PCS Blog

“The Last Five Years” Cast and Creative Team

Posted by Claudie Fisher | 14 April 2014

Written and Composed
by Jason Robert Brown

Merideth Kaye Clark*...................................Cathy Hiatt
Drew Harper*...............................................Jamie Wellerstein
Pianist..........................................................Eric Little


Creative Team
Nancy Keystone............................................Director
Rick Lewis.....................................................Musical Director
Daniel Meeker...............................................Scenic and Lighting Designer
Jeff Cone.......................................................Costume Designer
Casi Pacilio....................................................Sound Designer
Kelsey Daye Lutz*.........................................Stage Manager
Brandon Woolley...........................................Casting
*Member of the Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
Cast Biographies

Merideth Kaye Clark (Cathy Hiatt)
Merideth Kaye Clark is an artist, traveler, musician, songwriter, singer and actress. PCS: Tzeitel, Fiddler on the Roof. Northwest theatrical credits: Nancy, Oliver! (The 5th Avenue Theatre); Clara, The Light in the Piazza (Portland Playhouse); Lilli/Kate, Kiss Me Kate (Clackamas Repertory Theatre). Other regional: Eva Peron, Evita (Northern Stage); Olivia, Twelfth Night (Alabama Shakespeare Festival); How the Grinch Stole Christmas (The Old Globe); Amazing Grace (Goodspeed Opera House); Rose, Meet Me in St. Louis (Irish Repertory Theatre)and many more! She has participated in numerous developmental readings and has originated roles in two off-Broadway musicals. Merideth performed the role of Elphaba in the First National Tour of the Broadway musical Wicked over 150 times in 35 major US cities. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Merideth has a B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University and an M.F.A. in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University.
Drew Harper (Jamie Wellerstein)
Drew Harper made his professional theater debut at PCS, creating the role of Doug in Threesome for the 2013 JAW festival. This was followed by Motel in Fiddler on the Roof (PCS), Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (Portland Playhouse), and Giuseppe in The Light in the Piazza (Portland Playhouse). Drew is thrilled to be joining Actors' Equity with The Last Five Years. Before moving back to the Northwest, Drew spent five years in New York City where he worked mostly in film production. He studied American History and Theater at N.Y.U., Queer Theory at Evergreen State College and Arabic at the International Language Institute in Cairo. Humble thanks to the Portland theater community for welcoming him as a comrade and a pupil. Loving thanks to his family, without whom none of the blessings of his life are conceivable. Special thanks to Merideth, for the privilege and the pleasure of the journey.

Eric Little (Pianist)

A musician and actor native to Portland, Eric Little made his debut at PCS as Tobias Ragg in Sweeney Todd. He recently music directed Les Misérables at Spokane Civic Theatre, Cats and Drowsy Chaperone at Broadway Rose Theater Company, White Christmas at Lakewood Center for the Arts, and Next to Normal at Artist's Repertory Theatre. Onstage credits include A Year With Frog and Toad and How I Became a Pirate at Oregon Children's Theatre, and A Very Merry PDX-Mas and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Broadway Rose Theatre Company. He has a B.A. in Music from St. Olaf College.

Creative Team Biographies

Jason Robert Brown (Book, Music and Lyrics)
Jason Robert Brownhas been hailed as “one of Broadway’s smartest and most sophisticated songwriters since Stephen Sondheim” (Philadelphia Inquirer), and his “extraordinary, jubilant theater music” (Chicago Tribune) has been heard all over the world, whether in one of the hundreds of productions of his musicals every year or in his own incendiary live performances. The New York Times refers to Jason as “a leading member of a new generation of composers who embody high hopes for the American musical.” The Bridges of Madison County, a musical adapted with Marsha Norman from the bestselling novel, is currently running on Broadway, directed by Bartlett Sher and starring Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale. Honeymoon in Vegas,based on Andrew Bergman’s film, opens on Broadway later this year following a triumphant production at Paper Mill Playhouse last fall. His major musicals as composer and lyricist include: 13, written with Robert Horn and Dan Elish, which began its life in Los Angeles in 2007 and opened on Broadway in 2008; The Last Five Years, which was cited as one of Time magazine’s 10 Best of 2001 and won Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics; Parade, written with Alfred Uhry and directed by Harold Prince, which premiered at Lincoln Center Theatre in 1998, and subsequently won both the Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best New Musical, as well as garnering Jason the Tony Award for Original Score; and Songs for a New World, a theatrical song cycle directed by Daisy Prince, which played Off-Broadway in 1995, and has since been seen in hundreds of productions around the world. Parade was also the subject of a major revival directed by Rob Ashford, first at London’s Donmar Warehouse and then at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. His orchestral adaptation of E.B. White’s novel The Trumpet of the Swan premiered at the Kennedy Center with John Lithgow and the National Symphony Orchestra, and the CD was released on PS Classics. Future projects include a new chamber musical created with Daisy Prince and Jonathan Marc Sherman called The Connector, an untitled new piece created with Claudia Shear and Casey Nicholaw, and a new solo album for release in 2015. Jason is the winner of the 2002 Kleban Award for Outstanding Lyrics and the 1996 Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Foundation Award for Musical Theatre. Jason’s songs, including the cabaret standard “Stars and the Moon,” have been performed and recorded by Audra McDonald, Billy Porter, Betty Buckley, Karen Akers, Renée Fleming, Philip Quast, Jon Hendricks and many others, and his song “Someone To Fall Back On” was featured in the Walden Media film, Bandslam. Read more at www.jasonrobertbrown.com
Nancy Keystone (Director)

Nancy Keystone is a director, playwright, designer and visual artist, and the honored recipient of a 2011 United States Artists Hoi Fellowship. In Los Angeles, she is the founder and artistic director of Critical Mass Performance Group (named 2013's "Best Theatre Company," by LA Weekly). Their latest piece, Keystone's adaptation of Alcestis, premiered at the Theatre @ Boston Court and was named one of the "10 Best Plays" by LA Weekly and LA Stage Times, and won awards for best adaptation from both LA Drama Critics Circle and Arts in LA. The company's epic trilogy, Apollo, premiered at PCS in 2009. Also at PCS she has directed Venus in Fur, The 39 Steps, her adaptation of Antigone, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Dirty Blonde, Underneath the Lintel and Mike's Incredible Indian Adventure. She was Artistic Associate at PCS from 2003-2005. In 2006, with collaborator Peter Maradudin, she was design consultant for the new Gerding Theatre at the Armory, designing features for the four lobby spaces. Other theaters at which she has directed and designed include the Mark Taper Forum, Theatre @ Boston Court, Actor’s Express, Georgia Shakespeare Festival, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival and Long Beach Opera. As a visual artist, Ms. Keystone works in mixed media, creating paintings and collages, as well as unique scenic environments for her productions. She is the recipient of TCG’s Alan Schneider Director Award and many national grants and fellowships. With Critical Mass Performance Group she is currently creating Ameryka. www.nancykeystone.com


Rick Lewis (Musical Director)
Rick’s previous PCS shows are Fiddler on the Roof, Somewhere in Time, Sweeney Todd (Drammy Award, Musical Director), Black Pearl Sings!, Oklahoma!, The Huntsmen (JAW), The Imaginary Invalid, Sunset Boulevard, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Ragtime (Drammy Award), Grey Gardens, A Christmas Carol (Composer), Guys and Dolls (Drammy Award), Cabaret, West Side Story (Drammy Award), The Fantasticks and Bat Boy. He is the creator of the hit off-Broadway musicals The Taffetas, Have a Nice Day!, and The Cardigans (NYC Bistro Award, "Outstanding Musical Review”). Rick was musical supervisor for the West Coast regional premiere of Next to Normal (Artists Repertory Theatre). He was assistant conductor/vocal director for the pre-Broadway workshop of Cy Coleman's The Life. Rick has written for Disney Live Family Entertainment, American Hawaii Cruises, American West Steamboat Company, American Classic Voyages, and the Portland Spirit (Cinnamon Bear Cruise). Rick is a private vocal coach, concentrating on musical theater audition and performance. www.rlewismusic.com


Daniel Meeker (Scenic and Lighting Designer)
Previously at PCS, Dan designed the set for The People's Republic of Portland and Red (Drammy Award), the lighting for Twist Your Dickens and I Love to Eat, and the set and lighting for Bo-NitaThe MountaintopThe Real Americans and Mike's Incredible Indian Adventure. Other recent credits include lighting design for the Pickathon Festival; lighting design for Crooked at COHO; lighting design for Disconnect at San Jose Repertory Theatre; set and lighting design for The Light in the Piazza, DetroitMother Teresa is DeadThe Huntsmen and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Portland Playhouse and set design for The Stinky Cheese Man for Oregon Children's Theatre. Upcoming projects include Lizzie here at PCS, Fancy Nancy for Oregon Children's Theatre, a world premiere dance piece for White Wave dance at The Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York and another Pickathon Festival. Daniel is a member of the faculty of Portland State University. He is a graduate of Ithaca College and the Yale School of Drama and a member of United Scenic Artists.

Jeff Cone (Costume Designer)
This is Jeff’s 16th season at PCS. In that time he has designed costumes for over 75 productions. Of those shows, 50 have been in the last eight seasons at the Armory. Favorite productions include West Side Story, Cabaret, Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Sometimes a Great Notion, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Imaginary Invalid, Black Pearl Sings!, Venus in Fur and Clybourne Park. Jeff received Drammy Awards for his costume designs for Dirty Blonde, Act A Lady and Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline. In addition to his resident costume designer duties, Jeff is happy to manage the costume shop here at Portland Center Stage.


Casi Pacilio (Sound Designer)
Casi keeps busy with a variety of work and play in Portland and around the country. PCS credits include Othello, A Small Fire, Chinglish, Twist Your Dickens, The Mountaintop, Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma!, The North Plan, Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline, Black Pearl Sings!, Opus, futura (with composer Jana Losey), Ragtime (PAMTA Award 2010), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, Snow Falling on Cedars, Crazy Enough, The Little Dog Laughed, Sometimes a Great Notion, Cabaret, The Pillowman, I Am My Own Wife, West Side Story, Celebrity Row and eight seasons of JAW. National shows: Holcombe Waller Surfacing and Wayfinders; Hand2Mouth Theatre credits: Left Hand of Darkness, My Mind is Like an Open Meadow (Drammy Award 2011), Something’s Got Ahold Of My Heart and PEP TALK. Other theatrical credits include Squonk Opera’s Bigsmorgasbord-WunderWerk (Broadway, PS122, national and international touring); I Am My Own Wife, I Think I Like Girls (La Jolla Playhouse); Playland, 10 Fingers and Lips Together, Teeth Apart (City Theatre, PA). Film credits include Creation of Destiny, Out of Our Time and A Powerful Thang. Recordings: Glitterfruit’s fruit snacks.


Kelsey Daye Lutz (Stage Manager)
Kelsey Daye is a North Carolinian dairy farmer’s daughter. New York credits include off-Broadway work with The Actors Company Theatre; off-off-Broadway work with Theatre for the New City and The Internationalists. Regional credits include: stage manager for A Small Fire, production assistant for: Clybourne Park, Venus in Fur, Midsummer Night’s Dream, The North Plan and Anna Karenina at PCS; stage management intern for Hard Weather Boating Party, Shipwrecked, A Raisin in the Sun and 43 Plays for 43 Presidents at Actors Theatre of Louisville; and assistant stage manager for A Beautiful Star and A Christmas Carol at Triad Stage. She would like to thank her boys for all their unconditional love.


Chris Coleman  (Artistic Director)
Chris joined Portland Center Stage as artistic director in May 2000. Before coming to Portland, he was artistic director at Actor’s Express in Atlanta, a company he co-founded in the basement of an old church in 1988. Favorite PCS directing assignments include Fiddler on the Roof, Clybourne Park, Sweeney Todd, Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline (which he also adapted), Anna Karenina, Oklahoma!, Snow Falling on Cedars, Ragtime, Crazy Enough, Beard of Avon, Cabaret, King Lear, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Man and Superman, Outrage, Flesh and Blood and The Devils. Chris has directed at theaters across the country, including Actor’s Theater of Louisville, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, ACT-Seattle, The Alliance, Dallas Theatre Center, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop and Center Stage in Baltimore. A native Atlantan, Chris holds a B.F.A. from Baylor University and an M.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon. He is currently the board president for the Cultural Advocacy Coalition. Chris’ favorite things about Portland: farmers markets, Timbers games, Salt & Straw ice cream, dog parks, food carts and cars that stop for pedestrians.


The Last Five Years runs April 26 — May 11.



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