Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Jason Robert Brown, Norbert Leo Butz, Sherie Rene Scott|
The Last 5 Years (2002 Off-Broadway Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
A fresh and contemporary musical from Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown (Parade), "The Last 5 Years" chronicles a young couple's romance in a new and exciting way: Her story starts at the end of their relation... more »
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A fresh and contemporary musical from Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown (Parade), "The Last 5 Years" chronicles a young couple's romance in a new and exciting way: Her story starts at the end of their relationship, his begins on the day they met. Funny and uplifting, the show captures some of the most heartbreaking and universally-felt moments of modern romance. Co-star Norbert Leo Butz was last seen on Broadway in Harry Connick Jr.'s "Thou Shalt Not," appeared in the hit musical "Rent," and portrayed the emcee in the touring production of "Cabaret." Sherie Rene Scott, last seen on Broadway in Elton John and Tim Rice's "Aida," also starred in "Rent" and "The Who's Tommy." Songs: Still Hurting, Shiksa Goddess, See I'm Smiling, Moving Too Fast, A Part of That, The Schmuel Song, A Summer in Ohio, The Next Ten Minutes, A Miracle Would Happen/When You Come Home to Me, Climbing Uphill, If I Didn't Believe in You, I Can Do Better Than That, Nobody Needs to Know, Goodbye Until Tomorrow/I Could Never Rescue You.
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It captures the spirit of a brilliant musical...
Wayne Rossi | Mount Holly, NJ United States | 05/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the day I bought the Original Broadway Cast recording of "Parade," I have been a fan of Jason Robert Brown. Within two days of hearing "Parade" I had seen a college production and I had tickets to see the new JRB show, "The Last 5 Years," ordered (a great special made them ...). A friend and I went to see L5Y, and we were both completely blown away by the emotional honesty and musical beauty of this piece. (We also got to meet Jason Robert Brown after the show--he is an incredibly nice person, and fanatically devoted to his work.)"The Last 5 Years," of course, is told backward and forward. Backward: Catherine starts at the end of the relationship in her haunting "Still Hurting" and gets to the beginning in "Goodbye Until Tomorrow." Forward: Jamie starts at the beginning with the hilarious "Shiksa Goddess" and reaches the end when he sings "I Could Never Rescue You," which makes the intertwined "Goodbye Until Tomorrow" so bittersweet it hurts.Cathy's story is one of always trying too hard for little results, always pushing but to no avail. Sherie René Scott was beautiful when she sat on the pier in "See I'm Smiling," or on a huge pile of copies of Jamie's book in "A Part of That." She was radiant in "A Summer in Ohio," and her incredibly funny delivery in "Climbing Uphill" that had the audience in stitches is captured perfectly. There are no weird little cars, but believe me that "I Can Do Better Than That" had an illusion of motion that loses a little something when you take it out of the context of the show--but its delivery remains flawless.Jamie is always overwhelmed, and he says as much in one of my favorite Jason Robert Brown songs, "Moving Too Fast." Then there's "Schmuel's Song," which is so tender it actually made me cry today. He becomes a bit less sympathetic as he goes on, but retains his bluntly honest feel in "A Miracle Would Happen." "If I Didn't Believe in You" is his last attempt to hang on to something good, and it's completely abandoned in "Nobody Needs to Know"--but both songs get to a deeper, harder-to-access person in Jamie than you want to think is there.They also meet in the middle for "The Next 10 Minutes." It's a lovely song, but you miss more from the staging here: the way that Jamie's half of the rowboat conversation begins the piece is perfectly dovetailed when you later see Cathy's half...because they're both alone in the rowboat, but together for the wedding portion. (Ironically, it's scene 8...the one number that is the same forward and backward...)Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie René Scott were without peer in the Minetta Lane, and they are the same way here. (Actually, I saw the show the day after this album was recorded--so the performances are extremely familiar to me.) It is a complex tale, and most of what you don't get is Jamie reading the story (excerpt?) printed in the back of the CD liner notes. Initially, it's easy to blame Jamie...but his case is presented so well by the end that it's hard to keep the finger on him. He's only human, as he finds out all too well. It's hard to blame Cathy or Jamie for their love's end...a very fitting message from this very delicately constructed human story.The album sounds great and you get the intimate portrait of a love gone wrong in astounding detail. Jason Robert Brown conducts and plays piano (the orchestra was elevated inside of the large, strange disk that was the backdrop for the entire musical), and the music is just as beautiful as it was live.If you liked one shred of "Songs for a New World" or "Parade," you need this CD. Jason Robert Brown is the greatest up-and-coming talent in musical theatre, and none of these CDs will disappoint the serious theatrical enthusiast. Give this CD a spin, and hope for a revival in the near future, 'cause you're going to want to see this one."
Jason Flum | East Windsor, NJ United States | 04/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As the liner notes say, Jason Robert Brown has arrived. I have been a fan of "Songs for a New World" for a while, I was lucky enough to see "Parade" and love it on Broadway, and now The Last Five Years has come along. This CD (and I'm sure the show, though I haven't seen it) has so much going for it: a top rate cast in Butz and Scott, an intelligent book (I've heard the CD twice so far and I'm sure there are connections in the plots that I haven't caught yet), some truly beautiful songs ("The Next Ten Minutes" being my favorite), and some of the funniest moments I've heard in musicals, including "Urinetown" and "The Producers" (I dare you not to laugh at "Shiksa Goddess," "A Miracle Would Happen" or "Climbing Uphill.") Although I'm not entirely sure how "The Schmuel Song" fits into the story, you can't help but like the song and its hook. Butz's "Nobody Needs to Know" is very moving and very sad, all the while you keep thinking "It was inevitable." Brown captures the moment perfectly -- and notice the connection at the end of that song with the end of "Shiksa Goddess..." Another connection I loved, and I'm HOPING this was intentional, were the two times the leads say "Keep rolling along," a reference to the only other backwards musical I know of. Hopefully this show will be more successful than Merrily was, but Brown is certainly on the right path to have a career like Sondheim's. This is a fantastic CD -- you won't be sorry if you buy it."
Complex, Beautiful, and Brilliant
Jena Tesse Fox | New York, NY USA | 12/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whether he meant to or not, when the score to Parade knocked down every standing wall around theatrical music, composer Jason Robert Brown made a promise to the Broadway community. He promised to breathe new life into a dying art form, to shake up that which took pride in being sedentary, and to make audiences reexamine everything they thought they knew about musicals. The Last Five Years keeps every promise made by Parade, and proves that Mr. Brown is more than capable of reinventing the entire genre of musical theatre. L5Y is, at first glance, a very simple story: actress Catherine and novelist Jamie meet, fall in love, marry, have conflicts, and divorce over the course of five years. With so uncomplicated a plot, then, the characters must be incredibly complex and real in order to keep us interested in their lives, and fortunately for us, Mr. Brown specialises in creating a three-dimensional character in just one song. From the beginning, we know and understand these people and their underlying conflicts: Catherine is painfully insecure and needs Jamie's reassurance, Jamie is an egomaniac who needs Catherine's undivided attention. This is a gross oversimplification of these wonderfully vivid characters, but I would need much more space than allotted here to accurately describe them.What takes L5Y beyond greatness and makes it a work of genius, however, is its presentation. Catherine tells her side of the story backwards, from the divorce to the first meeting. Jamie tells his side forward, from first meeting to divorce. This allows us to see patterns in their lives that might otherwise be hidden- for example, Jamie gets an eager agent and watches his career skyrocket, as we see that Catherine cannot even get her agent on the phone. Every song (save two) are solos, letting Norbert Leo Butz and Sherrie René Scott shine as individuals in their roles. This excellent recording contains almost the entire show (on stage, it ran 83 minutes; the album is just a little shorter), including the long instrumental interludes in the middle of some songs. It is a true gift to experience such talent, and to hear it rising to still greater hights."