R2P2 Second Stage Premieres with “The Last Five Years”
As if Running To Places didn’t have enough going on, they have launched a second stage dubbed R2P2 to serve as an experimental lab for some of the older students. R2P2 will give these young theatre enthusiasts a chance to take a bigger role in all phases of the production. So from June 7th through today, they are presenting their first production, launching with “The Last Five Years”, a wonderful off-Broadway story by Jason Robert Brown of Jamie and Cathy in their five year relationship.
Told as a one-act, two person musical it follows a unique path with Cathy’s version starting at the end of their relationship and working backward, while Jamie’s version starts at the beginning and moves forward. It is a beautiful, sensitive, and intimate portrayal performed like professionals by Kevin Hilgartner as Jamie and Alex LoPinto as Cathy.
To add to the intimacy, the production was staged at Risley Hall Theatre on the Cornell University campus. A small theatre with only 90 seats, it brings the play closer and more personal and makes the touching story and dynamic performances of these two young actors real and very moving.
Alex LoPinto conveys the emotions of sadness and disappointment at a relationship that has reached its end, the unsure but hopeful years of connection with Jamie, and finally the early years of struggling to become a success on her own while reaching out to a new relationship. She is a beautiful young woman with a strong clear voice and the ability to hold you captivated with her emotion and believable portrayal.
Kevin Hilgartner does a fabulous job with the character of Jamie, the young author who wants success and will not let go of the rising path of his career. He falls for Cathy and struggles with the balance of his goals and his love and support of her. In the end, he turns to another, frustrated yet determined to continue on his life path, now without Cathy.
The show was directed by Kevin’s brother, Nathan Hilgartner, who has starred in other R2P productions such as “the Music Man, and “The Man Who Came To Dinner”. You did a fabulous job, Nathan, in bringing real life, hope and poignancy to the performances of Jamie and Cathy.
Music direction was from Jeremy Pletter, another current R2P member who has appeared regularly in their productions and provided such an incredible performance as the carnivorous plant in “Little Shop of Horrors” last season.
Elaine Young served as stage manager with set design by Technical Director, Mike Garrett and costumes by Aaron Porter and Shauna Belokur.
It is a touching and emotional story and presented with maturity and professionalism by this new team and promises to bring to our community even more of the amazing talent of Ithaca’s young theatre performers. Bravo, R2P2 on a resounding inaugural production, Bravo!
All images are Copyright © George Cannon. Images from all Running To Places productions are available at http://imageguy.zenfolio.com with 20% going back to support Running To Places.