Student Run Musical Theatre Presents The Last 5 Years

While Wagner College Theatre may be known for its multiple productions it puts on annually, Wagner College has a variety of student groups on campus that produce theatre each year.  One of those groups is Student Run Musical Theatre which is kicking off its 2011 Season this weekend with the famous Jason Robert Brown piece, The Last 5 Years.

Student Run Musical Theatre is a new group to the Wagner College campus only being created just last year. The group was formed by Billy Aberle and Chris Sabol. While there are multiple other groups on campus dedicated to theatre, Chris says Billy and himself were really interested in “creating another outlet for theatre on campus”.  The first show their organization produced last year was  A New Brain.

The Last 5 Years is a musical that features Book, Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. The plot line of the musical follows the story of  Jamie Wellerstein and Cathy Hyatt. The musical takes an interesting approach with Cathy beginning her story at the end of their marriage and working backwards while Jamie works from the day they met and works forward. They meet in the middle for one song only and then continue on their way. The musical includes songs such as “See I’m Smiling”, “Moving Too Fast” and “I Can Do Better Then That” just to name a few. The musical is based off of a true life relationship drama of Jason Robert Brown.

Something very exciting about this production is the two people playing Jamie and Cathy in this show! Why though you ask? Because both of them are now less then a month into their freshmen year here at Wagner. Timothy McMillan stars as Jamie with Marielle Greguski as Cathy. Allison Smeck is on board as Director of the piece with Chris Sabol as Music Director. Billy Aberle is Producing.

I was lucky enough to drop by rehearsal last night for The Last 5 Years only 2 nights before Opening. And you wouldn’t be able to tell that it was that – in a good way. Chris Sabol sits relaxed at the piano and Allison asks the cast how their day was. When I asked Chris about music directing this show he laughs at first and then says “It is definitely one of the hardest shows I’ve ever musically directed”. And as he goes into explaining why thats so, I get the answer of emotional depth. “Some people say this show is really just a song cycle, but the hardest part about it is digging into what the characters are really saying. The emotional depth of this show has definitely been the hardest part”, Chris mentioned. I also got to chat with director Allison Smeck about the production. She teamed up with SRMT in Fall 2010 and does a variety of jobs. “They took my soul”, she says as she jokes about working with Billy and Chris. When I asked her about her favorite part on working on this production, she mentioned she has been able to really discover what love is while working on this production whether it be a success, a failure or watching it fall apart. “I’ve also loved getting to work with new talent (referring to Tim and Marielle). We literally spend hours and hours together so we’re really a family”.

Student Run Musical Theatre will present The Last 5 Years on September 23rd and September 24th at 8:00 PM. The performances will take place at The Performance Center in Campus Hall on the Wagner College Campus. While admission is free, there is a suggested $3 donation at the door which will help to support SRMT future productions. I will be attending this production and posting my official review of it Saturday morning so be sure to check back for this! After talking to the cast and crew tonight for a few moments, my expectations for this show are nothing but high. You can check out the Official Facebook Event for Last 5 Years on Facebook or check out Student Run Musical Theatre’s Official Website. And of course, check back to Luner on Theatre not only for our official review Saturday but all your Student Run Musical Theatre news all year long!

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