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Relatable moments and music make ‘The Final 5 Years’ at Greenbelt Arts Heart


Greenbelts Arts Heart (GAC) returns to the stage with Jason Robert Brown’s The Final 5 Yrs. GAC was quiet for almost three years because of the pandemic. A big, rowdy viewers welcomed performers again to the thrust stage.

Cathy (AnnaBelle Lowe) and Jamie (Matt Wetzel) challenged one another by way of tune by way of 5 years of an typically rocky relationship. Pianist Rolando Brown and Ethan Hart on guitar and bass have been flawless.

AnnaBelle Lowe and Matt Wetzel in ‘The Final 5 Years.’ Images by Kris Northrup.

(There are two casts: Lowe and Wetzel carry out on November 6, 12 and 18.  Joshua Nettinga and Ashley Rudy carry out on November 11, 13, and 19.)

There is no such thing as a protagonist or antagonist on this musical. Director Meg Nemeth was introduced with a problem presenting this piece. It has a weak plot if it has one in any respect. That’s not her fault, it isn’t the singers’ fault, and it isn’t the musicians’ fault. The blame goes to Brown. Critics have overwhelmed the author up for a poorly written play, and film, for years. In addition they word the music is great. The identical holds true for the Greenbelt manufacturing.

Nemeth says she tries to make GAC’s The Final 5 Years simplistic. She desires the viewers to search out “relatable moments,” she says in her director’s word. “Relatable moments that make them so enduring we are able to all agree that Jamie and Cathy are solely human. These human errors are what make them connect with us.”

Lowe opens the manufacturing with “Nonetheless Hurting.” Cathy has simply discovered Jamie desires out of their crumbling marriage. She captures the heartbreak of a relationship ending, however accepts no duty for it. The tune may be very miserable, but it’s the opening quantity. Lowe knocks it out of the park.

The quantity units the stage for Cathy to inform the story of her romance, and loss of life thereof, with Jamie from finish to starting.

Ashley Rudy and Joshua Nettinga in ’The Final 5 Years.’ Images by Kris Northrup.

Too a lot of Lowe’s early numbers are miserable. Cathy isn’t allowed to develop. When scenes digress and he or she is comfortable and in love, Cathy appears comfortable about being liked, particularly somebody wanting her and accepting her. She is a struggling singer within the GAC manufacturing whose many rejections bitter Cathy to rebuffs. This divorce often is the final straw for her.

Jamie is a Jewish novelist-playwright wannabe when he meets Cathy. She is a non-Jew, and that can drive his household mad. She laughs at his jokes and makes him really feel good, all of the whereas establishing an ego she’s going to come to hate. Jamie sells a novel at 23 and finds success, however his marriage takes successful.

Wetzel sings his story from the start of the like to divorce. Halfway by way of the primary scene, Jamie realizes his marriage is on the rocks. Wetzel’s imposing “Transferring Too Quick” ought to have been a warning to him.

Jason Kanow dealt with the lighting design. His mastery was evident as Lowe sings “I’m a A part of That,” through which Cathy acknowledges how she spent greater than a yr supporting her husband on tour whereas her life/profession was on maintain. A number of the overhead lights are turned off towards the top of the quantity, then all are relinquished because the tune ends, offering a strong tonal impact.

AnnaBelle Lowe and Matt Wetzel in ‘The Final 5 Years.’ Photograph by Kris Northrup.

Act I closes with probably the most optimistic level of the musical. Jamie and Cathy sing “The Subsequent Ten Minutes” as they bear in mind their stroll to a gazebo in Central Park, the place Jamie proposes. They marry in the identical spot, and similar tune. It’s the solely time the duo meets through the efficiency. All the pieces else is he mentioned/she mentioned with both the lone stage or a single highlight.

Jamie realizes his marriage is thru in most of Act 2. As a substitute of fantasizing about intercourse with Jewish girls, he’s now committing adultery. In “No person Must Know,” Wetzel sings a tenderhearted melody that could possibly be aimed on the girls he’s having intercourse with or himself. Jamie already is aware of, in fact, and could also be remorseful.

The story opens — ends — for Cathy with “Goodbye Till Tomorrow” as a giddy younger girl interested by this glorious man she simply met. On the opposite facet of the stage, Jamie is writing a Pricey Cathy letter explaining “I Might By no means Rescue You” that he has closed the checking account and is getting ready to divorce her and that is goodbye.

The excellent news for GAC is it had a big viewers for opening evening. The unhealthy information for the viewers is just too many within the opening evening crowd have been insiders who have been too aware of the manufacturing and laughed, loudly and inappropriately, at key moments drowning out lyrics that may have given everybody fun. Many of those left earlier than Act 2 making it extra listener-friendly.

Operating Time: One hour 45-minutes, with a 15-minute intermission.

The Final 5 Years performs by way of November 19, 2022, at Greenbelt Arts Heart, 123 Centerway, Greenbelt, MD. Friday and Saturday reveals begin at 8 pm; Sunday matinees, at 2 pm. Tickets ($27, common admission; $24, seniors and army; $14, kids and college students) should be bought prematurely on-line.

COVID Security: All viewers members put on a masks the total time they’re within the constructing. GAC’s present COVID-19 Security Plan is right here.

The Final 5 Years by Jason Robert Brown
Director: Meg Nemeth
Music Director: Rolanda Brown

E book Solid performing November 6, 12, and 18
Jamie: Matt Wetzel
Cathy: AnnaBelle Lowe

Clock Solid performing November 11, 13, and 19
Jamie: Joshua Nettinga
Cathy: Ashley Rudy

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