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'The Last 5 Years' a musical mystery

Director Scott Rousseau recommends audiences bring along tissues to New London Theatre's current production.

Especially those apt to cry at weddings.

A contemporary, song-cycle musical written in 1992, "The Last 5 Years" follows the fictional five-year relationship between actress Kathy Hiatt and writer Jamie Wellerstein.

"The show tends to draw out on your emotions, both joy and sadness," Rousseau said. "We've seen quite a few tears. I think this happens because each song/story is very relatable to something in one's own life. Even though the show depicts a relationship going wrong, there's an incredible amount of romance in the story."

Kathy's story begins with the end of the relationship and moves back in time to the couple's first date. Jamie starts at the beginning. The two timelines combine to give audiences glimpses of the highs and lows over the course of the relationship.

"It's a musical mystery, only there is no murder, no weapon and no lead pipe in the library with Ms. Peacock," Rousseau said. "It's performed in a 'he said, she said' style and gives the viewer the opportunity to decide for themselves the 'how' and 'why' this relationship failed."

The roles of both Jamie and Kathy are played by two different actors -- John Evans and Jeremy Dotson as the husband and Toni Bramlett and Amanda Hunter as the wife -- allowing for four different combinations that Rousseau said makes each performance unique.

"At the onset we think, 'Why do we want to see a failed marriage again? Don't we have enough of those already?'" Rousseau said. "That's just it. It gives us the chance to see ourselves and examine our own lives. We can then apply what we've learned and perhaps understand each other better."