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The Last Five Years

On 11 and 12th September 2015 I’ll be starring as Cathy in The Last Five Years. This is a real dream come true for me and I’d like to share with you what drew me to the show and give you a peek behind the scenes of the production process so far.

I was looking for a duet to sing in a concert and a friend told me to check out “The Next Ten Minutes” from The Last Five Years. I was mesmerised.

Like many of us, I’ve fallen in love and I’ve had my heart broken and the musical seemed to capture those experiences truthfully. I felt I understood the story and the character of Cathy, and that I could bring something to the role. Cathy’s songs suited the range and tone of my voice. I started singing songs from the show in concert performances with Belfast Operatic Company. This is a live recording of me performing the opening number from the show, “Still Hurting”.

I’ve been involved in musical theatre in Belfast for years, but the companies I had been a member of were never going to stage a show with a cast of only two. However, I used to work in professional theatre management and so I know a bit about producing a show. Maybe it was time to dust those skills off… I’d been talking to anyone who would listen about how much I wanted to play Cathy for years. I realised it was up to me to make it happen.

The first step was getting a Director on board. Gary Redpath is a friend who has experience in production, technical, marketing and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of modern musicals. He had soon mapped out the blocking for a challenging “in the round” staging. Gary was also happy to bring his contacts and expertise in everything from designing the posters to recruiting the production team so I’m very fortunate to have him on board as co-producer and director.

Gary and Me

Gary Redpath (Director) with Sinead Coll (Cathy)

We considered a number of venues. An upfront hire fee was not going to be financially viable so a box office split arrangement was ideal. Both Gary and I had worked in Belvoir Players Studio theatre before and so we booked it. The intimate 200 capacity venue will suit The Last Five Years and it’s great to be working with a supportive venue that is used to dealing with independent productions like ours.

Applying for the performing rights was nerve-wracking but actually not as difficult as I’d anticipated. I filled in the online application and put forward a substantial deposit (putting my money where my mouth is) and after a short wait received a confirmation email. After that is was all systems go!

Ryan Quinn, who hails from Strabane, was recruited by Gary to act as Musical Director. He’s worked as MD on Grease at the Waterfront and EVITA, Fame and Footloose for Queens Music Society Theatre Group. Most importantly, when we met up for a sing through Ryan was an excellent pianist and a really good laugh.

In May, Gary organised auditions for an actor to play Jamie. This was nerve-wracking. Jamie has to carry half the show. He needs to be charismatic and vulnerable and be able to sing across a huge range both vocally and emotionally, plus have a believable chemistry with me! We were all delighted when Adam Williamson accepted the role. He was exciting to watch during the audition, and I had seen him play Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar – a hugely challenging role for which he was nominated as Best Actor by AIMS. As soon as production finishes he’s off to Edinburgh to study Musical Theatre at the Royal Conservatoire. I know he’s going to be fabulous.

Adam Williamson - Jamie

Adam Williamson (Jamie)

Other than that, we’ve just been organising things like a props list, getting a wardrobe mistress and props mistress on board, exploring options for a technician / operator, distributing scores to the band, getting tickets on sale, maintaining a web presence with the Facebook page, and pestering everyone we know to buy tickets!

I hope I’ve enthused you about this project. It’s a dream come true for me and I guarantee you an exciting show. To buy your tickets CLICK HERE. We’re performing for two nights only so tickets are limited. The income from ticket sales will pay for the performing rights, venue hire and production costs with any profit being split among the performers, production team and band.

Don’t miss next month’s blog for a peek behind the scenes of the rehearsal process: To sign up for my newsletter CLICK HERE.

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Lynne G
July 26th, 2015 at 5:02 pm

Really looking forward to seeing it!

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