Wine Country Theatre presents The Last Five Years at Villa San-Juliette
Villa San-Juliette is opening its barrel room for Wine Country Theatre’s April 8-26 production of the musical The Last Five Years. Secluded in eastern outskirts of San Miguel, the winery’s Mediterranean villa and surrounding vistas look like a film location in the Tuscan countryside. The theatricality may be no accident because Villa San-Juliette is the creation of Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick, TV producers of American’s Got Talent and American Idol.
At the intersection between the Villa San-Juliette and Wine Country Theatre is Melanie Portney who plays the female lead in The Last Five Years. Portney works at the winery and acts for the Paso Robles based theater group. After performing in Wine Country Theatre’s November 2015 production of Last of the Red Hot Lovers, the petite red head pitched the idea of showing The Last Five Years at Villa San-Juliette to Cynthia Anthony, Wine County Theatre’s Director.
“We were all sitting around after the show and talking about our favorite musicals,” said Portney, who graduated from the UCLA theater department. “The first show that I thought of was The Last Five Years. The next thing I thought was, why not? It has huge appeal within our local theater community and Wine Country had already done a successful show at a winery, so I put the question to Cynthia.”
“Although Park Ballroom in Paso is our home,” said Anthony, who founded Wine Country Theatre in 2014, “we are always looking for interesting venues to keep our productions engaging and fresh—and for locations that further the telling of a play’s story. We thought that Villa San-Juliette’s intimate cellar and romantic surroundings would do nothing but enhance our audience’s experience.”
The Last Five Years is Tony-Award winner Jason Robert Brown’s poignant and smart contemporary musical about five years in the relationship of an ambitious young writer, Jamie, and his struggling actress wife, Cathy. Since its Off-Broadway premiere in 2002, Brown’s devastatingly honest two-person production has enraptured audiences around the world with its spellbinding score and libretto.
The funny and uplifting story is told in a unique non-linear form. Cathy tells the story from the end of their marriage; Jamie begins from when they first meet. As the musical unfolds, Cathy moves backward in time to the beginning of the relationship as Jamie moves toward the end; they meet only once, in the middle, at their wedding. From the beginning to end, and in between, the show captures universally felt moments of modern romance.
The play shows April 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, and 24 at 7:30 PM and April 10, 17 and 24 at 2 p.m.. Villa San-Juliette wines will be showcased and are available for purchase along with gourmet snacks. The kitchen opens at 6 p.m. for evening performances and 11 a.m. for matinees. General admission is $25, and student is $15 with ID. For tickets and information, go to www.winecountrytheatre.com or call (800) 838-3006.