After a critically acclaimed run at Southwark Playhouse last year and a highly successful worldwide stream with stream.theatre, Jason Robert Brown’s Drama Desk Award-winning musical, The Last Five Years, will play a limited season at the Vaudeville Theatre, previewing from 17 September, with an opening night on 23 September and running until 13 October 2021. Directed by Jonathan O’Boyle, Molly Lynch and Oli Higginson will reprise their roles as Cathy and Jamie. This will be the first time the musical will have had a significant run of length in the West End.
The production at Southwark Playhouse was nominated for eight Offie Awards and won two for Best Director and Best Musical Production. Oli Higginson was nominated for a Stage Debut Award for his performance as Jamie.
The Last Five Years is an emotionally powerful and intimate story about two New Yorkers who fall in and out of love over the course of five years. The musical’s unconventional structure unfolds as Cathy, a struggling actor, tells her story in reverse, from the end of their turbulent relationship, whilst Jamie, a literary prodigy, tells his story chronologically from the spark of their initial meeting. In the musical, the two characters meet only once, at their wedding, which falls in the middle of the show.
Jonathan O’Boyle’s new actor-musician production has the actors on stage at all times and playing the piano to add a new narrative dimension to the story, accompanied by a four-piece band. He said of the West End transfer, “I’m delighted that our production of The Last Five Years is transferring into the West End later this year to the gorgeous Vaudeville Theatre. Seeing the production grow, and the brilliant actors go from strength to strength, was a total joy during 2020. The fact that we now get to share it with a wider audience this autumn is tremendously exciting.”
Brown’s cult classic musical was first seen in 2001 and ran off-Broadway in 2002. It was turned into a film in 2014 starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan.
Molly Lynch made her professional debut in the West End in ENO’s production of Sweeney Todd starring Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfl. She then played the role of Chava in Grange Park Opera’s production of Fiddler on the Roof, also starring Bryn Terfl. She played Betty in the UK Tour of Sunset Boulevard starring Ria Jones and Danny Mac and most recently appeared in The Light in The Piazza starring Renee Fleming at the Royal Festival Hall.
Oli Higginson’s previous theatre credits include The Haystack at Hampstead Theatre, Maggie & Ted at White Bear Theatre, Napoleon Blown Apart at Arcola Theatre and The Assassination of Marcus Garvey at Theatre 503. Most recently, he has been seen in the Netflix hit series Bridgerton and will next be seen on the small screen in The Pursuit of Love.
The creative team, led by director Jonathan O’Boyle, includes choreographer Sam Spencer-Lane, set and costume designer Lee Newby, lighting designer Jamie Platt and sound designer Adam Fisher. Musical director is Leo Munby. Casting is by Jane Deitch.
Producer Katy Lipson said of the production, “I could never have dreamed of having the opportunity to bring this show into London’s West End this year after our off-West End and digital outings last year. It will be our company’s West End musical debut and I am incredibly proud that it is with this production.”
The Last Five Years, written and composed by Jason Robert Brown, was originally produced for the New York stage by Arielle Tepper and Marty Bell and originally produced by Northlight Theatre, Chicago. It is produced at the Vaudeville Theatre by Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment, Edward Prophet and People Entertainment Group, with Dan Looney, Adam Paulden and Jason Haigh-Ellery for DLAP GROUP. General Manager and Assistant Producer is Chris Matanlé for Aria Entertainment. The original Southwark Playhouse production was produced by Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment, Edward Prophet and People Entertainment Group.
The Last Five Years runs from 17 September – 13 October 2021.