The Sunday Giveaway: Two Tickets to The Last Five Years in Concert!

New York City just can’t get enough of The Last Five Years.

It seems like just a few months ago that Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years was Off Broadway.  Oh wait.  It was.

Well, by popular demand, the new fantastic stars of that Second Stage production are back at it once again, for a concert version at 54 Below to celebrate the release of their new recording!

And would you believe it?  I’ve got two tickets that I’m giving away.

Shocked, aren’t you . . . considering the title of this post is The Sunday Giveaway.

Well, I’m not done yet!  The winner is also gonna get $25 worth of food and drink!  And at NYC nightclub prices, that means like a half a bottle of water and some bread sticks!  (butter not included).  JK, JK, 54 Below.  JK.

Here’s how you win . . . and I know we’ve got a lot of The Last Five Years fans out there . . . so listen up.

What’s amazing about The Last Five Years, is that for the amount of amazing success the show has had all over the world, its original run in NYC and its recent revival weren’t that long.  Its success to run time ratio is like 1000:1.  

Give me the name of a show that you think is similar . . . a Broadway or Off Broadway show whose NYC life may have been short lived, but whose worldwide life has been epic.  Bonus points for your theory on why.

And one of you will win the tickets . . . and the food/beverage.  Yum X 2.

Good luck!

P.S.  If you want tix before they sell out and don’t want to play the “will I win this giveaway” odds, here’s a discount just for my readers.  Click here and save 15% with code KEN15.


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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  • Michael R says:

    Children of Eden. It didn’t make it to Broadway but it has quite the following. Great music, obviously a well known story and it can be done by done by lots of different types of theaters. From grade school to professional!

  • Benjamin Brooks says:

    Children of Eden wasn’t even on Broadway but has been done by so many community theaters! Dress kids up as animals and throw in a story that most people know, you’re sure to sell tickets!

  • Aaron Deitsch says:

    I know it hasn’t been long enough since it’s closing to be considered “epic”, but I strongly believe that Bonnie and Clyde will become just that in a matter of a few years. With one of the best scores I have heard in a long time, it will be one of those shows that people look back on and wonder what could have happened to cause it to close so early? I think it had everything to do with the fact that critics seem to hate Frank Wildhorn’s work in general and never gave it a fair shot. Shame, but our loss is the next generation’s gain when the revival runs for years and years…

  • John V says:

    Carrie, although considered as the biggest flop musical. The recent revival gave it second life. The fascination about it is cultish. Now, it’s playing all over the country and just opened in Manila Philippines. Although I realize that it did make it to broadway initially.

  • John V says:

    I would also say another JRB property Songs for a new world has been produced nationwide and all over the world and it has never reached broadway! It’s songs are amazing

  • Brian says:

    Merrily We Roll Along is a legendary flop. Ask any theatre buff and he or she can easily name 6 songs from the show. Like Follies each revision of the show solves some problems but creates others. It is Sondheim’s most “pop” score. How do the actor and director create a Franklin Shepard who is sympathetic at the beginning of the show and lovable at the end? The time reverse forces the audience to hate Frank from the start. Like the puzzles Sondheim loves Merrily is a show that has to be perfectly executed to have a winning production. We theatre maniacs run to each production hoping it is the one that gets this tremendous show right!

  • Tom says:

    CHESS. Just a few months after it’s short run on Broadway, CHESS played it’s first of many, many concert versions at Carnegie Hall and all over the world. The music has always been a favorite of many.

  • Phil Iannitti says:

    Sister Act! It had a decent Broadway run but already has played London, Hamburg, Vienna, Milan, France and has a slew of other major countries and cities in its midst. I think other countries, especially European ones, embrace upbeat, feel-good musicals more than America does.

  • Santi says:

    Anyone Can Whistle. Probably because of bad reviews. The book was only so so, from what I understand. But anything can run the risk of appearing so so when paired up with anything Sondheim does. LOL.

  • Emily Sigal says:

    [title of show] is the little show that could. After so much love was poured in to take the show from off bway to Broadway for a short time – the fans fell in love and did their best to keep it running. I get excited when I hear different high schools or colleges are doing the show across America and they opened a production in London this year!

  • Rick Shulman says:

    I’m going with MACK & MABEL. I think that a lot of people think that this was another Jerry Herman Broadway hit. It wasn’t even nominated for a Tony for best score.

  • David Brush says:

    Continuing with the JRB theme, I think its fair to say that PARADE deserved a longer NYC life than it had. But recent major productions and it’s popularity regionally have secured it as one the most heralded shows in recent memory. Why? Alfred Uhry’s nearly perfect book and JRB’s best complete score. Just my thoughts…:)

  • Kevin says:

    Side Show tops my list of the short-lived-yet-epic shows. I feel lucky to have seen the Broadway production two days before their three-month run closed. The show is a favorite among theatre people and the score offers some standout hits that are routinely performed at cabarets.

    As to why it closed – the producers cited subject matter, but I believe it’s a combination of production value and timing.

    Great costumes and great sets typically mean great investment. The bigger issue, however, seems to be timing. They officially opened in October, but failed to capture an audience through the holiday rush. This gave them no chance to get through the January/February lows.

    The production was ultimately nominated for four Tony awards and a Drama Desk award. If they had opened in March/April of ’98 and carried audiences/advertising through the Tonys, I wonder if the production would have lived longer.

  • Jason Kovacs says:

    Seussical – Despite only having around 200 performances on Broadway, it is one of the most often produced Ahrens/Flaherty shows. I tried to find it and did not succeed, but I remember reading an interview where the duo said that they receive the more royalty payments from Seussical than any of their other shows.

  • Carl says:

    Menopause the Musical. Wasn’t hip enough for NYC to “last, period.”

  • djk says:

    I’d say Minnie’s Boys- way short bway run, terrible reviews but still revived regularly in stock. There’s something a little too sentimental and old fashioned about it that is really appealing outside ny. Also the myth of the marx brothers rise to fame is a part of the American ethos.

  • A. Scott Falk says:

    I know someone else already said Seussical, so I will have to choose John Cariani’s “Almost, Maine.” That little-known off-Broadway show went on to become the most-produced play for Playscripts out of nowhere. I think the ease of mounting it, the number of roles, and apparently a certain enjoyability factor all contributed.

  • Seth Duerr says:

    Have to go with ASSASSINS. Short-lived every time, but easily the best Sondheim score/lyrics/book combo. Which is saying something.

  • Nathan Clift says:

    I would say Seussical the Musical. I have currently done the show three times and I just never get old of the timeless score. Every time I listen to the music, I fall more and more in love with it. It needs another chance on Broadway. Audiences need to be amazed again. They need to be brought back to their childhood.

  • Corine Cohen says:

    I believe you are looking for TABOO. This musical made Euan Morton famous and the music lives on but it had a very short run. I sadly never got to see the show because it closed before I could get my press tickets but the music lives on forever.

  • Claire says:

    My favorite musical is Chess, and I don’t know if I’d say it’s popularity outside its Broadway run has been epic, but I’d say it has a large fandom. A few concert stagings of it have been hugely popular, and there are many diverse recordings of it.

  • BG says:

    Ugh I wasn’t quick enough on the Seussical game. My answer is still Seussical.

  • Stacey Hofberg says:

    Jekyll and Hyde – I didn’t even like it that much nor did the critics but it plays around the world and has been successful on tour. Then it played again on Broadway and did terribly again. But it will continue to do well around the world and on tour because it has something that plays well outside of the Broadway community.

  • Christopher Thomasson says:

    HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH. A small show with a beautiful message, Hedwig couldn’t be held down by the confines of a NYC stage. Maybe it was the score, maybe it was the electric chemistry of John Cameron Mitchell or maybe it was just the little Hedwig in all of us trying to put ourselves out there, whatever the case, this is definitely a show with a success to run ratio of 1000:1.

  • Tracey says:

    Hands down Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party! This is one of if not my favorite score! Explosive, exciting and sultry. No other music and lyrics make you want to slink your way onto a stage than this one. It is produced all over the United States. Why it left and never stopped on Broadway? Maybe Broadway can’t handle it!!! Someone bring it on!!!

  • John P. says:

    “Play It Again, Sam” — short-lived but launched the career of Diane Keaton…

  • “Almost Maine” started in Maine then went around the world. Broadway missed out.

  • Brittany says:

    The first one that comes to mind is LEGALLY BLONDE! As I recall, it didn’t run terribly long on Broadway, but it has had a HUGE life in community theatre, school productions, and now cruise ships! It might have something to do with the fact that it was broadcast on MTV, but I feel like that show is everywhere!

  • Erinn Conlon says:

    Does The Rocky Horror Show count? It had a small one month run in London for its premiere run, but quickly became a cult hit that lead to short runs on Broadway and in other major cities, plus a film version that has been running in theatres since it was released in 1975 and still runs as an interactive show today.

  • Tom L says:

    High Fidelity the musical— horribly misunderstood when it premiered, but one of my favorite scores to listen to…AND if the 54 Below concert was any indication, I’m not the only one who feels this way!

  • Jules says:

    bare. A flawed little show with the New York run and reviews to match, but one that strikes all sorts of chords with teenagers who are just discovering the power of musical theater. While it’s a rite of passage to play an absurdly inappropriate character in high school theater – say, the sophomore Bertha in Pippin, or all those girls in male ensemble roles – bare is a show where the majority of characters have the exact age and situations of those who would play them. The chubby girl, the closeted gays, those who bury their unrequited love in destructive behavior, all are too familiar to many of us who find solace and discovery in theater.

  • Elizabeth T says:

    Definitely The Wild Party.. I heard the score before ever seeing the show and was instantly obsessed. I guess the Off Broadway world didn’t realize what it had with Idina and Taye back then!

  • Liz says:

    For me, Songs for a New World was the first thing that came to mind (ironically also by JRB). It didn’t last long, but it’s performed regionally quite often all across the nation and beyond. Plus, we all know many college aged musical theatre girls love to sing “I’m Not Afraid of Anything” for an audition song.

  • Jen says:

    Merrily We Roll Along. It closed after only performances, which at the time seemed like the end for the show and for Sondheim. But, its now played successful runs Off Broadway at the York, City Center, & recently the west end. Also, it has been in high schools nation wide. So many people have come to appreciate this show & it has given it a new life. Songs like “opening doors” & “our time” are staples to musical theatre and the show is beloved by many.

  • Stephen S. says:

    My call is Hands on a Hardbody. Just like The Last 5 Years it was a character centric show that didn’t get the chance it was afforded. It was a great show that I got to see before it closed and I saw it the same time as NPH (cause I ran into him in the bathroom). I really think it should have run longer cause it was so much more than what was told.

  • Eleah Burman says:

    “The Wild Party” by Andrew Lippa- As one can see, I have to mention the composer, because two Wild Parties emerged that year, which in effect made it very difficult for this off-broadway wild party to have an audience. It has an inventive score with a pop feel to it, yet has an emotional depth that many audiences would connect to. The original album became a cult hit among musical theater colleges, but it still hasn’t been on Broadway, nor revived in a New York setting. This could be the new Next to Normal and last a few years and have a tour, if given the chance and the right cast.

  • Sarah P. says:

    ‘Bare’ seems to keep resonating with people and getting revived – and for good reason, I think; for all our cultural progress as far as homophobia and acceptance are concerned, there are still gay teenagers out there deathly afraid to come out and be who they are, where they are. It’s still necessary!

  • Bryan Austermann says:

    Here’s one that had a really short run in NYC. 0 performances. Children of Eden. It never made it to NYC, but is super popular elsewhere because 1. Stephen Schwartz is amazeballs. 2. It’s about God. A lot of people care a great deal about him/her/they. 3. Lost in the Wilderness. Come. On. 4. Chad Kimball sang it like this once and it inspired a musical boner in everyone who heard it.

  • Billy-Christopher Maupin says:

    Seussical is top of my list. It’s a lovely, warm, fun show (with a score by my favorite team), but perhaps the family show can’t be the hit in NYC that it can be elsewhere. But then again shows like The Lion King or Annie seem to fly in the face of that.

  • David Rigano says:

    Would it be too easy to say Merrily? Another that comes to mind is Mack and Mabel, and I think they both suffer from the same syndrome:their cast albums are better than the shows themselves. Both shows are wrought with difficulties and maybe can’t be saved but the scores are so good and on a cast album without the problems of the show to weigh them down they can soar. If I may predict the future, I foresee a similar fate for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

  • Mary Britt says:

    I’m surprised no one has said “Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. Short NY run, but the most regional,community,touring,high school, dinner, and everything else shows ever.

  • eva says:

    Am so happy Mack and Mabel, Minnie’s Boys, High Fidelity, and Hands on a Hard Body were mentioned. I wish Scottsboro Boys had a longer run and I hope it is getting a lot of productions. Violet and Floyd Collins have quite the following as well.

  • EllenFD says:

    “A Man of No Importance” had a short run at Lincoln Center but has a cozy, intimate feel and music that fits the story of frustrated hopes and loves so well. I think a concert version could be just as charming.

  • Joshua says:

    Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) 45 Performances.

    RHPS is an all time cult classic. Mainly to do with the movie. I don’t think the new L5Y movie is going to generate the amount of hype Rocky Horror does, but I do think both shows will be done by every major regional theatre/community theatre at some point in time or another.

  • Roger Gindi says:

    SEUSSICAL was a big flop on Broadway but has had amazing success in licensing, mainly to schools and community groups. It has a title that explains itself and sounds like fun (much like NUNSENSE), with the additional bonus of being good for kids.

  • Todd says:

    Though I cherish shows such as Chess and Children of Eden for their amazing scores,I’d have to go with ROCKY HORROR as the true sensation of a flop show. Yes, there are some catchy #’s and far out characters, but I would attribute it’s true success to the interactive experience it has been known to provide the audience.

  • Gonzalo says:

    Though not a huge fan, I guess We Will Rock you should be somewhere in this post… It’s been produced worldwide, with extremely long runs (even in those cases where for “plot” (??) purposes the songs have been translated to local languages, yet it never made it to the NY stage… Great success in regional, community and school theaters worldwide
    Theory – probably the lack of plot outweighed the powerful Queen songs for NY audiences…

  • Matthew Turkle says:

    My vote has to be for “Carrie.” It may have only had 5 performances after opening, but people are still talking about it. Why else would “Not Since Carrie” have been written? A stellar score, chilling performance by Ms. Betty Buckley, and a well received revival didn’t hurt either!

  • brian says:

    Once upon a mattress. It is done by schools everywhere, but has not had too much of a life elsewhere.

  • Fran says:

    Seesaw. The original ran less than a year in 1973. Amazing Cy Coleman score.

    Did some research and found this on Wikipedia: “The Equity Library Theater, New York City, presented the musical in 1981. This production featured Karen Ziemba, Bill Tatum, Richard Ruth, Thom Warren and Diana Schlossberg.”

    Has Encores ever done it – if not, they should.

  • Adam says:

    Ok… So maybe I will miss the “intent” of this exercise, and My History may be wrong.. But since I am thinking about adding it to my season for 2014, I have done a little research.. And my pick for this category is The Wizard Of Oz! Shocking… But, I believe that the version that everyone does (based on the movie) is a 1987 adaptation, which was never on Broadway, yet is a monster success.. Call me crazy!

  • Still stunned by “The Baker’s Wife” lack of success ….great Stephen Schwartz score (music and lyrics) timeless story…never even made it to Broadway, yet “Meadowlark” from this beautiful score is used in every Broadway audition… and the score has taken on a life of its all these years. Go figger.

  • Natalie says:

    My pick is “Once On This Island”…the show was done in the early 90’s and has recently resurfaced on the scene. It is done by schools and community theaters everywhere. I wish it was done in more regional theaters. This show is also what put LaChanze on the map. Without this show, it might have taken us more time to get to know her.

    This show also really showed us Flaherty and Ahrens. Where would we be without those musical Gods??? They have really put a big imprint on African American theater. They might not even realize it, (Im sure they do though) but they have produced some of the biggest African American Musicals out there. IE Ragtime, Dessa Rose.

  • Leonie says:

    Tarzan, it ran so shortly over here – but had an amazing run in Germany! I saw it and thought it was a really good show, don’t know what went wrong over here!

  • Zanne Hall says:

    That’s easy – the musical “Carrie.” I reviewed it for an NYC mag & by the time the review was published the show was closed! But for some crazy reason, they keep bring it back everywhere – even the regionals.

  • pegc4 says:

    Songs for a New World and Queen of the Mist. Never were huge, but they both keep coming up in conversations I have with theater lovers. JRB and Mary Testa seem to both have devoted fans and may explain this a bit.

  • Tricia Ostermann says:

    It’s probably already been said, but [title of show]had too short of a run, in my opinion. And the problem was probably because of tourism. The tourists are looking for those big-bang shows that everyone is talking about or the shows with the famous celebrities in it so they can go back home and tell all their family and friends about seeing so-and-so from [insert blockbuster movie title here] or about how they dropped a giant helicopter (a REAL helicopter!) on the stage (“can you BELIEVE that??”).
    They wouldn’t have considered seeing the tiny show with all the heart– the show that resonated with anyone with a dream, especially those of us in the business.
    But now community theaters are realizing the brilliance of the show. 1. It has fun and catchy music. 2. It has an entertaining and real story. 3. The set is very minimal. And 4. (best yet) It only requires a cast of four and one pianist. In the cost-prohibitive world of community theater, this is liquid gold.
    I, for one, hope [title of show] has a long, long life out there in the real world (but, please, also come back to New York someday).

  • Keith Golden says:

    I would say [title of show.] Despite a popular fan base, the show only managed to survive a few months on broadway. However, the show continues to live on through various community theatre and high school productions, as well as the more commercial productions such as the one with Seth Rudetsky. The success of this show mainly deals with two aspects. People in theatre really “get” this show and understand the message how it pertains to our careers and lives in the theatrical world. People outside the theatre world understand the characters’ dilemma of struggling to work towards their dreams and whether the price is worth it, or if they should settle in their 9 to 5 jobs.

  • Ryan McCurdy says:

    “The History Boys”, which has enjoyed enormous community theatre and college success mostly (I think) for its cast breakdown and because of the post-Broadway film.

  • Mandy says:

    Since I’m an elementary teacher, I’ll say Seussical!

  • Robb Johnston says:

    Isn’t Seussical one of the most liscenced shows of the last 20 years

    I know I am days late, but I am going to go with that just on the number od schools and community theaters doing it

  • Dave says:

    Not in the same league as the titles mentioned above, but BIG: THE MUSICAL was a huge money-loser on Broadway, and you won’t likely see it performed in your local theatre company’s season, but it has huge appeal in grade schools because it’s very child-friendly.

  • Jack Lechner says:

    That’s an easy one! As detailed in a December 2010 NYT article, John Cariani’s ALMOST, MAINE had a brief Off-Broadway run in 2005-2006, but has gone on to be one of the most produced plays in America, with almost 2000 productions since — a higher ratio even than THE LAST 5 YEARS.

    Why this play? Because it’s a feel-good two-hander with a minimal set. Those are the strengths of THE GIN GAME, but ALMOST, MAINE is written for younger actors, which massively expands the casting pool. And it probably doesn’t hurt that it’s set in Maine, and doesn’t feel like a New York import — it’s theater for the rest of the country (and the world), which we often forget about in our little metropolitan bubble.

  • Elliot says:

    Seussical the musical

  • Rocky Horror & Suessical… for the cult factor, one for the high school musical factor!

    I never let my students sing from JRB’s The Last Five Years but I secretly sing it all the time and blast it while I’m working.


  • ECP says:

    In 1966, THE LION IN WINTER opened on Broadway. This fictional account of power plays during a tumultuous Christmas spent with Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, their three sons, Henry’s young mistress, and guests had its fans. The glorious Rosemary Harris won a best actress Tony, but the play ran for, I think, fewer than 100 perfs.

    It has since been performed steadily all over the place and–even though I think it has added potency as a holiday production–in every season. It has been revived on Broadway and in the West End, and produced as an award-winning TV movie. Still, I think the enormously entertaining 1968 film adaptation, starring O’Toole and Hepburn, has guaranteed its longevity on stage.

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