|On May 23, 2001, Northlight Theatre mounted the world premiere of Jason Robert Brown‘s The Last Five Years, his chronologically shifting two-hander depiction of a marriage, from the blushing first date to sober divorce. It is, perhaps, by far, Brown’s most successful work to date. (Not to mention his most searingly personal, based as it is in part on his own first marriage.) Since then, it has garnered hundreds of productions worldwide, as well as a film adaptation; and its songs have claimed their page in the Great Cabaret Songbook, not to mention the songbook of every aspiring musical theater BFA.
Twenty years later, Northlight will bring back together those movers and players for a one-night-only reunion, featuring talk about the landmark production, some never-before-told stories, and new performances of the musical’s hit songs.
Brown himself will be joined by original director Daisy Prince; original cast members Norbert Leo Butz and Lauren Kennedy; and BJ Jones, Northlight’s artistic director, then and now.
“It is an honor to have presented Jason’s early work, and it was, in many ways, the template for all of our new work that followed,” says Jones. “By building on relationships and artistic merit, our Interplay New Play Development Program has given us opportunities to present so many of America’s significant playwrights to our audience, and to contribute to the national theatrical canon.”
To date, Interplay has provided support for 43 new plays, 33 of which have gone on to full productions – some at Northlight and others around the country, including the Goodman Theatre, the Humana Festival, TheatreWorks, and off-Broadway, and as far away as Ireland. That staggering success rate has established Interplay as a valuable incubator for new work in the American theatre, and has helped cement Northlight’s national reputation as an important contributor to the American theatrical canon. Interplay readings continued in an online format throughout the 2020-2021 pandemic.
The free online event will premiere on Northlight’s YouTube channel on Sunday, May 23, 2021 from 6:30-7:30 pm Central.
About Northlight Theatre
Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community.
Founded in 1974, the organization has mounted over 220 productions, including more than 40 world premieres. Northlight has earned 208 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 36 Awards, as well as ten Edgerton Foundation for New Play Awards. As one of the area’s premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality.
Northlight is supported in part by generous contributions from Allstate Insurance; the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; BMO Harris Bank; Bulley and Andrews; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; ComEd, An Exelon Company; The Davee Foundation; Evanston Arts Council; Evanston Community Foundation; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; Full Circle Foundation; John R. Halligan Fund; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Illinois Humanities; Katten Muchin Roseman LLP; Kirkland & Ellis Foundation; Margaret and Paul Lurie; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Jackie Mack and More; Colonel Stanley R. McNeil Foundation; Modestus Bauer Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Niles Township; NorthShore University HealthSystems; Northwestern University; The Offield Family Foundation; The Pauls Foundation; PNC Bank; Polsinelli; Ralla Klepak Trust for the Performing Arts; Room & Board; Sanborn Family Foundation; Dr. Scholl Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; Skokie Community Foundation; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; The Sullivan Family Foundation; and Tom Stringer Design Partners.