So nice, I saw it thrice: Looking back at “The Last Five Years”
What can I say? The musical “The Last Five Years,” performed recently at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center was amazing. The story line was seemingly simple – portraying two sides of the story of a doomed marriage – the husband recounting the tale from the couple’s first meeting, and the wife describing things in reverse, starting at the end of the marriage.
The plot was intriguing, but it was the music that often kept me captivated. Abby Mueller and her co-star Ben Jacoby had such amazing voices. Someone even commented that they would love to hear them sing the Buck's T-4 menu – they didn't care what they were singing, they just wanted to hear their voices.
I was lucky enough to see and experience the performance three nights in a row. I was a little concerned that I would be bored by the third time I saw the show, however, I think the third performance was my favorite, every time I gained a little more insight into what the show was about. I would love to see it a hundred more times.
I was really impressed by how the actors’ attention to detail was so spot-on. Not only did these performers sing beautifully, hey also performed beautifully. With so much emotion in their facial gestures, body language, and the musical background, you could almost tell what they were saying without hearing a word.
Mueller mentioned that the WMPAC performance didn't feel like a job. Jacoby said he loved the respite he had in Big Sky – his time here renewed him and he feels he will perform better now at the show "Beautiful" in New York which he has performed a thousand times.
The pianist for “The Last Five Years” mentioned that she felt people are so much more supportive of actors and talent here in Big Sky than New York. Great job my friends, thank you!
When I asked Mueller if I could get a direct quote, she told me to just make sure everyone in Big Sky knows how beautiful and peaceful this place is. I thought ‘Duh, we all know that, that is why we live here,’ then, I immediately wanted to tell her how beautiful her voice and performance was, but before I did, I thought, ‘She already knows she has an amazing voice, that's why she's here.’
To me, what is so amazing is that John Zirkle, WMPAC’s executive and artistic director, has found a way to bring these two amazing worlds together, noted beautifully by my friend Rebekah Winslow: "I was born in Long Island, I was surrounded by some of the finest colleges, museums, historical venues and theaters our country has to offer. I attended an Ivy League school where I studied theater and writing.
“When I moved to Big Sky 13 years ago, I immediately felt the pang of the loss of theatrical arts and cultural experience l assumed where everywhere. It is reviving to hear such masterful voices from Broadway resonating in our tiny, remote Rocky Mountain community.
Shows like "The Last Five Years" make it easier for me to be inspired here and make me feel a lot less detached from the big cities I once called home."
Again, to all of the sponsors and everyone who helps support WMPAC, this town thrives culturally and with heart because of people like you! Thank you!