Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist Jason Robert Brown's new musical, The Last Five Years, will be part of the Chicago-area Northlight Theatre's 2000-2001 season, artistic director B.J. Jones announced.
Brown, who scored and penned lyrics for Parade, the Tony-winning 1998 musical drama that embarks on a national tour this summer, has created in the world premiere a "romantic musical about a nice Jewish boy and a good Irish Catholic girl in New York City who fall in love and fall apart during a five-year courtship," according to the Northlight announcement.
Brown, whose revue, Songs For a New World, was one of the projects that got him noticed, was music director of Dinah Was, which Northlight, in Skokie, IL, presented in 1998-99. Subsequently, he chose Northlight's 350 seat venue for the premiere of the intimate new piece.
The Last Five Years (May 16-June 24, 2001) will be the fifth of five shows in the coming 26th season at Northlight. The two-character musical is said to be "wildly funny and crushingly sad," navigating the minefields of contemporary love and marriage through the "soulful and soaring" music and lyrics of Brown, who will be in residence at Northlight throughout the run, playing the piano and conducting the show's six-piece band for every performance.
Also on the slate are four Chicago premieres: Shelagh Stephenson's An Experiment with an Air Pump (Sept. 27-Nov. 5), a new dramatic comedy about science and morality that spans two centuries (it was recently nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award; Enter the Guardsman (Dec. 6-Jan. 7, 2001), a backstage musical about infidelity and theatrical excess, based on the play by Ferenc Molnar; Bee Luther-Hatchee, a searing contemporary drama about the limits of artistic license by Thomas Gibbons (Jan. 31-March 11, 2001); and The Gamester (March 21-April 29, 2001), a rollicking and timely restoration comedy by Moliere contemporary Jean-François Regnard, in a world premiere translation by Freyda Thomas.
Northlight Theatre, which has a $2.1 million annual budget, is the resident producing theatre (using two venues) at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, at 9501 N. Skokie Blvd. in Skokie. The troupe has 9,000 subscribers.
For information, call (847) 673-6300 or try the web site at http://www.northlight.org.
-- By Kenneth Jones