I’m so excited to see Anna Kendrick finally get recognized for her stellar singing voice! After starring in the female-centric a capella comedy Pitch Perfect, Anna looks to be playing up her musical theater chops. According to Moviehole, she’s just snagged the lead in The Last Five Years, a musical from 2001 that’s like The Notebook but with songs.
Yes, I know that there’s a musical version of The Notebook in development, but once you see The Last Five Years, you won’t need Nicholas Sparks‘ weepy lyrics. Jason Robert Brown‘s musical chronicles the relationship between struggling actress Cathy and her novelist husband Jamie. But what gives the show its emotional punch is the unusual chronological style: Cathy’s story starts at the end of their marriage and works its way back, while Jamie’s story starts with their first meeting and moves forward in time. The one time they interact in the middle is heartbreaking because you already know how it’s going to end.
I’ve never seen the show, but I’ve listened to — and cried to — the soundtrack multiple times. It helps that the original cast was Norbert Leo Butz (who went on to originate the role of Fiyero in Wicked) and Sherie Rene Scott (who was luminous as Amneris in Aida and also played Ursula in The Little Mermaid when it came to Broadway). I completely believe that Anna will be fantastic taking over the role of Cathy, partly because she’s as neurotic and self-deprecating as many of Anna’s past characters, not to mention how she comes across in real life. That down-to-earth attitude will help her play a young woman besieged by anxieties over her career and her marriage.
Despite the fact that she raps, remixes, and dances her way through Pitch Perfect, the performance from that movie that most mesmerizes me is when she recreates the viral video “Cups.” Here she does it for David Letterman:
The melancholy lyrics here remind me of the Last Five Years soundtrack, and of course Anna has a lovely voice.
Of course, now we’re dying to know who will be the Jamie to Anna’s Cathy. I agree with CinemaBlend that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be a fantastic choice, though he may not be so inclined to take on an other musical project after the Little Shop of Horrors remake. Would it be crazy to cast Anna’s Pitch Perfect love interest Skylar Astin again? They had believable chemistry playing college freshmen; here they’d have to skew older but already have the proven sparks. And he wowed us with his singing in the movie.