Before Jason Robert Brown's latest musical, The Last Five Years, makes its world premiere at Chicago's Northlight Theatre this spring, New Yorkers can get a sneak peek at the new score sung by the show's first cast, April 28, at the Cooper Union Great Hall. The production's stars, Lauren Kennedy (The Rhythm Club) and Norbert Leo Butz (Saved, Rent), will sing selections from The Last Five Years during the evening musical directed by Brown himself. They will be joined on stage by Parade tour vets regulars Andrea Burns, David Pittu and Keith Byron Kirk as well as theatre legend Joel Grey (Cabaret, Chicago) and Tony winner Donna Murphy (Passion, The King and I).
The Last Five Years, a two person piece about a Jewish boy and Catholic girl wh meet, fall in and then out of love, will premiere in Chicago May 16-June 24 at the Northlight, a theatre where Brown once served as musical director. Daisy Prince will direct.
Along with The Last Five Years, Brown and his company will also sing selections from his original revue Songs for a New World, the Tony Award winner Parade and his Michael Milken dance musical, The Moneyman, aiming for a Broadway run in 2003. Murphy will sing "Stars and Moon" from Songs for a New World. Grey's special duties will be performing a non-musical song, the swing-styled tune "Grow Old With Me," written specially for the world premiere of David Lindsay Abaire's Kimberly Akimbo. That comedy begins performances April 13 at California's South Coast Repertory.
Other performers expected to perform are Randy Redd, Jeff Edgerton, Brooks Ashmanskas, Jill Geddes, Mackenzie Mauzy, Virginia Woodruff and John Paul Almon. Brown will conduct a 35-piece orchestra, which will include the string quartet ETHEL and Brown's long-time backing band, Caucasian Rhythm Kings.
Tickets are $15. The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science & Art is located at East 7th Street at Third Avenue. For reservations, call (212) 279-4200. The Cooper Union is on the web at http://www.cooper.edu/cooperarts.