He's Not Afraid of Anything: Jason Robert Brown Sounds Off on Stepping Into the Pit for Last Five's Last Day

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25 May 2013

Jason Robert Brown
Jason Robert Brown

Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown not only directed the Second Stage Theatre revival of his two-person musical The Last Five Years, but on the show's final day, he joined the band to accompany Adam Kantor and Betsy Wolfe as they told the story of a couple falling in and out of love. Brown chatted with Playbill.com about the experience.

"I was thinking, 'Jesus Christ, this is hard!' Really! It's a lot of notes," Brown confessed to Playbill.com at Avatar Studios May 22, when Kantor and Wolfe took to the recording studio to lay down tracks for the upcoming cast album of Second Stage's acclaimed revival of The Last Five Years. "All I was doing was getting inside the music and being there. I mean, I think there's some more romantic thing I'm supposed to say, but, to me, there's nothing more magical… I submerge myself in the act of making music, so that's what I was doing… Honestly, to make music with Betsy and Adam was wonderful."

Before Kantor and Wolfe stepped out onto the Tony Kiser stage, Brown and the musicians took their seats at the 2 PM May 18 matinee. The crowd quickly realized that they were in for a memorable musical moment with the Tony-winning composer at the piano.

"The bass player [Randy Landau] and the guitarist [Gary Sieger, who played in the orchestra] are part of my band, the Caucasian Rhythm Kings, and they have been for 15 years now," said Brown. "They never missed a single performance of the almost-90 shows that we did. It was the second-to-last show, and I really thought, 'I want to get one chance to play it with them.' That was my entire thing. On top of everything else, and below everything else, I think I'm a musician first. I'm a guy who likes to make music with other musicians. Directing is fun, but it's not the same as making music for me. I wanted to make some music, so I took advantage of the opportunity."


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