Recent big Temple Theatre productions have seen as many as 40 to 50 actors performing on stage at once. The next mainstage show will have a far more intimate feel.
“The Last Five Years,” the award-winning Jason Robert Brown musical drama named one of TIME Magazine’s 10 best shows of 2001, will feature just two actors when it begins its two-weekend run from Jan. 9 to Jan. 19. Temple is partnering with RhinoLeap Productions in Asheboro and director Jeremy Skidmore in this co-production.
“The Last Five Years” explores a five-year a five-year relationship between Jamie Wellerstein, a rising novelist played by veteran New York actor Ashley Robinson, and Cathy Hiatt, a struggling actress portrayed by Cameron Wade (both she and Robinson are making their Temple debuts). The show uses a form of storytelling in which Cathy’s story is told in reverse chronological order (beginning the show at the end of the marriage), and Jamie’s is told in chronological order (starting just after the couple first meets).
“It is a more traditional show for [RhinoLeap’s] audience, and we wanted to take a step toward a more contemporary musical for our Temple audience,” said Gavan Pamer, Temple Theatre’s marketing and development director and the musical director for “The Last Five Years.” “We feel that the story can resonate with people who balance separate careers while navigating an intimate relationship.”
Pamer said Skidmore, the artistic director at RhinoLeap, and Peggy Taphorn, Temple’s artistic director, are collaborating on the production — ”a great way for both of our companies to help one another and support each other financially by sharing the production costs,” he added. After the two-week Temple Theatre run, the show will run from Jan. 23 to Feb. 2 at the Sunset Theatre in Asheboro.
Pamer said the story may resonate with audiences having to deal with new-found success and supporting their partner when their career might not have the same trajectory.
“It also deals with living together as well as having to manage a relationship when your career takes you to different cities and you have to live apart from one another.”
“The Last Five Years” will have 10 shows total at Temple Theatre — 2 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 9 and 16; 2 and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 10 and 17; 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11 and 18; and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 12 and 19. Tickets are available at templeshows.com
Ashley Robinson (Jamie)
Past roles: Floyd Collins (Floyd—West End, London), A Clockwork Orange (Minister/ Old Woman/Mum — New World Stages), Casa Valentina (Gloria — West End, London Premiere), Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory (Capote — New York Premiere/2015 Outer Critics Award Nom), Little Rock (Mike Wallace – Sheen Center Off-Broadway), Steve Martin’s Bright Star (Norquist — World Premiere at The Old Globe), Merrily We Roll Along (Tyler — Menier Chocolate Factory and West End). Originated the role of Jett Rink in the world premiere of Giant (Helen Hayes Award nomination, Best Actor), as well as Tybalt in The Last Goodbye (the Jeff Buckley/ Romeo and Juliet musical) at Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Other theatre credits include: Shakespeare’s R&J (Juliet/Benvolio — Theaterworks Hartford), Take Me Along (Richard — Irish Repertory Theatre, NYC), Meet Me in St. Louis (Lon — Irish Rep, NYC), Wicked (Original Chicago Cast- Fiyero u/s), A Child’s Christmas in Wales (Dylan Thomas — Irish Rep, NYC), Hair (Claude — Prince Music Theatre), Stud’s Terkel’s The Good War (World Premiere, Maltz Jupiter), The Best Little whorehouse in Texas (Roundabout, dir. Joe Mantello).
Cameron Wade (Cathy)
Favorite performing credits: Evita (Eva Peron, Nat’l Tour), Rock of Ages (Sherrie), Boeing Boeing (Gloria), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Olive), Urinetown (Hope) at Theatre Raleigh, High School Musical (Sharpay, NCT, Casa Manana), A Grand Night for Singing (Victoria, Centennial Station Theatre). Others: A Chorus Line (Arkansas Rep), Grease, Jesus Christ Superstar, Fiddler on the Roof (NCT), SUPERior (NYU As Performance …).
Directing/Choreography credits: Selkie, Quilters, Honk & more at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Fame and The Fantasticks at Gilbert Theatre, Forever Plaid at RhinoLeap, Blurred Lines … for NYU As Performance Series, Nocturne, The Colored Museum at UNC-Charlotte, The Big Picture, The Most Massive Woman Wins at Northwest School of the Arts.
Registered Drama Therapist in private practice (carolinacreativewellness.com) and serving Playmakers Repertory Company, also in residence at RhinoLeap.
Jeremy Skidmore (Director)
Skidmore has directed, produced and/or taught across five continents. He currently serves as the artistic director of RhinoLeap Productions based in Asheboro. His other leadership positions include serving as associate artistic director of the Worldwide Art Collective based in Taiwan; the artistic director of Theater Alliance of Washington, D.C.; the artistic producer of the nationally renowned Source Festival; the co-founder and president of the Capital Talent Agency, and the artistic director of the Malibu Playhouse. He was based in Washington, D.C. for 14 years where his productions there were nominated for 34 Helen Hayes awards.
— by Billy Liggett