As a two-hander, “The Last Five Years” is the perfect show for Ridgefield’s ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) of Connecticut to reopen its theater with after closing in March due to COVID-19. And while Broadway recently extended its shutdown to June 2021, ACT is resuming production with a show its team has long wanted to do. More importantly, it’s a show that can be safely presented, given the show only needs two actors. The show will run Oct. 28 through Nov. 15 and is available for viewing in person and via livestream.
The emotionally raw and powerful musical, tells the story of a young couple’s failed marriage, with the two characters mostly telling their stories separately, only briefly engaging on stage. Cathy, a struggling actress, tells her side in reverse order, beginning at the end of their marriage while Jamie, a rising writer, starts his story when the couple first met.
ACT’s executive director Katie Diamond, who makes her acting debut at ACT as Cathy, said, “We are so excited to welcome our patrons back to ACT this fall. We understand that some of our audience members may prefer to watch this production from their living room, and so we are thrilled to be able to offer this unique livestream opportunity.” Limited in-person seating in the theater is available and ACT obtained permission to livestream the show for ticket buyers who prefer to watch from their home.
ACT’s artistic director Daniel C. Levine has had this show on his to-do list since the theater opened. “We actually planned on producing the show in just a couple of seasons from now but due to the fact that it is a smaller musical (just two actors), of course it feels like the right choice for a show for us to reopen with.”
“We have been doing a lot of reorganizing and shuffling of our upcoming season (here at ACT) and we made the decision that the smartest (and safest) show to reopen with should be a smaller musical and I’m just excited that our loyal audiences will be able to experience this show that has been a favorite of ours for many years. It’s just so good!” he added.
Levine raved about the show, which was highly received in its Off-Broadway showing and later made into a feature film starring Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick.
“The score is unbelievably gorgeous, soaring, emotional, funny, poignant — really a perfect show for right now,” he said.
Asked about moving from the office to the stage for this show, Diamond said, “Having the opportunity to star in this show, at this time, and with these people is really what they call a ‘silver lining’ to this entire year. The show is brilliant and beautiful, and honestly I have wanted to play this role for a decade. The fact that I get to bring this show to our ACT audiences with both Dan Levine and Bryan Perri is more than I could have imagined. I’m thrilled to be able to bring live theatre back to our community after a seven-month ‘extended intermission’!”
Levine explained how rare it was for their theater to be granted special streaming opportunities. “We are totally thrilled (and grateful) that the licensing agency is allowing us to livestream our production so that all of our patrons can see it,” he said. “This helps us in two ways: we can still sell our maximum capacity of tickets, and, for our patrons that do not yet feel quite comfortable sitting in a theatre, they will not miss out on this spectacular show.”
After this show, ACT will stage its winter production of Stephen Schwartz’s “Snapshots,” a five-person musical, and plans to close the season next spring with the musical, “Into the Woods.”
“The past seven months have been all about planning, rescheduling and then ‘pivoting’ again. We’ve become quite skilled at it,” Levine added. “This upcoming season (that I just described) is our current plan. Should things change, we will continue to figure it out and adjust. The safety of our patrons and our actors and technicians (as well as our employees at ACT) are our first priority, of course.”
For more information about the show, call or email the box office: 475-215-5497 or firstname.lastname@example.org.