Marriage as a Musical Merry-Go-Round


BONNIE GOLDBERG

Relationships are notoriously dangerous as more than 50% of marriages ending in divorce would testify. Looking back gives the participants the advantage of hindsight, when one is able to review all the opportunities missed, all the pitfalls that one was destined to fall in and all the mistakes that might have been avoided if one turned right instead of left. Crystal balls are not readily available, however, to give one the foresight to see potential problems before committing them. The world could take a lesson in why going to war is so often an error, yet history keeps repeating itself.

For a musical cautionary tale that touches the heart in its poignancy and honesty, look no further than Long Wharf Theatre's current offering “The Last Five Years” by Jason Robert Brown, playing until Sunday, June 1. Katie Rose Clarke as Cathy Hyatt and Adam Halpin as Jamie Wellerstein are the couple in question: she, a struggling young actress and he, an up and coming new author looking for his voice, meet and fall headlong into love.

These New Yorkers tell their tales from both sides of the relationship. Cathy’s side of the story is told in flashbacks, as she reviews all the steps and pieces, the broken trail of missteps that led them to the end of their romance. Jamie, on the other hand, looks expectantly forward, from the first blush of new love to the final moment when he admits defeat and leaves a note of farewell. They each blame the other. If Jamie hadn't sold his first novel so quickly and so successfully, if Cathy had gotten parts that didn't play in Ohio, if religious differences didn't surface, if he hadn't become the center of his universe effectively pushing her aside...all these intrude and obscure their affection.

Their bittersweet story is told in a series of songs, concert style, where they open their hearts and reveal their souls, at once hopeful and eager, at once anxious and fearful, the whole gamut of emotions that characterize a relationship. The music captures where they are at that precise moment in their romance, from first date, to Jamie’s mother’s disapproval, to a book signing party, Cathy’s angst- ridden auditions, their first Christmas, and all the important moments in-between. Gordon Edelstein directs this heartfelt tribute to romance and all its intricacies of delight and devilment.

For tickets ($40-75), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org.; Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Let Cathy and Jamie take you by the hand and lead you down the garden path as they discover all the glorious growths and disappointing weeds that can affect the seeds of love.

 

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