ALEXANDRIA — Back when they were just friends – long before they got engaged – Daniel Erwin and Erynn Hensley had a mutual love for “The Last Five Years.”
Erwin, a veteran actor in local community theater, became obsessed with the music and eventually the story. He posted on Facebook asking when and where “The Last Five Years” could be done.
“(Erynn) replied, ‘Let me know when and I’ll be your Cathy,’” Erwin said, referring to the show’s female lead. “And now we have that opportunity.”
But a lack of funds is threatening what the cast and crew have envisioned. So they’re turning to the internet and the community for help.
Show director Kayla Downey started a GoFundMe campaign seeking to reach $1,000.
“Basically based off some of the expenses (the theater) had to pour into previous shows and preparations for next season, they just didn’t have the funding we needed to buy the tracks and some lighting that we’re looking to get,” Downey said. “In order to obtain those, we kind of had to reach out ourselves.”
The campaign has already raised more than $350, which is enough to cover music costs — the group’s biggest concern.
“It’s hard to have a musical without music,” Erwin said.
The rest of the money raised would go toward costumes, props, set pieces and an updated lighting system to help set the mood and tone of scenes.
The musical tells the story of a divorced couple’s relationship from different perspectives – the wife tells her side in reverse chronological order starting with the end of their marriage, while the husband starts their love story from the beginning.
The jumps in the timeline means costume and set changes are more important in “The Last Five Years” than typical productions.
Raising enough to cover the costs of materials will add even more levels to the performances, which Downey said will be powerful.
Besides having musical and acting talent, real-life couple Erwin and Hensley have chemistry.
“(The show is) a very human story and it’s a heartbreaking story, and I think that’s what attracts me to it now even though it’s made more difficult by doing it with my fiancée and we’re doing it like a month before our wedding,” Erwin said. “It also lends that emotion to it as well because I’m looking at the love of my life — the girl I’m about to marry — singing and saying some of these ridiculously difficult things.”
Erwin and Hensley formed Downey’s ideal cast and she wants to make the most out of the production.
She hopes to see her vision materialize, but even if The Commons Theatre doesn’t raise enough money for everything Downey wants, the show will go on.
“With how talented Danny and Erynn are, even if we had a blank set and just them singing the songs, I think it would be wonderful because of how talented…