PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Last Five Years' Adam Kantor and Betsy Wolfe Pick Favorites by Jason Robert Brown
By Michael Gioia
Adam Kantor and Betsy Wolfe, who co-starred in the acclaimed Second Stage Theatre revival of The Last Five Years and revisit Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown's score in a concert version of that musical Oct. 16-19 at 54 Below, pick their favorite Brown songs as part of Playbill.com's Playbill Playlist.
In celebration of the release of the Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records 2013 Off-Broadway cast recording — which was available in stores and online Sept. 24 — Kantor and Wolfe perform The Last Five Years in concert Oct. 16 at 7 PM, Oct. 17 at 7 PM, Oct. 18 at 11 PM and Oct. 19 at 11 PM.
The new recording of The Last Five Years is produced by Brown, with Kurt Deutsch and Stacey Mindich serving as executive producers. To pre-order the album, click here. Brown talked to Playbill.com about the album in the recording studio; read the feature story here.
Ghostlight Records is also producing a feature film based on the show directed by Richard LaGravenese and starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. Read more about the film adaptation here. In addition, the label has preserved both the Broadway and London cast recordings of Brown's 13 – The Musical, as well as his solo album "Wearing Someone Else's Clothes."
The Last Five Years played an extended engagement through May 18. (It was originally scheduled through April 21 and extended twice through May 12.) Previews began March 7, prior to an official opening April 2, at Second Stage's Tony Kiser Theatre.
In celebration of the 54 Below concert, Playbill.com reached out to Wolfe and Kantor via email and asked them to choose their favorite Brown songs and tell us why they made their lists.
54 Below is located at 254 W. 54th Street. For more information and tickets, visit 54Below.com.
Adam Kantor: "The Old Red Hills Of Home" (Parade). This was the first song of Jason's I had ever heard live. It was freshman year at Northwestern, fall quarter, and I was on the costume crew for the mainstage musical Parade, directed by Dominic Missimi. I was blown away by this show and how this beautiful song contextualized the story. From the first few notes, I was glued to my seat — which, in this case, was just behind the spot-op.
Adam Kantor: "The Next Ten Minutes" (The Last Five Years). I got to sing this song eight times a week with Betsy Wolfe, on a boat. Betsy Wolfe. Eight times a week. This song. On a BOAT.
Adam Kantor: "Goodbye Until Tomorrow/I Could Never Rescue You" (The Last Five Years). How can one song be the beginning, the end and the climax all at once? This song never ceases to amaze me, and move me.
Adam Kantor: "All The Wasted Time" (Parade). I love listening to the amazing Brent Carver and Carolee Carmello sing this glorious duet on the Parade original cast album. I unfortunately missed the Broadway production, but can someone please produce a revival in the near future? Cool.
"Nothing In Common." I love hearing Jason sing his own music, especially on his album "Wearing Someone Else's Clothes" because you get a deeper insight into the guy. I feel blessed and honored to have been able to work with him so closely at Second Stage…and to consider him a friend.
Betsy Wolfe: "This Is Not Over Yet" (Parade). I watched Brent Carver's Tony performance of "This Is Not Over Yet" so many times I wore out the VHS tape. I was and still am obsessed with that performance. I remember reenacting it — not once, but multiple times — for Jason Robert during rehearsals for The Last Five Years. I think he regretted hiring me in those moments, but, lucky for me, my contract was AIR TIGHT.
Betsy Wolfe: "Summer in Ohio" (The Last Five Years). Where else in the grand, vast musical theatre repertoire does one get to sing out loud about a little person named Karl who happens to be gay as well? I usually just have to use [that] as the SUBtext in other songs I perform.
Betsy Wolfe: "King of the World" (Songs for a New World). I'm not legally permitted to go into detail here, but this song is actually based on something that happened to me.
Betsy Wolfe: "A Miracle Would Happen" (The Last Five Years). I'd sing this song in a heartbeat if I were a guy, and I'm so happy to hear it anytime as long as it's not Adam Kantor singing. Get me literally anybody else, and it's great… Just checking to see if Adam is gonna read this!
Betsy Wolfe: "Stars and the Moon" (Songs for a New World). I always like to listen to this song to make sure I'm reaching for the things in life that will feed my soul. A self-check song, if you will. Oh, and it's beautiful.
Betsy Wolfe: "I Love Betsy" (Honeymoon in Vegas). Here's the thing. Jason worked with me, loved every second (see above: "This Is Not Over Yet"), and then in his very next show, the leading lady is named Betsy, and she's beautiful and funny and adorable and perfect (especially as played by Brynn O'Malley), and this is an actual song title. Coincidence??? I think not. Wait, what? That was a movie? It's based on... A character that existed in the 90s. Oh... Okay. Screw it, the song's not that good.
Highlights from Honeymoon in Vegas at Paper Mill Playhouse:
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