The Chances You Don’t Take…

I’ve always been a bit of a dichotomy. A touch wishy-washy and a bit impulsive. Believe me, it doesn’t make sense to me either, and yet, it’s true. What I’ve come to realize, however, is that the things I regret the most seem to be the ones that I hem and haw about, and ultimately decide against doing. The ‘what ifs’ and ‘why didn’t I’s’ are the things that still haunt me.

I honestly don’t have many regrets in my life, but the ones I do seem to be the kind that linger, petty though they may be. And believe me, some of them are pretty petty in the grand scheme of things. Doesn’t mean they couldn’t have meant something to me, had I only not hesitated or talked myself out of it.

The latest one, the one that got me thinking—which is a scary prospect, I know—involves a possible trip to New York City for a weekend in August that is definitely not happening now. I’ve never been to NYC, but it’s high up on my list of places to visit. I’m a huge ‘Theatre Geek’ and can’t wait to see my first show on Broadway (you would think that this would have played a part in this whole thing, but alas, you would be wrong).

The story starts about a month ago when I got word of a one-night only show in NYC that I wanted very badly to see. At the news, I sighed wistfully and had daydreams of winning the lottery so I could attend. Fast forward to last week when it came to my attention that someone who I’ve been dying to see perform live would be in this particular one-night only event. Well, I freaked out and immediately went online to see if tickets were still available. And there they were… beautiful, front of the stage seats, at a reasonable price… and my heart fluttered, I sighed again and closed the browser window.

But then, over the weekend, the idea that I could actually make this work began growing and evolving in my over-worked brain. The show is on a Saturday night, so I could easily fly in overnight on Friday and head home on Sunday. Throw in a matinee of another show I’m dying to see on the Saturday and it just might be a fantastic weekend.

So, this morning, I said fuck it, I’m doing this thing because life’s too short and I work hard and because I damn well want to… and of course, the show is now sold out. Cue uncontrollable sobbing in the corner. (Not literally, because I was at work all day, but you get the picture).

*SIGH* Another regret on the pile… to go along with the boy I didn’t kiss when I had the chance, the party I didn’t attend that I should have, the words I didn’t write, the chance I didn’t take because I was afraid and the things I never said to someone who is gone.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am completely aware that this is the height of a first world problem. There are many other things going on the world that I should be worried about. That doesn’t make the disappointment any less poignant in the moment, however. Or the fact that I will forever kick myself for hesitating, solely because of the almighty dollar. What if this was my only chance to see this particular work and this particular performer? I guess I’ll just have to be happy with the decision I made and move on.

Maybe tomorrow.

Today I want to be a little angry and a little sad and whole lotta disappointed. And then maybe next time I’ll remember this feeling and I won’t hesitate. I am a firm believer in things happening for a reason, so I will take this one as a lesson in over-thinking things and the stupidity of not going with your gut. And when the next opportunity rolls around, I’ll be ready to shout ‘yes’ from the rooftops. Or get on that plane with no regrets.

New-To-Me Review: The Last Five Years

The Last Five Years (2014) is a film adaptation of the Off-Broadway musical of the same name by Jason Robert Brown. The film was written and directed by Richard Lagravenese and stars Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, Up In The Air) and Jeremy Jordan (Broadway’s Newsies, TV’s Smash).

The story follows the rise and fall of the five-year relationship between struggling actress Cathy Hiatt and novelist Jamie Wellerstein. Like the musical, the film is sung through, which means that the story is told entirely through song. The film (unlike the musical, which I have not had the pleasure to see) does have a couple of spots where there is brief dialogue, but they are absolutely minimal. And here, unlike in the stage production, the characters actually get a chance to interact with one another, which adds another bit of depth to the material. (On stage, they each tell their side of the story directly to the audience and only interact once).

What sets the story apart, however, is that it is not told in chronological order; Cathy’s arc begins at the end of the relationship and moves backwards, while Jamie’s arc starts at the beginning and moves forwards. The viewpoints alternate throughout the film, with the two stories intersecting in the middle, at the point where the characters get engaged and then married.

Overall, the film is beautiful… and heartbreaking. The score is modern and poignant, and a few of the tunes are the kind that have a tendency to stick with you. I will definitely be buying the soundtrack to the film later this week. And there is no doubt that the beauty of the film lies in the performances of the two leads. Especially when it comes to light that the performances were all captured live. No lip-syncing here.

To steal a line from Jordan’s Bonnie And Clyde on Broadway co-star, Laura Osnes, Jeremy Jordan can sing the crap out of anything and doesn’t disappoint here. The emotion that he brings with just his voice alone is incredible, and there is a reason that he is considered one of the top talents on Broadway (and is completely wasted as sidekick Winn Schott on The CW’s Supergirl. But that’s a rant for another day!) His rendition of ‘Nobody Needs To Know’ makes you want to both hate him and hold him, all in the same breath. Kendrick is excellent in the flashier role of Cathy (she gets the more memorable songs of the bunch) and proves that she is the whole package once more. The nuance and subtlety of her performance makes it a must see.

The only problem I had with the film was that it seemed to get a little muddled in the middle. A couple of times I felt myself a little lost as to where exactly we were in the timeline, which is one of the issues with having the leads on screen together. It was a mad scramble to see if they were wearing wedding rings to try and place the scene. This is a minor complaint, however and will probably work itself out during rewatch.

The film doesn’t fit in the happy, all-is-right-with-the-world box that most musicals find themselves in. Neither character is exceptionally likeable, and yet their inevitable end still breaks your heart. It’s raw and real and oh so resonant to anyone who has ever made the wrong choices, for reasons that they felt were right, in a relationship and had their heart broken in the process.

8.5/10 STARS