[[caption-width-right:251:The full, two-membered cast in the only moment they sing together.]]

-> ''Give me a day, Jamie.\\
Bring back the lies,\\
Hang them back on the wall -\\
Maybe I'd see\\
How you could be\\
So certain that we\\
Had no chance at all ...''
-->-- '''Cathy Hiatt''', "Still Hurting."

->''No matter how I tried,''
->''All I could do was love you''
->''[[TearJerker And let you go]]...''.
-->-- '''Jamie Wellerstein''', "Goodbye Until Tomorrow/I Could Never Rescue You."

A one-act, two-person [[TheMusical musical]] by Jason Robert Brown (the Tony-winning composer behind ''Theatre/{{Parade}}'' and, more lately, ''Theatre/{{Thirteen}}''), ''The Last Five Years'' tells the story of an ordinary couple as they fall in - and out of - love, inspired by Brown's own failed first marriage.

Jamie Wellerstein is a Jewish novelist from NYC who gets his big break at the age of 23. Just prior to this, he meets Cathy Hiatt, a struggling Irish-Catholic actress, and romance blooms immediately. They get married, but things keep getting in the way: Jamie has frequent press gigs to attend, where he is assailed by [[AllMenArePerverts endless temptation]], and Cathy is unable to get her career off the ground, her greatest success being summer theatre in Ohio (and the LongDistanceRelationship that requires). Cathy accuses him of [[ItsAllAboutMe egotism]], Jamie accuses her of being too insecure to handle his success. Ultimately, they can't make it work.

What elevates the show to a different level is its structure. The score consists of alternating solos; Cathy or Jamie occupy the stage separately, sometimes singing to each other and sometimes to friends and family. This gives both characters a chance to tell their side of the story, without anyone interrupting to rebut, defend or correct. Furthermore, there is AnachronicOrder involved: the introspective Cathy tells the story BackToFront, starting [[ForegoneConclusion after Jamie has left her]] and moving towards their first date; the reckless Jamie starts at the beginning and moves forwards towards the divorce. The only moment the timelines cross, the exact {{Climax}} of the show, is their wedding day. The show's structure accents its characters, whose careers are moving in very different directions and who, despite their love, are fundamentally at odds with each other.

The score's wit and emotional maturity has been favourably compared to StephenSondheim, whilst Brown's music draws on a wide range of styles that include rock 'n' roll, latin, contemporary pop and Jerome Kern, yet still with a degree of theatrical complexity.

Now a movie starring Creator/AnnaKendrick and Jeremy Jordan! [[http://youtu.be/9FKjLJZdycI Trailer]]!

!!This work provides examples of:

* AbsenceMakesTheHeartGoYonder: Jamie starts his affair whilst Cathy is off touring in Ohio.
* AllMenArePerverts: Explored, rather honestly, by Jamie in "A Miracle Would Happen".
* AllMusicalsAreAdaptations: Averted; the plot is an original one, although inspired by Jason Robert Brown's failed marriage to his first wife.
* AlterKocker: Schmuel. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that his story is clearly set in TheOldCountry (there's no actual town of Klimovich, but it's a Russian surname, while the cities Minsk of Belarus and Odessa of Ukraine are also mentioned).
* AnachronicOrder: As stated above, Cathy's scenes start in the present and each one moves further back in time.
* AudienceMonologue: Although extremely common in musical theatre, here it's consciously avoided; all the songs are addressed to a specific character, though that character is played by anyone.
* BookEnds: In Cathy's second song, "See I'm Smiling," and second-to-last song, "I Can Do Better Than That," she talks about Jamie: "You, and you, and nothing but you / Miles and piles of you." One is a fresh-new-love celebration of her boyfriend, the other a bitter screed about his egotism.
** Jamie's first song, "Shiksa Goddess," and last song, "Nobody Needs To Know," both feature the line, "I could be in love with someone like you."
* {{Bowdlerize}}: to satisfy the MPAA, the film version does away with a fair bit of swearing, resulting in a PrecisionFStrike where there used to be more.
* BreakupSong: Really the entire thing is a Breakup Musical, but the focal post-breakup numbers are the opening and closing songs: Cathy's "Still Hurting" and Jamie's "I Could Never Rescue You" (which, for maximum TearJerker status, is ''combined'' with Cathy's chronologically earliest, [[SillyLoveSongs falling-in-love]] tune, "Goodbye Until Tomorrow").
* BSODSong: Jamie's "Nobody Needs To Know" is noticeably bleaker than anything that's come before, and seems to mark the point at which Jamie gives up on his marriage.
* TheCastShowoff: {{Invoked}} by "Climbing Uphill". The line "...Who have been sitting like I have, and listening all day, to two hundred girls, ''belting as HIGH as they can''!" is usually used to show off the actress playing Cathy's vocal range. Also, from the same song, "Jesus Christ, I suck, I suck, I suck!" is often played ironically, having the actress sing the last "I suck" quite beautifully.
* ClingyJealousGirl: Cathy exhibits signs of this, as she is possessive of Jamie and suspicious of his female fans and publisher long before he actually has an affair. In fact, in "Nobody Needs To Know", Jamie even cites her behaviour as what drives him to have an affair in the first place:
--> ''All that I ask for is one little corner,\\
One private room at the back of my heart.\\
Tell her I found one, she sends out battalions\\
To claim it and blow it apart.''
* CounterpointDuet: The end of "Goodbye Until Tomorrow / I Could Never Rescue You".
* CutSong: At least two that we know of:
** Cathy's second song was originally "What's Wrong With Him?", a comedy song with Cathy on the couch, singing to her psychologist. Apparently the joke [[OverlyLongGag outstayed its welcome]] and it was replaced with "See I'm Smiling".
** In the original Chicago production, Jamie's first song was "I Could Be In Love With Someone Like You", a more nervy first-date number. That song in particular was the subject of an injunction by Brown's ex-wife, with whom Brown had an agreement that he wouldn't write about their marriage; several details in the show were changed to mollify her, and this song was worked into "Shiksa Goddess".
* DarkReprise: Several, including:
** Jamie's "I could be in love with someone like you" theme, originally addressed to Cathy, is later (and miserably) addressed to his mistress, Elise.
** Cathy's "You, and you, and nothing but you" theme. (Technically a ''pre-prise'', since Cathy is moving backwards in time and the reprise comes first...)
** The first lines of the show are about how "Jamie is over and Jamie is gone... and I'm still hurting." Three songs later and five years ago, in "Moving Too Fast," Jamie sings about how "Some people analyze every detail... But I keep rolling on," using the same melody, if in a different key and tempo.
** Most damningly, the haunting, romantic waltz theme that plays throughout the show - and is even used as Jamie and Cathy's wedding dance - turns out to be "I Could Never Rescue You", Jamie's final farewell to his marriage.
* DeadpanSnarker: Both of the leads, but especially Jamie.
* DistantDuet: Sort of. In the finale, "Goodbye Until Tomorrow / I Could Never Rescue You", Jamie and Cathy are separated by time; however, they don't exactly sing the same song so much as two songs that overlap each other.
* DownerEnding: Apart from the obvious--the breakdown of their marriage--in the end, Cathy is still trapped in the summer stock hell that is Ohio, and it's possible that Jamie's meteoric streak is waning.
* DrowningOurRomanticSorrows: "A Miracle Would Happen" takes place in a bar, where Jamie is complaining to his best friend, Rob, about the struggles of married life.
* FadingIntoTheNextSong: Often used to maintain dramatic momentum.
* FinalLoveDuet: Sort of (see DistantDuet, above). For Cathy it's a love song; for Jamie, it's an out-of-love song.
* ForegoneConclusion: The show starts with Cathy's line "Jamie is over and Jamie is gone".
* GreenEyedMonster: Cathy is not okay with the large number of flirtatious girls Jamie finds himself surrounded with at various press events.
** Even more than that, Cathy is jealous of Jamie himself to a certain extent. Cathy believes herself just as talented as he is, just as deserving of runaway success, and it frustrates her that, so far, absolutely no one else in the world agrees. [[ThisIsUnforgivable Not even Jamie]].
* HeyItsThatGuy: Jamie is [[Literature/{{Wicked}} a Winkie prince]], also once [[{{RENT}} a has-been rockstar]] and that guy from Dan in Real Life. Cathy is [[Disney/TheLittleMermaid an evil octopus]], a [[{{Aida}} heart-broken pharaoh/statue]] and was once [[{{RENT}} a bisexual performance artist]]. Oh, and both were in the Next to Normal workshop "Feeling Electric" as Dan and Diana. They were playing a married couple. Again. With none other than [[{{RENT}} Anthony Rapp]] as their psychiatrist. Also, both were in ''DirtyRottenScoundrels'', though they get more shared stage time there.
* IAmSong: For Cathy, it's "Climbing Uphill"; for Jamie, it's "Moving Too Fast". Both songs are about their careers, but are also indicative of their general approach to life (and hence the direction we see them moving through time).
* IncrediblyLongNote: enforced in "Climbing Uphill" when the pianist fumbles one of the cadences.
--> '''Cathy:''' I hate these stupid shoes! Why did I pick this song? Why did I pick this career? Whyyyyyyyy?...\\
'''Pianist:''' *finally finds the next chord*\\
'''Cathy:''' ...yyyyy does this pianist ''hate me''??
* InLoveWithLove: implied by "Nobody Needs To Know": "Since I need to be in love with someone..."
* IWantSong:
** In "Shiksa Goddess", Jamie proclaims that what he wants more than anything is a girlfriend who ''isn't'' Jewish.
** In "I Can Do Better Than That", Cathy wants to escape the suburban fate of her school friends, but still wants to find true love, too.
* IWillWaitForYou: Cathy has a knowingly reflexive audition song to this effect, "When You Come Home To Me".
* KickTheDog:
** In the movie, Jamie's line, "I will not fail so you can be comfortable, I will not lose because you cannot win" comes off as this, judging by how obviously hurt Cathy is by that line in particular.
** Also, him telling her she's "being crazy" in "See I'm Smiling", to which she screams, "No, I'm not, NO, I'M ''NOT''!" Especially upon a second viewing, when you realize that [[spoiler:she's absolutely correct about her suspicions that Jamie's cheating on her]], so, no, she's really ''not'' being crazy. In that context, Jamie telling her she's being totally irrational just comes off as needlessly mean.
* {{Leitmotif}}:
** The opening riff of "Still Hurting" -- the I-VII♭-v-I sequence -- plays whenever Cathy is hurt by something Jamie does ("A Part of That" and "If I Didn't Believe In You", particularly at the line quoted under "KickTheDog").
** The melody of "Still Hurting" is echoed in "Moving Too Fast", as mentioned above.
** The show starts with a quaint waltz. It is played again just after the wedding. Its third use is as the melody of "I Could Never Rescue You."
* LongDistanceRelationship: With Cathy touring in summer stock and Jamie out schmoozing the publishing set, this becomes a major factor in the couple's break-up.
* LoveHurts: TheMusical.
* LoveMartyr: Cathy.
* LoveTriangle: Jamie, Cathy and Jamie's mistress, Elise.
* MinimalistCast: in typical stage performances, the actors playing Jamie and Cathy are the entirety of the cast.
* MoodWhiplash: inherent in the story's structure, since one character is always closer to the DownerEnding than the other.
* MotorMouth: the interior monologue version of "When You Come Home To Me" has about four times more lyrics than the normal one.
* MusicalisInterruptus: When Cathy launches into one more reprise of "When You Come Home to Me" for another audition, Jamie can't take it anymore and has to cut her off before she finishes the first line. Decidedly not PlayedForLaughs.
* NeverMyFault: Both Jamie and Cathy blame the other for their marriage problems. Cathy blames Jamie's selfishness and his being a little ''too'' willing to lap up the attention young women give him. Jamie blames Cathy's jealousy and bitterness that she's not as successful. Neither are exactly wrong, and which was the cause and which was the effect is anybody's guess.
* PepTalkSong: "The Schmuel Song", big time. It doesn't appear to be that way at first, but the story's moral is that when opportunity comes knocking, ''go for it'', even if it seems too good to be true -- you'll never know unless you try. The final verse is a direct address from Jamie to Cathy, encouraging her that she can make it as an actress.
* PimpedOutDress: The dress of Schmuel's dreams is ''definitely'' this, though we can only imagine it. His hope was to sew "a dress to fire the mad desire of girls from here to Minsk", and he obviously succeeds, considering that the girl whom he brings it to marries him the very next day. (And since she wears it on the altar, that also makes this a FairytaleWeddingDress.)
* ProperlyParanoid: [[spoiler:Cathy worries Jamie is cheating on her. She's right.]]
* SanitySlippageSong: A funny one for Cathy, with her crazy inner-monologue version of "When You Come Home To Me"; also darker ones for Cathy ("See I'm Smiling") and Jamie ("Nobody Needs To Know") as they each face the breakdown of their marriage.
* SettingUpdate: The 2014 film changes a few lyrics to make it clear that the show is set in the 2010s instead -- for example, Cathy sings "well-placed tattoos" instead of "looked like Creator/TomCruise" to describe an attractive guy and "these are the people who cast Creator/RussellCrowe [[Film/LesMiserables2012 in a musical]]" as opposed to "Linda Blair" to describe her frustrations with the theater industry.
* ShiksaGoddess: A whole song by this title!
* ShoutOut: Cathy's line "just keep rolling along" and Jamie's line "I keep rolling on" may be a shout-out to another anachronic musical, StephenSondheim's notorious ''Theatre/MerrilyWeRollAlong''.
* TheSomethingSong: "The Schmuel Song". (Strange when you consider that it could just as easily have been called "The Story of Schmuel", in accordance with the actual tale's name.)
* SomewhereSong: Given a passing nod in Jamie's "A Miracle Would Happen", in which he imagines a world with no other distractions (particularly female ones) where he could concentrate on his marriage with Cathy.
* StayInTheKitchen: defied by Cathy, who declares, "I will not be the girl stuck at home in the 'burbs / With the baby, the dog, and the garden of herbs." In the CareerVsMan debate, she picks her career. Unfortunately, so does Jamie, which makes their problems obvious.
* StepfordSmiler: in "A Part of That," very strongly in "See I'm Smiling," and even as early as "A Summer in Ohio" we see Cathy gritting her teeth and making the best of a situation she is not happy about. By the time of "See I'm Smiling", she can't keep it up.
* StylisticSuck: Cathy gets hit with this in the opening moments of "Climbing Uphill." In the Original Cast Recording and movie soundtrack, the accompanist takes off at a very sprightly pace and a half-step higher than written. In the 2013 Off-Broadway Revival, she's afflicted with someone who can't piano, taking several measures before they consent to be in a key at all.
* TimeTravel: Schmuel's talking clock winds time backward as he sews the dress, subjecting the old tailor to forty-one years' worth of MerlinSickness in a single night.
* TruckDriversGearChange:
** Subverted in "Nobody Needs To Know," which is in A-flat for its entirety up until the last six measures, when it modulates ''down'' a half-step into G major.
** Played straight in "Goodbye Until Tomorrow."
** Played With in "Moving Too Fast," Jamie's triumphant litany of newfound success. It ratchets up the half-step an astounding ''seven times times'', putting us a fifth above where we started... at which point Jason Robert Brown resolves the dominant. And V resolves to... I, the exact same key we started in. ([[FridgeBrilliance A ton of rushing around to get nowhere at all, huh?...]])
* UnwantedHarem: In "A Miracle Would Happen" Jamie laments that, no sooner is he married, his literary success suddenly makes him a huge hit with lots of co-ed undergrads.
** As time passes, it becomes clear that its not the harem thats unwanted, but his wifes disapproval.
* WeddingDay: The moving "The Next Ten Minutes".
* WhenSheSmiles: GenderFlipped in "A Part of That."
* WriteWhoYouKnow: to the point that Brown's ex-wife sued him. TropesAreNotGood, Jason!
* YourCheatingHeart: In "Nobody Needs to Know."