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Theatre West productions resume with 'The Last Five Years,' Sunset Cabaret

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Theatre West productions resume with 'The Last Five Years,' Sunset Cabaret

The love story of Jamie and Cathy unfold on the Theatre West stage during the production "The Last Five Years." Actors Josh Woodie, right, and Lauren Newell, left, rehearse a scene from the couple's proposal as the characters travel through time from different ends of their relationship.

The audience will look through the intimate window of Jamie and Cathy’s doomed marriage as Theatre West presents “The Last Five Years." The production opened Thursday evening with shows June 24-25 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 26 at 2 p.m. 

The story features the charismatic Jamie, played by Josh Woodie, and the struggling actress Cathy, played by Lauren Newell, moving through different timelines of the couple’s marriage. Cathy tells the story from the end of their marriage – moving backward in time, while Jamie begins from when they first meet – moving forward in time.

“So I would hope what the audience sees with Jamie is he’s kind of a cautionary tale,” Woodie said of his character. “He gets a lot of success, and things come very easy to him early in life. He gets quite full of himself, and starts treating the people around him as a little bit less than frankly.”

The show opens with a musical number telling the audience that the couple’s relationship does not work out in the end and questioning why as they meet the charismatic Jamie and devastated Cathy. It’s not until the end of the production that the truth comes out.

Theatre West productions resume with 'The Last Five Years,' Sunset Cabaret

Lauren Newell, who portrays Cathy in the Theatre West production “The Last Five Years,” practices one of her songs during dress rehearsal Wednesday. The show opened Thursday evening.

“You can be as successful as you want, but you had better keep your morals and ethics in check at the same time,” Woodie said.

The show has a serious tone with lessons and relatability for the audience to take along the way, but still there is an overarching sense of hope for the two characters to maintain their relationship.

“Since this chronicles a timeline between two people, it allows for everybody to relate to one of the characters at some point in time,” Woodie said. “Sometimes, they will relate a lot of the time, actually. Because since it spans quite a few years, there are a spectrum of emotions.”

Theatre West productions resume with 'The Last Five Years,' Sunset Cabaret

Josh Woodie portrays the character Jamie in the Theatre West production “The Last Five Years.” He described his character as charismatic, but said the show is a cautionary tale.

Woodie previously portrayed the character Donkey in Theatre West’s production “Shrek,” and since then he has toured the world, doing shows across the country and in Australia. Regardless of the musical production or location, he said, he learned to control what he can control and be OK with the other things that happen. One of those uncontrollable moments was the COVID-19 outbreak that caused Theatre West to cancel productions from June 15-19. That included the “After-Party Cabaret.”

“We’re pretty sad that we didn’t get to do it last weekend,” he said. “But we are excited to finally get it out there because that is kind of a big part of what we do here. The idea that we’re out there doing things like this or singing at the baseball game here just kind of shows how we are part of the community, which is important to us.”

Theatre West productions resume with 'The Last Five Years,' Sunset Cabaret

Jamie, played by Josh Woodie, sings a duet with his wife Cathy, played by Lauren Newell, during the first act of "The Last Five Years." The Theatre West production opened Thursday night and has additional shows through Sunday.

The Theatre West company players will serenade guests at a Sunset Cabaret at Papa Moon’s Vineyard and Cider House on Sunday, June 26, at 8 p.m. Papa Moon’s Cider House is located at 230975 County Road J, Scottsbluff.

As the company selected songs for the Sunday Sunset Cabaret, Patrick Newell suggested they find a song that they once identified with and maybe now they have a different relationship with the song. The theme of the show is transformations.

Woodie will be performing a duet with his wife, Leyla. They are singing “Last Night of the World” from Miss Saigon.

“Josh and I have had the advantage of singing together for quite some time,” she said. “So the duet we do together, we actually performed together three years ago when we were on a cruise ship together.”

She will also perform a solo from Wild Party called “Raise the Roof.”

“It’s a bit of a fun way to get the audience excited, I hope,” Leyla said. “They company has been such a delight. Pat and Lauren (Newell) and the team are so kind and gracious and generous.”

He will also perform “This is the Moment” from Jekyll and Hyde and “You and Me, But Mostly Me” from "The Book of Mormon." “This is the Moment” was the first song he performed for an audition at the age of 16 and he first performed the song when he was 19 years old.

As Theatre West production get back underway, Josh shared his appreciation for the community’s understanding.

“We appreciate your understanding that that’s not in our control,” he said. “Trust us, we would rather have been doing the shows if we could, but now that we’re back full strength and ready to go, we do really look forward to seeing you all the rest of the summer.”

Tickets for both shows are available by calling 308-635-6193 or online at www.twneb.com.

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News Editor

Lauren Brant is news editor at the Star-Herald. She can be reached at lauren.brant@starherald.com. You can reach the Star-Herald newsroom directly by calling 308-632-9040.

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