Life In Theatre Productions – the company set up earlier this year by city actors Stephen Fletcher and Andrew Schofield – will be staging its second show next week.
This time, the company is turning its hand to musical theatre with Jason Robert Brown’s The Last 5 Years, a multi award-winning one-act musical about a New York couple who fall in and out of love over the course of five years together.
The two actors have played many kinds of duo on stage but won’t be getting all romantic on us this time — Stephen (known for his work in Eric’s, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Lennon among others) has drafted in the very talented Helen Carter (Once Upon a Time at The Adelphi, The Gatekeeper, Flint Street Nativity, No Wise Men, Dead Heavy Fantastic) to help him on this occasion, for what is described as “a poignant and emotionally powerful production.”
Life In Theatre brought David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre to The Actor’s Studio in March this year, to much acclaim. But this summer, with Andrew committed to Reds and Blues – The Musical at the Royal Court, Stephen had the chance to put on a very different kind of two-hander.
Helen says: “Stephen called me up and asked me if I’d like to do the show with him. I jumped at the chance. It’s our second time working together since we did Dead Heavy Fantastic at The Everyman just before it was knocked down. We had a ball working on that.
“I absolutely love this musical. It’s got everything in it you could want; it’s funny, beautiful, and the music is so moving.”
Stephen says: “It’s a piece Helen and I have always wanted to do and we’re putting a peg in the ground and doing it ourselves. It’s a very beautiful show, and we hope Liverpool enjoys it just as much as we do.”
The story explores a five-year relationship between Jamie Wellerstein, a rising novelist, and Cathy Hyatt, a struggling actress.
“What makes this musical so special is the way their stories are told — he begins the show at the start of their relationship, while Cathy starts the show five years later after their eventual break up. The only time we see them ‘together’ is on their wedding day, midway through the show. It’s a really clever way of telling a simple story- of two people falling in and out of love,” adds Stephen.
The Last 5 Years premiered in Chicago in 2001, and then on Broadway in 2002, winning a number of awards and nominations in the US, before playing to audiences in over 20 countries.
It’s actually not the first time the show has been seen on the Liverpool stage – community theatre group What We Did Next brought it to the Kazimier last September — but it remains a firm musical theatre favourite and it will be interesting to see two well known faces in Liverpool theatreland take it on.
Helen says: “With the show being such a hit elsewhere, we just want as many people to come and see us as possible. Liverpool loves music, and musicals, and this is a really good one for people to come and see. To take it to The Actor’s Studio Theatre is brilliant. It’s a really intimate space and it works so well being so close to the stage- particularly with this piece. The audience is very much a part of the play.”
The Last 5 Years runs at the Actors Studio on Seel Street from Tuesday July 24 until Friday, August 3. Tickets are £10, available from 01517099034 or 07906279258 or online at http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/liverpoolactorsstudio.