it was hard to follow but excellent staging-- including the moving clocks-- made it easy. The music was really good. The mostly very young musicians deserve great praise. I was moved to tears by the sadness of both characters at the divorce. Amazingly I also misted up seeing Cathy's character so innocently happy at the end/beginning because we know all the in between. There was also several times I laughed out loud. Both Andy and Shelley have good comedic bents. I know personally that Andy has picked Shelley to be the lead in 2 of his plays now. They have a good chemistry and I found them both engaging and very talented. The night I saw it Andy seemed a tad forced in his first numbers but excelled as he aged. Shelley seemed natural throughout and had great vocal control over this demanding music. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Kudos to Kudzu
by Molly
Monday, July 4, 2005
I waffled back and forth as to whether to give this show a 4 or 5. I've become stingy with 5's and now reserve them for extremely exceptional performances. This would be very close to that. As usual, I'd like the ability to use half points. If so, I definitely would give this show a 4.5. I have to say that this is the best performance I've seen in Atlanta outside of a professional touring company in a long time. Admittedly, I don't see nearly as much as I'd like to though. I went to this show with some, but limited, familiarity of the show and its music. I've heard some people say that it is difficult to follow; however, I didn't find that. Shelley Murphy was good as Kathy, nice voice, good portrayal of the character. But I was awestruck over Andy Meeks performance as Jamie. I have to say that he may be one of the most talented people I've seen on stage in Atlanta. His acting was incredible, and the audience could really visualize his aging five years in the course of 90 minutes, and he made it look effortless. I haven't seen many shows at Kudzu, but what I have seen has been very good. Kudos to Kudzu for providing quality theatre to the community. I'll definitely see more shows there in the future. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
BOTH actors shined by andy
I too saw this show, both opening night as well as the following night. I agree Andy was great, but I also think more credit is due for Shelly. Her voice is so smooth and effortless. I don't think one shined over the other, they both made this production as good as it was. They made it so easy to watch and they had great chemistry together....Good work Andy and Shelly!!!
What a journey by segue
Andy Meek's performance is a tour-de-force. Jason Robert Brown's material may be far from perfect, and I agree with Molly that the supporting performance is not at the same level, but it's worth seeing Andy on stage no matter what. Wow, I notice Big River opens soon at Big Top Productions (who? where?). This reminds me of Andy's amazing portrayal of Huck at the Aurora a few years back. What a journey. It's been a joy to observe Andy's growth as an actor and singer. Here may be a last chance to see a remarkable performer locally before he makes it big time.
by andy
How do you consider Shelly's role as a supporting performance? Don't get me wrong, Andy is a great friend to me and my husband and I have known him for years, but I honestly don't think he was better than Shelly. I think they BOTH made the roles what they were. Just my opinion though.
jeez by mark
let others say their due without getting overly defensive.
Everyone's entitle to their opinion.......... by Holla Back
Andy Meeks is outstanding. He is clearly on another level. Shelley is just not engaging. I think that it should have been more equally cast. This show requires TWO exceptional actors/singers to do it justice.


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