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Broadway talent returns to WMPAC in February

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WARREN MILLER PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

Hot off her run starring as Carole King in Broadway’s “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” Abby Mueller will return to Big Sky to play the lead in “The Last Five Years,” an award-winning off-Broadway musical coming to the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center for a three-show run in February.

Mueller’s relationship with Big Sky began last year, when she joined an all-star cast of singers during the “Concert for America” at WMPAC.

The idea to bring “The Last Five Years,” specifically starring Mueller, was hatched last year during that performance. “Abby has this unbelievable voice, she loves Big Sky, and the intimacy of the WMPAC stage means it’s perfectly suited for a musical as personal as this one,” said John Zirkle, the arts center’s executive director.

The musical narrates the rise and fall of a relationship between two New Yorkers, Jamie, a novelist, and Catherine, an actress, and does so with a highly unique narrative structure. In the opening scene of the musical, Catherine is grieving the last day of their marriage and goes on to tell—or rather, sing—the story of their relationship in reverse.

Jamie tells his story chronologically, from when he first meets and falls in love with Catherine. By the end of the musical, Catherine is celebrating the blush of new love as Jamie despairs their impending divorce. The couple meets on stage only once, at their wedding in the middle of the show.

Starring alongside Mueller in “The Last Five Years” will be Ben Jacoby, who co-starred with Mueller in “Beautiful” on Broadway this winter as Carole King’s husband Barry Mann.

“The story itself is powerful, and the music will knock your socks off, but it’s really the talent coming in to join our community that will make this show exceptional,” Zirkle said. “I fully expect this to be the best show of our season.”

It’s unusual for professional actors to have opportunities to perform outside of the major theater hubs like New York and Chicago, so a place like WMPAC gives actors a chance to expand their professional repertoire.

“We’re establishing Big Sky as a Broadway outpost in the West,” Zirkle said. “Big Sky is a destination community for people from all over, and we want artists to be a part of our community makeup as well.”

“The Last Five Years” will be performed at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center on Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets and more information are available at warrenmillerpac.org.

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