The Last Five Years

For its first cast recording, Sh-K-Boom chose this recent off-Broadway musical by Jason Robert Brown (Parade)—a wise choice.

For its first cast recording, Sh-K-Boom chose this recent off-Broadway musical by Jason Robert Brown (Parade)—a wise choice. (Brown won two Drama Desk Awards, for his music and his lyrics, in May) The show starred Sherie René Scott and Norbert Leo Butz as a couple who fall in love, wed, and grow apart. The twist: he starts at the beginning moving forward while she starts at the end moving backward, so the score comprises a series of alternating solos. On stage, Scott is the warmer performer with the more interesting character, but here Butz holds his own—and gets the songs with the most zip. Lyrically, Brown is an accomplished storyteller with obvious heart ("If I Didn't Believe in You") and humor ("Shiksa Goddess," "A Summer in Ohio"), and his intimate piano- and string-heavy score is peppy, melodic, and catchy. Scott and Butz are in fine form on this set, quite an accomplished recording for this label's first effort.—WH