‘Last Five Years’ Delivers a Colorful & Charming Musical Experience - TribPapers

‘Last Five Years’ Delivers a Colorful & Charming Musical Experience

A scene from The Last Five Years.

Tryon – In a much-anticipated production presented at Tryon Fine Arts Center, ‘Last Five Years’ directed by Catherine Gillet and produced by Michelle Newman, captivated the audience with impeccable pacing, vibrant performances, and numerous moments of comedy. This critically acclaimed musical by Jason Robert Brown has garnered international fame, being translated into multiple languages and performed around the globe.

The powerhouse cast was led by Bethany McDonald and Chase Wolfe, both acclaimed performers in their own right. Chase Wolfe, a Carolina native, showcased his magnetic talent and made the performance a true homecoming celebration. Having previously graced stages in the Tryon area, including Shakespeare & Friends and Spartanburg Little Theater shows, Wolfe’s roots in Spartanburg shone through his energetic and (at times) acrobatic portrayal.

Bethany McDonald, hailing from northern England and now based in New York City, brought a comedic timing accuracy and swagger to the stage which nuansed all the songs with a bittersweet optimism. She moved to New York City to originate the lead role of Mindy in her Off-Broadway debut in the world premiere of ‘Mike & Mindy’s Wild Weekend Jam.’

‘Last Five Years’ tells the story of Jamie Wellerstein, a rising novelist, and Cathy Hiatt, a struggling actress, as they navigate the ups and downs of their five-year relationship in a high stakes locale. This emotionally charged and intimate musical takes a unique approach to storytelling, with Cathy recounting her side of the story in reverse chronological order while Jamie’s narrative unfolds chronologically. The unconventional structure adds a degree of insight and complexity to the characters’ journey, making for a truly compelling theatrical experience. By the end we empathize with both despite their outcomes.

Jason Robert Brown’s inventive musical style draws from a multitude of genres, including pop, jazz, classical, Klezmer, Latin, blues, rock, and folk. This eclectic fusion of musical influences adds depth and richness to the production, immersing the audience in a world of captivating melodies and catchy toe-tapping rhythms.

Performed in the state-of-the-art Pavilion at Tryon Fine Arts Center, the show benefited from the venue’s recent upgrades, boasting a professional-quality stage and light system. The production ran from June 13-16, with performances on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, as well as a Sunday matinee. Audiences were treated to an unforgettable theatrical experience, as the cast brought to life the magic of ‘Last Five Years.’

‘Last Five Years’ at Tryon Fine Arts Center proved to be a must-see production, showcasing the musical’s effective use of pacing, vibrant performances, and countless moments of comedy. Under the skilled direction of Catherine Gillet and with the exceptional talent of Bethany McDonald and Chase Wolfe leading the way, this musical left audiences thoroughly entertained and wanting more.