These are some of the realities of modern life and many stories have been told about them.
In “The Last Five Years,” which is playing at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston through Dec. 12, these familiar issues are dealt with in a new and intriguing way.
Instead of just telling the “he said” and “she said” in the same order, in Jason Robert Brown’s musical Cathy tells her story backwards while Jamie tells his story forward until the two come together at a pivotal moment.
Playing this time-twisting twosome are real-life husband and wife Jared and Kira Troilo, who are taking on roles that have been performed around the world by such actors as Academy and Tony Award nominee Anna Kendrick and Tony and Grammy Award nominee Jeremy Jordan.
Despite the fact that “The Last Five Years” has such notoriety, Troilo says he was not fazed, perhaps because he had never before seen the play or the film.
“I’ve seen a few clips here and there,” he explains, “but I’ve intentionally decided to not view any previous performances … I wanted this Jamie to be my Jamie.”
As the story is taken from real-life experience, Troilo sees many parallels between Jamie and himself. In addition to both moving to New York right after college with no real sense of their own abilities, Troilo observes that both he and Jamie immerse themselves in their craft despite doubts and keep pushing forward no matter what. Another similarity that Troilo sees is the fact that they are both Jewish and had to ride the waves of the Bat Mitzvah circuit and deal with many would-be matchmakers before finding their bashert.
“I do have flashbacks of being 13 and attending a Bar/Bat Mitzvah pretty much every weekend for a year,” Troilo laughs. Fortunately, he found Kira when he was just 15 and “never looked back.”
Since graduating from Shrewsbury High School and attending Boston Conservatory, Troilo has been privileged enough to ride a steady wave of success that has included performances at Symphony Hall, on cruise ships, in commercials, and in such acclaimed productions as the Lyric’s own “Camelot” and “My Fair Lady.”
Despite the many great roles he has taken on, however, Troilo is especially eager to share “his” Jamie.
“As a musical theater performer,” he maintains, “there’s really nothing better than getting to sing this role. Jason Robert Brown’s score is so beautiful and complex and Jamie’s music ranges stylistically from 80s Billy Joel to Eastern European Jewish folk music. As an actor and a singer, I’m in heaven!”
Though he may be at a high point in his career now (made all the sweeter by the opportunity to perform with his wife, who he met at Shrewsbury High), Troilo realizes that, in any creative endeavor, you can never tell when the next big chance will come.
“Even when you find success,” he admits, “there’s always that tiny voice in the back of your mind saying that it could all go away with a bad performance.”
Another similarity is that, just like Jamie and Cathy, Troilo also finds challenges in being married to another performer.
“It’s sometimes difficult to be supportive of your spouse’s career when you’re constantly worrying about your own,” he says. So while he is grateful for his career and the opportunities it has afforded him, Troilo says that he “completely understand[s] that artist anxiety that both Jamie and Cathy feel.”
And though he is firm in his position that marriage is “definitely worth it,” Troilo realizes that “anyone who has been married knows that it’s not just about love. It takes work, communication, compromise, etc. to keep a successful marriage going.”
And just as he and Kira work on maintaining and improving their relationship – which includes raising a child despite their hectic performance schedules – Troilo maintains that Jamie and Cathy are doing their best, no matter which way the story goes.
“Their struggles are real,” Troilo observes, “and I think anyone who comes to see our show will recognize themselves in both characters.”
For tickets and more information, visit lyricstage.com.