Wednesday, September 03, 2003
‘The Last Five Years’ on Saturday
By Myke Sarthou

Here in Cebu, professional theatre productions are hard to come by, so it is with great pleasure that we anticipate the coming of Jason Robert Brown’s musical The Last Five Years.

It is a clever and touching examination of a relationship between two creative spirits—one an actress, the other a writer—how they fight, how they love.  It will be staged on Saturday, Sept. 6 at the Ayala Theater One at 8 p.m., one week after it premieres in Manila.  This musical marks Audie Gemora’s return to acting after having triumphed as Joseph, The Dreamer some years back.  A lot of us remember Audie’s wonderful performance that touched lives and even inspired many to pursue careers in theatre and in the entertainment business.  Of equal magnitude is Audie’s co-star, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, the beautiful face behind many commercials and a major theatre star having appeared as Ellen in Miss Saigon at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), among many other musicals at Repertory Philippines.  Providing the live musical accompaniment is Cebu’s very own Peace Philharmonic Philippines.  Cebuanos should not miss this rare event because who knows when a major musical will be staged here again.  Over coffee with producer Hendri Go, he shared with me some insights regarding this production.

MGS:  So, why this musical?

Hendri Go (HG): Because it’s one of those shows that is not just entertaining but can also make you think about love and relationships in a very modern and increasingly complicated world.  I think it will speak to a lot of us, about how career and other things sometimes get in the way, and how really we just have to love in spite of everything.  Until you lose the faith, that is.  It’s a very touching and insightful show.  And quite funny, too.

MGS: Your tickets are quite pricey, do you think Cebuanos would be willing to pay?

HG:Our prices are cheaper than the tickets for the same show in Manila.  And if you compare it to concerts, then we’re quite affordable.  Plus it’s theatre, and theatre’s a different experience, more direct, more personal, and it’s the closest thing to watching a Broadway show.

MGS: Let’s be a bit more personal, how has your love life been in the last five years?

HG:(laughs) It’s been okay.  I can’t complain.  With every relationship you learn and you carry these things with you to the next.  I think I’m ready now to go into something more serious but I just don’t have the time.

MGS: Moving on, any upcoming projects after this?

HG:With the Arts Council we’re organizing a Director’s Initiative sometime late this year.  It’s a series of directing workshops to encourage more theatre productions in Cebu.  Then I’m off to Baguio in November to line produce the ABS-CBN shows during the Ad Congress. After that we’re looking at producing the Tony Award-winning play Copenhagen in December.

(The Last Five Years will be in Cebu on a rare and limited engagement. Tickets are sold at P300, P600 and P800 and are available at the Ayala Customer Service or, one may also call the Arts Council at 233-0236.)

The Last Five Years