The thrill of first love, the stability of marriage, and the pain of divorce are all present in the 14-song musical The Last Five Years -- just not necessarily in that order. An off-Broadway hit in 2002 (and due for a New York revival next year with Anna Kendrick), this heart-rending and inventive work tells the two very separate stories of an archetypal artistic couple before, during, and after their marriage. Actress Cathy's story begins at the end of her relationship and is told in reverse chronological order, while novelist Jamie's tale starts at the beginning and moves chronologically; the two rotate songs, eventually converging on their wedding day for their lone duet. Intrinsic to this clever structure is the idea that even when couples are together, they can be on different paths emotionally. With its minimalist set design, the biographical story proved therapeutic for creator Jason Robert Brown; the piece hit so close to home that during the musical's premiere, his ex-wife threatened legal action for how closely the play mirrored herself and their failed nuptials. Broadway export Janet Dacal will star alongside Carbonell Award nominee Christopher A. Kent at Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre (180 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables) this Wednesday through December 30. Tickets cost $35 to $48. Showtimes are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Call 305-444-9293 or visit actorsplayhouse.org.
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Dec. 5. Continues through Dec. 30, 2012