The Last 5 Years tells the story of a five-year relationship between a man and a woman that is falling apart -- and puts it to music.
The one-act musical premiered in Chicago in 2001 and played off-Broadway a year later before it was adapted for other productions worldwide. Director Ginny Quinley said she became interested in The Last 5 Years after it came to her attention about a year ago.
"I had many young people audition with songs from the show, and I heard a lot of talk from high schoolers and college students that it's one of their favorite musicals," she said.
Quinley decided to take up the challenge of directing the play even though she had never actually seen it.
"I think I took it on partially because of the challenges," she said. "It's a tough one to tackle because only two people have to command the audience for the entire hour and a half."
Those two characters are portrayed by Tri-City actor Greg Rose as Jamie Wallerstein and Heather Manley as Cathy Hiatt.
Jamie is an up-and-coming novelist and Cathy is a struggling actress. Jamie tells the story of their five-year relationship from its beginning to the end. But Cathy sings the story with a different perspective: From the end of their relationship to the beginning.
"I feel beyond lucky that I get to play the role I have coveted since the moment I listened to the soundtrack last year," Manley said. "Cathy has been a growing experience for me, challenging my artistic and musical talents and abilities. And furthermore it has helped me heal from parallel issues I have faced in my own life during the past five years.
"This play is fantastically different and fresh. The music is completely moving and emotional and the story is totally relatable for audiences everywhere," she added.
Justin Raffa, artistic director for the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, will be the music director, with Ronn Campbell on lighting and design, John Tuttle as choreographer, and Verna Schwilke as costumer. Sheila Zilar Gephart will handle the five-piece orchestra.
Showtime in the CBC theater is at 7:30 p.m. May 12-14 with a 2 p.m. matinee May 15. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.
Tickets are available at JD's Time Center in Kennewick, Adventures Underground in Richland or at the door.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org