On Nov. 8 the duo will perform the two-hander as part of the fall 2003 CooperArts series. Kennedy will portray the role of Cathy — the struggling actress — that she created in the workshop and subsequent staging at Illinois' Northlight Theatre. Brown will portray the successful novelist Jamie, created in Illinois and later played Off-Broadway by Norbert Leo Butz. Sherie Rene Scott starred opposite Butz in the Off-Broadway engagement. (Brown and Kennedy performed the musical this past June at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in Australia.)
The Last Five Years charts the rise and fall of the marriage between Cathy and Jamie over a period of five years. The conceit of The Last Five Years has the woman beginning her story at the end of the relationship and working her way back, while Jamie's story starts from the first date and works forward. They sing together only once, in the middle of the play, at their wedding. Song titles include "Still Hurting," "A Summer in Ohio," "The Next Ten Minutes," "I Can Do Better Than That," "Nobody Needs to Know" and "Goodbye Until Tomorrow."
Lauren Kennedy covered the role of Daisy Hilton in the Broadway production of Side Show and also appeared in the New York companies of Sunset Boulevard and Les Misérables. She starred in The Rhythm Club and was also a part of the early incarnations of The Last Five Years, playing the role that would be played Off-Broadway by Sherie Rene Scott, when Kennedy crossed the Atlantic to star in the National Theatre's revival of South Pacific. Her debut solo CD — "The Songs of Jason Robert Brown" — boasts the premiere recordings of three new Brown tunes, "And I Will Follow," "Letting Go" and "If I Told You Now."
Jason Robert Brown, who was the musical director and arranger for the recent musical Urban Cowboy, won the Tony Award for Best Score for his Broadway debut, Parade. His other recent musical, The Last Five Years, played a brief run at Off-Broadway's Minetta Lane Theatre, and was preserved on Sh-K-Boom Records. Brown also composed the score for Songs for a New World and wrote incidental music for Fuddy Meers, Kimberly Akimbo, The Waverly Gallery and the Irish Repertory Theatre's production of Long Day's Journey Into Night.
The 7:30 PM concert will be held at the Great Hall at Cooper Union, located in Manhattan at Seventh Street and Third Avenue. Tickets are priced at $20 (general admission) and $15 (students and seniors, available at the door only) and will go on sale Sept. 8 through Ticket Central; call (212) 279-4200.