'Last 5 Years' Premiere Lights Up With Jeremy Jordan's Improv Amidst Power Outage

Courtesy of O+M Co.
Jason Robert Brown, Jeremy Jordan and Richard LaGravanese

Said director Richard LaGravenese, "If you want to have hard sex, you see ['Fifty Shades of Grey'], and if you want a little more honesty and romance, you come see us."

The phantoms of the Minetta Lane Theatre were in rare form for the New York premiere of The Last 5 Yearsdirector Richard LaGravenese's film adaptation of Jason Robert Brown's cult favorite off-Broadway musical, starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. The musical premiered at the Minetta Lane in 2002, and Brown invoked the oddity of the experience being back in the space.

"The last time I stood on this stage was closing night of The Last Five Years," Brown told the audience of the musical. "While we're all going to have an emotional experience, I am having an experience that is so singular … the weirdest experience in the entire world."

Things got even weirder when, in the middle of the Radius release — which chronicles the ups and downs of a relationship — the stage lights turned on, obscuring the projection. The film kept running, so LaGravenese rushed down a side aisle, asking the projector operator to stop the film. Then, suddenly, the theater's power was out.

"Does anyone know Cathy's part?" Jordan asked to massive applause while jumping up from his aisle seat. He called to LaGravenese, "Hey, you know Cathy!" The director agreed and joined him onstage, and as if they were going to perform live, LaGravenese lounged and pretended to be the beleaguered Cathy. Jordan sat in his lap, as the audience illuminated with cell phone cameras. "Just kidding! I’m not warm anyway," Jordan then said, gently rubbing his vocal chords.

The power eventually came back on, and the premiere continued as planned in advance of its opening in theaters and on video on demand on Friday, Feb. 13. Though, audiences should use caution when choosing whether to see it with a date on Valentine’s Day.

"I don’t think it’s a good date movie!" Brown said. "We started previews [of the musical] at Minetta Lane around Feb. 13, and so on Feb. 14, people did bring their girlfriends for Valentine’s Day and you just see them walking out, just f—ing devastated man. ... It is a movie for people who are connected to each other, for people who understand how hard it is to be together."

The much-anticipated Fifty Shades of Grey opens the same weekend, and LaGravenese thinks the two films complement each other nicely. "If you want to have hard sex, you see that, and if you want a little more honesty and romance, you come see us," he says. "You can have it all!"

However, Kurt Deutsch, a producer on the film and co-founder of Sh-K-Boom Records which recorded the original Off-Broadway cast recording, thinks it’s a perfect date movie. "It’s a good movie to see for Valentine's Day because it’s about falling in and out of love," Deutsch said. "You can learn how to do a relationship well or you can learn what not to do in a relationship. It's about honesty."

Jordan plans to spend his Valentine's in rehearsal for the one-night-only concert staging Brown and Alfred Uhry's musical Parade at Lincoln Center. He says he will take his wife, Ashley Spencer, who also appears in the movie, to their favorite restaurant in Hoboken for the evening.

"I think it's a fantastic date movie," Jordan said. "If you're in love, it will strengthen your love for one another because you'll know we have these moments, but we've made it past them even if these guys didn't. And if things aren't working out, it makes you take a good hard look at what's really important to you in a relationship."

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