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Two for the show
Summer musicals open at Muse and The Landings
"The Last Five Years" stars Brittny Hargrove and Ryan McCurdy (Photo: Blue Door)

This week’s specials in the theater department are both musicals – a bit of light summer wear, if you like.

Kimmi Sampieri is directing The Last Five Years, Jason Robert Brown’s successful off–Broadway one–act, at Muse Arts Warehouse.

There are just two characters in the show, which has little dialogue – they sing about one another, alternately and each from a different perspective, about the rise and fall of their romantic relationship.

Both Jamie (Ryan McCurdy) and Kathryn (Brittny Hargrove) tell the tale in reverse chronological order. As the songs continue, they meet in the middle — when things were blissful.

According to the director, it’s easy to follow this Rod Serling–esque timeline.

“I’ve seen it where somebody shows you a date, flashed on a screen,” Sampieri says. “I don’t think it’s important to know the date, or necessarily the time of year even. Because when it’s important, it’s obvious. It’ll be told through the emotions of where each character is, and once you get the gist of it, probably the third song in, if you’re not familiar with the song you will realize at that point that it’s in two different points of view.

“Kathryn is constantly telling the story in one direction, where Jaime is telling it in the other. It’s easy to keep track of which direction it’s going.”

The Last Five Years runs for two weekends at Muse.

Sampieri says rehearsing with such a small cast has its benefits.

“It’s a lot easier to schedule people, for one thing,” she explains. “Because there’s not a lot of interaction, that kind of thing. So it’s real easy to do one–on–one rehearsals.

“They’ve been able to, at their own pace and at their own scheduling, learn the music and work with our music director. It’s been lovely that they’ve been able to do that.”

Give my regards to Irving

The summer offering from Tom Coleman’s Savannah Community Theatre, in the Landings’ Plantation Club, is a musical revue called Berlin to Broadway.

The Broadway section – famous show tunes – is actually the first half. Coleman and company thought it would be more appropriate to frame the second act with the Irving Berlin tribute, considering there are a number of patriotic songs in there.

And you don’t really want to follow those with “I Got Rhythm” and “Send in the Clowns.”

A revue, says star vocalist Florence King, “is actually something that is done more frequently in summer, and around the holidays, because you don’t have to rehearse it long, you can assign different numbers to different people and put it together in a shorter time frame. And for the singers, it’s great, because you get to do some numbers that you might not ordinarily do if you were doing a big show.”

The other performers are Georgetta Blair Simmons, Renee DeRossett, Bob Fennell, Dale Hughes, Ramona Jeffries and Kim Trammell.

King, an Alabama native who’s lived up Athens way for 25 years, recently retired as assistant director of the University of Georgia Library.

Coleman spent a good bit of time doing theater in Athens in the 1980s and ‘90s, and that’s where he met King.

Last January, she co–starred in his Savannah production of I Do, I Do.

“The person who was originally going to do it wasn’t able to, so he called me to see if I could,” says King. “I had already done that show with him twice, and although it had been a few years, we were used to working with each other. He thought I could do it, and I did. I pulled it off.”

Berlin to Broadway

Where: The Landings Plantation Club, 71 Green Island Road

When: At 7:30 p.m. July 15 and 16

Tickets: $20, $17.50, $15

Phone: (912) 247–4644

The Last Five Years

Where: Muse Arts Warehouse, 703D Louisville Road

When: At 8 p.m. July 16–18, 22–24

Tickets: $15 general admission

Phone: (912) 341–9210