This is going to deviate from my usual topics, but because I’ve got such a hangover from watching Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years–staged in Manila by 9 Works Theatrical–I just had to write about it.
I’ve loved musicals since I was a kid listening to cassette recordings of Miss Saigon and watching our Betamax copy of The Sound of Music on repeat. My trip to New York wouldn’t have been complete without a Broadway show or two (or more), and one of my London highlights was getting to watch Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. You can imagine how giddy I am that my current writing gig allows me to watch musicals and plays for free.
It never fails to amaze me how music–the well-written kind–has the power to grab hold of my heart and wrench out all kinds of emotions from it. Joy. Despair. Love. Hatred. Triumph. Desperation. It knocks down my walls and makes me feel things I haven’t felt before. Makes me believe that I’m a mother watching her daughter struggle with cancer (Dani Girl) or that I’m a man dealing with a bipolar wife and a crumbling household (Next to Normal). Great musicals transcend the limits of age, race, gender, and experience, and they keep me in their clutches long after I’ve left the theatre.
That’s exactly what The Last Five Years did to me. More than the great performances by Joaquin Valdes and Nikki Gil and the unique staging by the 9 Works artistic team, it was JRB’s music that really had me falling in love with this heartbreaking piece. I’ve never been a fan of stories without happy endings–in fact, I go out of my way not to read/watch them, especially when they involve cheating partners–but TL5Y’s utter honesty and beauty makes me want to go and watch it again. But since I’ve already splurged on tickets for my parents, I’ll satisfy myself with listening to the soundtrack on loop and waiting for the film adaptation (starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan–so exciting!) to hit cinemas.
I swear to God I’ll never understand
How you can stand there straight and tall
And see I’m crying
And not do anything at all
The feels. </3
Living in Manila? Don’t forget to catch The Last Five Years at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati, this August! Check out my article on Hitlist.ph for more details 🙂