By John Harper / Correspondent
April 2, 2021
Theatre of Dare: “The Last Five Years”
The show goes on for Theatre of Dare, even if there’s no stage or live audience.
For its spring production, the local troupe will stream a filmed version of Jason Robert Brown’s two-character, modern musical “The Last Five Years.” It will run at 7 p.m. for 10 nights at theatreofdareobx.com.
Directed by Daniel Ziegler, “Five Years” stars Evan Tillett as a rising novelist named Jamie Wellerstein and Zoe Manolas as a struggling actress named Cathy Hiatt. It’s a boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl story with a couple of twists. Jamie traces the five-year relationship from start to finish; Cathy recounts it in reverse, with the two characters intersecting only at their wedding (both actors will be wearing masks in the scene to follow COVID-19 protocol).
And there’s little dialogue; the story is told through pop and rock songs that sound both familiar and new. For starters there’s Cathy’s gorgeous lament about the end of the marriage (“Still Hurting”) and the aching, soaring ballads that end the show: “Goodbye Until Tomorrow” sung by Cathy and “I Could Never Rescue You” sung by Jamie.
The 90-minute play, which premiered off-Broadway in 2002 and was made into a movie in 2014, has often been described by theatergoers and reviewers as “a musical for people who don’t like musicals.” Ziegler, 31, of Manteo agrees but adds much of the play’s appeal is relatability. “Anyone who’s been in a relationship will see themselves in both of the characters.” he says. “It’s uncomfortable and awkward, but real.”
Ziegler, the director, assisted by Lora Parks, filmed the play over five days in various locations on the Outer Banks, spending about 100 hours in production. He used a single camera to give it intimacy. “It’s a drama but we made it fun,” he says. And though the musical was recorded, Ziegler says it will have a “play-like feel.”
When: 7 p.m. April 2-11
Wednesday, April 7, 14, 21, 28; and Thursday, April 8, 15, 22, 29
With his wide repertoire, musical skills and technical wizardry, Phil Watson is comfortable in almost any setting on the Outer Banks. The local musician has two regular, no-cover gigs this month: Wednesday at Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant in Kill Devil Hills and Thursday at Shipwrecks Taphouse & Grill in Kitty Hawk.
Armed with three guitars – two acoustic and one electric — a ukulele, a beat-box and a looping device, which enables him to layer vocals and instruments as he performs, Watson defines “one-man-band.”
Since arriving on the Outer Banks in 1999, he’s played thousands of shows, both solo and with singer-percussionist Matt Cahoun, who now lives in Chicago. Watson, 45, seems to have every pop, rock, country, Americana, funk, electronic and disco tune worth knowing at his fingertips.
“If I hear a song and I like it,” he says. “I come up with a version of it.”
Examples include Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” with reggae beats, a bluesy take of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” and Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” played on a ukulele. His 600-song play list also includes Johnny Cash, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Neil Young, Blackstreet (“No Diggity”), Simply Red (“Holding Back the Years”), The Revivalists (“Wish I Knew You”), a-ha (“Take on Me”) and Britney Spears (“Baby, One More Time”).
“I play the popular songs,” Watson says. “But I try to be a little different.”
“What I really like is seeing people singing along.”
Probably his most offbeat remake is Claude Ely’s 1934 gospel classic “There Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold my Body Down.”
Watson also has 30 Americana originals at this disposal, including the recent rockabilly, COVID-19 related number “The Craziest Thing.”
“It’s on the lighter side,” he says. “People want to unwind.”
When and where: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant, 705 S. Croatan Hwy., Kill Devil Hills; and Thursday at Shipwrecks Taphouse & Grill, 4020 N. Croatan Hwy., Kitty Hawk
Cost: No cover
Info: Phil Watson page on Facebook
John Harper has been covering the local entertainment scene for The Coast and Virginian-Pilot since 1994. He’s also written hundreds of stories on
subjects ranging from history to sports and food. Harper is longtime radio broadcaster and program director on the Outer Banks and can be heard on the internet station radiofreeobx.com. He’s the host of the popular Saturday morning feature “Flashback at 11” and is also an award-winning wedding DJ.