Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
A CALL from a literary agent to Jamie (Noel Oishi) creates one more fissure in his relationship with Cathy (Michelle Firsching).
As of Friday, September 1, 2017
The Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association opens its 2017-2018 season with the musical “The Last Five Years.” Presented by Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association’s (CGOA) Stages theater ensemble, “The Last Five Years” is an intimate, two-person musical by Jason Robert Brown.
The production features two different casts: Michelle Firsching and Noel Oishi are newcomers to Stages, while Ashly Will and William Thayer-Dougherty are familiar faces to local audiences. Oishi is a Portland resident and graduate of Pacific University.
“The hook of the show,” said Director Mark Steighner, “is that it tells the story of a romantic relationship through time, but from the woman’s perspective, the show starts at the breakup while the man’s story begins at their first meeting. Their stories only cross once: when they get married.”
With only two characters, each actor gets plenty of stage time and a wide variety of songs that cover an equally broad range of genres, from pop to jazz to a little klezmer. “There are many songs that are showstoppers from an acting and singing perspective,” Steighner added. The musical was recently released as a film starring Anna Kendrick.
“While many of the songs are heartbreaking and emotionally raw, there are an equal number of upbeat and funny moments. The musical explores a wide range of emotions,” Steighner said.
“Because of the structure, time is a major theme of the musical. The couple is out of synch with each other emotionally.”
Firsching and Oishi will star on Sept. 8-9 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 10 at 2 p.m., while Will and Thayer-Dougherty will lead the second weekend, Sept. 14-16 at 7 p.m. All shows are at the Bingen Theater. Tickets are available at the door and through gorgeorchestra.org. Tickets are $15 for adults (ages 18 and over) and $10 for students and children (10-17).
The show is rated “PG-13” for language.
Steighner noted that June’s “Spamalot” was a sell-out and urged early purchase of tickets through gorgeorchestra.org.