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Arts | Culture

How similar are these actors to their characters in ‘The Last Five Years?’

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Michael Luis Cusimano and Racquel Williams at their first rehearsal for Cygnet’s “The Last Five Years”
(Rachel Esther Tate)

The romantic musical spotlights actors Michael Louis Cusimano and Racquel Williams

This week, Cygnet opens “The Last Five Years,” a musical that theater people tend to gush about. (If you’re not a musical theater person but it still sounds familiar, maybe you remember the 2014 movie with Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan.)

Written by Jason Robert Brown, it tells the highs and lows of a five-year relationship between an aspiring novelist named Jamie, and a struggling actress named Cathy. What makes it so clever is that it’s told in chronological order from Jamie’s perspective, and in reverse order from Cathy’s point of view.

To get people excited, Cygnet’s been promoting the show with a cute Q&A with the answers told from the perspective of the characters. But we wanted to hear from the actual actors, so we asked them to answer the same questions as themselves.

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Actors Racquel Williams and Michael Louis Cusimano
(Rachel Esther Tate)
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Cathy/Racquel

Let’s start with New York actress Racquel Williams. She makes her Cygnet debut as Cathy, and here’s a bit about her character:

Cathy
Job: Aspiring actress.
Last roommate: A “former” stripper and her snake named Wayne
Favorite snack: Nothing, she’s on a diet
Strength: Fiercely loyal
Weakness: Never on time, a little co-dependent
Hates: Sensible shoes and summers in Ohio
Worst fear: Anonymity. And living in the ‘burbs
Where you’ll find her on a Saturday night: Working her day job
Favorite hashtag: #CantStopWontStop

We asked Williams to fill out the questionnaire as herself, and here’s how she answered:

Racquel
Job: Aspiring Broadway actress
Last roommate: Four dudes who didn’t know how to clean
Strength: Can easily make friends with anyone
Weakness: A huge procrastinator
Hates: Not living in the same state as my family
Worst fear: Dying in my sleep
Where you’ll find her on a Saturday night: Nowadays hanging out with my new Cygnet family, but if not, in bed watching “The Office” and eating kale chips
Favorite hashtag: #nosleep

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Racquel Williams as Cathy and Michael Louis Cusimano as Jamie in “The Last Five Years.”
(Rachel Esther Tate)

Jamie/Michael

San Diego actor Michael Louis Cusimano plays Jamie, and here’s a bit about the character:

Jamie
Job: Up-and-coming novelist
Last girlfriend: Someone his mother would probably approve of
Favorite snack: Doritos
Strength: Extremely passionate
Weakness: Needs to be loved (more like adored)
Hates: Missing out (has serious FOMO)
Worst fear: Anonymity. And feeling trapped
Where you’ll find him on a Saturday night: At yet another party, probably in his honor
Favorite hashtag:#WritersGonnaWrite

Here’s how Cusimano responded when the same questions were about himself:

Michael
Job: Actor
Last girlfriend: Anna Zuckerman - Mom definitely approved
Favorite snack: Salt and pepper kettle chips
Strength: Creative and intellectual
Weakness: Too analytical; overthinks
Hates: Missing the opportunity to succeed
Worst Fear: Settling for comfort over passion
Where you’ll find him on a Saturday night: At the theater, on stage or out with the cast afterwards
Favorite hashtag: #isthishowhashtagswork?

“The Last Five Years” runs Oct. 23 through Nov. 17. Cygnet Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town. $35 to $65; find tickets. *The show runs 90 minutes with no intermission.


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