"The Last Five Years" with Guest Ralph Meranto
"The Last Five Years" with Guest Ralph Meranto
Sat, 10/12/2013 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm
From the Tony Award-winning composer of Parade, comes the recent off-Broadway hit musical that looks at love forward, backward and inside out. Emotionally powerful and hysterically funny, this inventive musical follows a couple during five years of their relationship. "His" story is told from beginning to end, while "Her" story is told from end to beginning, allowing the audience to see their past, present and future simultaneously.
Join Host Robert Hammond and his guest Ralph Meranto, Artistic Director of the Rochester Jewish Community Centerâ€™s CenterStage, as they discuss this avant-garde musical and other works by Jason Robert Brown. Directed by Meranto, The Last Five Years is on stage at CenterStage through October 20.
JASON ROBERT BROWN has been hailed as â€śone of Broadwayâ€™s smartest and most sophisticated songwriters since Stephen Sondheimâ€ť (Philadelphia Inquirer), and his â€śextraordinary, jubilant theater music â€ť (Chicago Tribune) has been heard all over the world, whether in one of the hundreds of productions of his musicals every year or in his own incendiary live performances. The New York Times refers to Jason as â€śa leading member of a new generation of composers who embody high hopes for the American musical.â€ť Jason is the composer and lyricist of the musical, â€śThe Last Five Years,â€ť which was cited as one of Time Magazineâ€™s 10 Best of 2001 and won Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics. Jason won a 1999 Tony Award for his score to â€śParadeâ€ś, a musical written with Alfred Uhry and directed by Harold Prince, which premiered at Lincoln Center Theatre in December 1998, and subsequently won both the Drama Desk and New York Drama Criticsâ€™ Circle Awards for Best New Musical. â€śParadeâ€ť was also presented on a national tour in 2000, which Jason conducted. Jasonâ€™s first musical, â€śSongs for a New World,â€ť a theatrical song cycle directed by Daisy Prince, played Off-Broadway at the WPA Theatre in the fall of 1995, and has since been seen in more than two hundred productions around the world. Jasonâ€™s newest musical, â€ś13,â€ť written with Dan Elish and directed by Todd Graff, premiered this January to rave reviews at Los Angelesâ€™s Mark Taper Forum, and opens on Broadway in the spring of 2008. Jason is the winner of the 2002 Kleban Award for Outstanding Lyrics and the 1996 Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Foundation Award for Musical Theatre. Jasonâ€™s songs, including the cabaret standard â€śStars and the Moon,â€ť have been performed and recorded by Audra McDonald, Betty Buckley, Karen Akers, RenĂ©e Fleming, Philip Quast, Jon Hendricks and many others.
Jasonâ€™s first solo album, â€śWearing Someone Elseâ€™s Clothes,â€ť featuring his band The Caucasian Rhythm Kings, was named one of Amazon.comâ€™s best of 2005, and is available from Sh-K-Boom Records. His collaboration with singer Lauren Kennedy, â€śSongs of Jason Robert Brown,â€ť is available on PS Classics. Jasonâ€™s piano sonata, â€śMr. Broadwayâ€ť was commissioned and premiered by Anthony De Mare at Carnegie Hall. Also in the wings: an musical adaptation of the 1992 film â€śHoneymoon in Vegas,â€ť in collaboration with screenwriter/director Andrew Bergman. Jason is also the composer of the incidental music for David Lindsay-Abaireâ€™s â€śKimberly Akimboâ€ť and â€śFuddy Meers,â€ť Marsha Normanâ€™s â€śLast Dance,â€ť David Marshall Grantâ€™s â€śCurrent Events,â€ť Kenneth Lonerganâ€™s â€śThe Waverly Gallery,â€ť and the Irish Repertory Theaterâ€™s production of â€śLong Dayâ€™s Journey Into Night,â€ť and he was a Tony Award nominee for his contributions to the score of â€śUrban Cowboy the Musical.â€ť His scores are published by Hal Leonard. Jason currently teaches musical theater performance and composition at the University of Southern California.
As a conductor and arranger, Jasonâ€™s recent New York credits include â€śUrban Cowboy the Musicalâ€ť on Broadway; Oliver Goldstickâ€™s play, â€śDinah Was,â€ť directed by David Petrarca, at the Gramercy Theatre and on national tour; and William Finnâ€™s â€śA New Brain,â€ť directed by Graciela Daniele, at Lincoln Center Theater. Jason was the musical director of the pop vocal group, The Tonics, with whom he performed at the 1992 tribute to Stephen Sondheim at Carnegie Hall (recorded by RCA Victor); he was the conductor and orchestrator of Yoko Onoâ€™s musical, â€śNew York Rock,â€ť at the WPA Theatre (on Capitol Records); and he orchestrated Andrew Lippaâ€™s â€śjohn and jen,â€ť Off-Broadway at Lambâ€™s Theatre (Varese Sarabande). In 1994, Jason was the conductor and arranger of Michael John LaChiusaâ€™s â€śThe Petrified Prince,â€ť directed by Harold Prince, at the Public Theatre. Additionally, Jason served as the orchestrator and arranger of Charles Strouse and Lee Adamsâ€™s score for a proposed musical of â€śStar Wars.â€ť Jason also took over as musical director for the Off-Broadway hit â€śWhen Pigs Fly.â€ť Jason has conducted and created arrangements and orchestrations for Liza Minnelli, John Pizzarelli, Tovah Feldshuh, and Laurie Beechman, among many others.
Jason studied composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., with Samuel Adler, Christopher Rouse, and Joseph Schwantner. He now divides his time between Los Angeles, California and Spoleto, Italy. Jason is a proud member of the Dramatistâ€™s Guild and the American Federation of Musicians Local 802 & 47.