While on the phone with her boyfriend discussing their future, aspiring actress Cathy wraps the drawstring of her robe around her finger to create a mock wedding ring. She smiles. After we’ve seen Cathy’s marriage fall apart in reverse chronology, the makeshift ring is a heartbreaking image, full of hope for something we know will fall apart within five years.
Tragedy occurs when expectations and reality collide in Jason Robert Brown’s 2001 musical, depicting a relationship from two different perspectives: Cathy moving backward from the breakup while her husband, Jamie, goes forward from their first meeting. The piece is an emotional and vocal showcase for two actors, and while Another Production Company’s revival could use some polish, it’s a strong inaugural outing.
With three wooden blocks and two wooden stools, Toma Tavares Langston and Raymond K. Cleveland keep the set dressing simple, focusing attention on the performances. Rob Riddle, with smooth but powerful vocals, is remarkable as Jamie. His control in the upper register is fantastic; whether he’s singing the crowd-pleasing “Moving Too Fast” or touching “Nobody Needs to Know,” Riddle makes it look effortless. Dominique Reid is less consistent, struggling with the higher notes. When she’s supposed to be softer, Reid’s vocals have a beautiful tenderness, capturing Cathy’s eternally romantic spirit even as she watches her hopes come unraveled.