‘Last Five Years’ musical takes to Libertyville stage, May 18-19, 25-26
Not-for-profit Liberty Town Productions challenges Citadel, Light Opera, Marriott, Northlight patrons to compare talent
Libertyville’s not-for-profit entertainment company, Liberty Town Productions, is throwing down the gauntlet to entice audiences to attend its production of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years, May 18, 19, 25 and 26.
“We’re challenging patrons of our terrific local professional companies—Citadel, Light Opera Works, Marriott and Northlight,” said executive director Barry Reszel. “People in the North suburbs enjoy and support great musical-theatre. So come check out the talent a community, not-for-profit company can put onstage.
“Our fabulous performers and musicians are professional-level entertainers. If you come to see this show and don’t agree, we will refund the cost of your theatre ticket.”
The opportunity to take up Liberty Town’s dare comes the last two weekends in May at Austin’s Fuel Room, 481 Peterson Road, Libertyville. Dinner-theatre tickets are $35 and theatre-only tickets are just $20. They are available in person at Austin’s or through the company’s online box office at www.libertytownproductions.com.
Coincidentally, The Last Five Years, premiered at Skokie’s Northlight Theatre before going on to bring superstardom to Brown, widely seen as musical-theatre’s hottest contemporary composer.
“This is the production many of our performers have been asking for,” said Reszel. “We hadn’t considered it before because it’s just a two-actor show and we try to include as many people as possible. But when Jonathan Weppler (the Libertyville native who stars in the production with Buffalo Grove’s Carley Wilson Alcorn) came to us with his vision and passion, we took this on as our spring show.”
Last Five is the all-sung story exploring a five-year relationship between Jamie Wellerstein (Weppler), a rising novelist, and Cathy Hyatt (Alcorn), a struggling actress. Cathy's story is told in reverse chronological order, while Jamie's is told chronologically. The characters do not directly interact except at their wedding in the middle when their timelines intersect.
“I’ve wanted to do this show ever since I first heard the cast recording a couple years ago,” said Weppler. “When I was working with Liberty Town on last fall’s production of Nunsense, I met Carley and Kevin (Reeks, the show’s Evanston-based musical director), which really fed my vision and inspiration.”
With Weppler onstage, directing duties have been shared by veteran Libertyville directors Terry Bangs and Scott Metzger, along with Reszel.
“Carley and Jon are perfect examples of why Liberty Town Productions exists,” Reszel said. “They both have degrees and experience in vocal performance and musical theatre and could easily be cast professionally. There are so many talented singers, dancers and actors who, for their own reasons, decided not to make performance their careers.
“So we formed this company with the mission of giving these talented folks the opportunity to pursue their passions while bringing our community high-quality, local entertainment for a tremendous value. People who have come to our productions over the past six years will attest to our meeting these two goals. Those who have been part of them know we make the process a fun one for everybody involved while setting the quality bar quite high.”
Curtain times for The Last Five Years at Austin’s Fuel Room are 7:30 pm on May 18, 19, 25 and 26. Dinner will be served in the Fuel Room from 6-7 pm. Doors open for theatre-only ticket holders at 7 pm. Tickets are $35 for Dinner-Theatre (buffet, soft drinks and tip included) and $20 for Theatre-Only. Information and tickets are available from the “box office” link at www.libertytownproductions.com or in person at Austin’s Saloon & Eatery, 481 Peterson Road, Libertyville. All seating is general admission. Producers recommend purchasing tickets in advance.