First rehearsal is its own kind of ritual at Long Wharf Theatre. The cast and company get together and introduce themselves. The artists talk a little bit about their vision for the play, and then the cast reads the script together for the first time.
Our production of The Last Five Years provided a welcome departure from that script. The actors Katie Rose Clarke and Adam Halpin got together for a few days before the company assembled, working with Musical Director James Sampliner to get a handle on the music. So, after a few brief remarks from director Gordon Edelstein, Clarke and Halpin favored the company with a duet.
The romantic ballad, entitled “The Next Ten Minutes” comes at the middle of the play, and chronicles Jamie and Cathy’s hope for a future full of love and happiness. Clarke and Halpin were in mid-run form, vocals soaring, connecting with each other through the music.
“There’s so many lives I want to share with you. I’ll never be complete until I do,” Jamie, played by Halpin, sung.
“I will never be complete. I will never be sure. I’ll never change the world until I do,” Clarke’s Cathy responds later in the song.
It was a bravura performance, and only whetted the appetite of the staff for what the rest of the rehearsal process might hold. Edelstein was smitten by their performance, and excited by the prospect of working on this beautiful score. “I’ve loved this musical since I first heard it,” he said.
— Steve Scarpa