March 25 – 28

The Last Five Years

Written and composed by Jason Robert Brown
Originally Produced for the New York Stage by Arielle Tepper and Marty Bell
Originally produced by Northlight Theatre, Chicago, IL

The Last Five Years is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.
Streaming is presented by special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI) New York, NY. All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited.

Hello, and Welcome to the Performance.

This is the first time I’ve written a message to you knowing that you’ll be attending the dance performance or theatrical production virtually. You might be in your living room. You might not be in Mississippi. I will miss seeing you in a live audience, so I remind myself that this is all temporary. So until we return to live performances, let us take advantage of this moment. You will see new approaches to presenting live theatre tonight. You will see new venues for dance performances. You will see students who took risks, trusted their training, and recalibrated their artistic compasses.

I heard recently that while it’s easy to approach this moment in the performing arts as a low and insurmountable one, that is not the whole story. We are living a historical moment in the performing arts. We are making theatre and dance in a profound context. We have been asked to reinvent what we do, to connect to what we love in new ways, and dare I say, to take stock of who we are as individual artists. This is our moment. I cannot say this moment has seemed like a gift every step of the way. In fact, it’s often felt like an impossible problem that faculty, staffs and students were required to solve—and to do it with the deadline of an opening night. And this brings us to tonight.

I hope you enjoy the performance. It is nothing short of extraordinary. I’ve learned so much about my colleagues since last spring. I’ve learned the unfathomable degree to which they will reinvent their processes in new mediums and through new methods. I learned the astronomical amount of work they were willing to put in over the summer to be ready for students. I learned more than I ever thought I would know about new technology. And all of it was done for one reason: for our students. And our students do all of this for you: our audiences.

I imagine the excitement of a premiere transcends a virtual platform. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing what has happened not in our studios and rehearsal hall, but in apartments and outdoors. I am thrilled to know I will see dancers dancing and actors acting. And when we get to the other side of this, I will be curious to see what remains—what becomes permanent—even though all of this is temporary.

Stacy Reischman Fletcher

Director, School of Performing and Visual Arts

Date //

March 25 – 7:30 p.m.
March 26 – 7:30 p.m.
March 27 – 7:30 p.m.
March 28 – 2:00 p.m.

Broadcast Live!

Tickets //

$5 General Admission

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Program Navigation

Click to jump to area or scroll through program.



Cast //

Cathy Hiatt

Brietta Goodman

Brietta Goodman is a transferring junior, and this is her debut main stage production at USM. She would like to thank everyone for this wonderful opportunity. She was previously an understudy for USM’s production of The Revolutionists.

Jamie Wellerstein

Morgan Baker

Morgan Baker is a third year M.F.A. Acting candidate at the University of Southern Mississippi. Past shows at USM include Much Ado About Nothing, Cabaret, and Guys and Dolls. 




Understudies //

Natalie Davis

Natalie Davis is a sophomore B.F.A. Performance Major, and also a Dance Major. Previous roles at USM include the Emerging Artists Series, Guys and Dolls, and Describe the Night. She has had previous roles of Nora in Brighton Beach Memoirs, Brooke in Noises Off, and Elena in an M.F.A. showcase, The Purification by Tennessee Williams. She feels so blessed to be able to work with such a wonderful cast on such a special show.




Creative Team //


Sam Buchanan

Sam Buchanan is a third year M.F.A. directing student.  At USM Sam directed the 2020 productions of Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night and Robert Icke’s Oresteia.  He was the AD for 2018’s production of Cabaret, and I Hate Hamlet.  Other directing credits include Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie, Michael Frayn’s Noises Off, Frank Wildhorn’s Jekyll & Hyde, William McNulty’s Dracula, and David Auburn’s Proof.


Jax Wright

Originally from Chattanooga, Jax Wright graduated with his B.A. in Theatre from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. Currently, he is a first year graduate student in the M.F.A. Program and the Paint Shop Supervisor for the 2020-21 season. The Last Five Years is Jax’s first main stage scenic design at USM. He is very excited to share his art with an online audience. Some of his other design credits include The Servant of Two Masters (OU), The 39 Steps: A Live Radio Play (USM), and Composition Design for Watson and Describe the Night (USM) for which he will present at the KCACTF National Competition.


Matt Snellgrove

Matt Snellgrove is a senior in the B.F.A. Theatre Design and Technology program with a focus in costume design. His credits include co-designing costumes for USM’s We’re Still Here, designing William Carey’s The Light in the Piazza, and assistant designing shows such as the USM 2020 Revelry Dance Gala, Guys and Dolls, and Oresteia. He has additionally worked for both Southern Arena Theatre and Carey Dinner Theatre as an assistant costume designer.

Hair and Makeup Design

Mason Baria

Mason is a junior undergraduate at USM, pursuing a B.F.A. Theatre (Design and Tech) with an emphasis on costume design as well as a certificate in Apparel Construction and Design. His previous work includes Costume Designer for Lauren Gunderson’s The Revolutionists, Assistant Costume Designer for Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses and August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean.


Tristan King

Tristan King is a first year Lighting and Sound Design M.F.A. candidate. Previous designs include The Revolutionists and Describe the Night.


Allison Bucher

Allison Bucher is a Junior pursuing a B.F.A. in Theatre Design and Technology at the University of Southern Mississippi. The Last Five Years is her third production with the University of Southern Mississippi. Her previous credits include The Revolutionists for lighting design and The Wolves for sound design.

Production Stage Manager

Hagan Harkins

Hagan Harkins is currently a junior, double majoring in Computer Science and Theater, with the primary focus being interactive computing and themed entertainment. She is so excited to be working on this production, and having the opportunity to utilize both of her distinct skill sets. Her previous credits include working as costume designer on Blithe Spirit and The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Slidell Little Theater, and performing in We’re Still Here. Hagan has also been an undergraduate assistant for THE 115 twice and is excited for all the other opportunities that await her on her journey through the department.

Video Director

Jay Morris

This is Jay Morris’ second year as Technical Director and Assistant Professor at USM. Previously he has worked as the Technical Director for University of Memphis Opera Department, The Honeywell Foundation in Wabash, Indiana, and Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, TN. He has also been the Assistant Technical Director for Utah Symphony | Utah Opera and Butler University. M.F.A. ’19 University of Memphis, B.A. ’99 Indiana University.

Music Director

Danny Buchanan

Daniel (Danny) Buchanan is a recent graduate of USM’s music department. He participated in qinternational tours with the USM’s Southern Chorale, as a bass singer, to Jamaica, Sweden, Norway, and South Korea. He also sang world and North American premiers of choral works during his time with the USM choral department. The Last Five Years will be his musical directing debut since graduating in May of 2020.




Orchestra //


Yuan-hung Lin

A native Taiwanese pianist, Ms. Yuan-Hung Lin has developed her musical career across Europe and the United States. Ms. Lin is a solo and collaborate pianist, having collaborated with Mississippi Opera, Natchez Festival of Music, and Hattiesburg Civic Light Opera for their musical and opera productions. Ms. Lin is currently a freelance pianist residing in Mississippi.




Production Credits //

Production Manager and Technical Director

Jay Morris

This is Jay Morris’ second year as Technical Director and Assistant Professor at USM. Previously he has worked as the Technical Director for University of Memphis Opera Department, The Honeywell Foundation in Wabash, Indiana, and Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, TN. He has also been the Assistant Technical Director for Utah Symphony | Utah Opera and Butler University. MFA ’19 University of Memphis, BA ’99 Indiana University.

Voice and Dialect Coach

Robin Aronson

Robin Aronson (Vocal Coach) is a Professor of Voice and Acting in Theatre at Southern Miss and has served as the vocal dialect coach for the past eighteen years for the Southern Miss Theatre main stage productions. As a Lessac Voice and Body Certified Trainer, Robin recently engaged in international practice-based research, leading Lessac voice and body workshops at the Philippine Educational Theatre Association (PETA) and Ateneo Del Manila University. In addition, she served as the vocal coach for the production of Dolorosa with the Tanghalang Ateneo Theatre. Robin was the recipient of the 2020 Lessac Training and Research Institute Leadership Award.


David Coley

David Coley, Ph.D. is excited to join the faculty of USM Theatre this season as producer and Assistant Professor of Theatre. He graduated from LSU in 2012 and was Assistant Professor of Theatre at St. Gregory’s University. As a scholar, his work focuses on the intersection of live performance and film projection, and he is also a playwright. His highlights as a director include: The Tempest, The Firebugs, Electra, Wit, The Glass Menagerie, The 39 Steps, and Three Sisters.

Costume Shop Supervisor

Kelly James-Penot

Scene Shop Supervisor

Wes Hanson




Production Staff and Preparation Crews //

Assistant Stage Manager

Georgia Leming

Georgia Leming is a Freshman at Southern Miss. She loves everything about theatre and can’t wait to show you what she can do. She previously served as Assistant Stage Manager for We’re Still Here.

Assistant Producer

Cody Alexander

Cody Alexander is a former Professional Wrestler who received his B.F.A. in Acting from Ball State University. He is currently a M.F.A. Performance Candidate here at University of Southern Mississippi. Notable roles he has played in the past are Jamie in The Great God Pan, Santiago in Anna in the Tropics, Ron in Recent Tragic Events, Solyony in Three Sisters, Lennox in Macbeth, Lt. Brannigan in Guys and Dolls, and most recently Voya in Describe the Night.

Vocal Captain

Natalie Davis

Wardrobe Supervisor

Laney Birchfield

Costume Crew

Taylor Busxch
Rebecca Earehart
Madison Queen

Props Supervisor

Aline Toloto

Props Preparation Crew

Jennifer Adee
April Benn
Xavier Croon-Cooley
Ebby Johnson
Tate Williams

Electric Supervisor

Katy Baronich
Tristan King

Electrics Preparation Crew

Elizabeth Beagley
Chance Beck
Michael Harrison
Mi’Leyha Otis
Julia Smith
Taylor Stringfellow

Camera Operator

Bryana Jones

Light Board Operator

Ayme Melancon

Sound Board Operator

Allison Bucher

Carpentry Supervisor

Jennifer Glass

Scenery Preparation Crew

Aline Toloto
Jennifer Glass
Jax Wright
Jerlissa Culpepper
Lauren Hankins
Harrison Lange
Ayme Melancon
Marley Monahan
Easton Peacock
Ryan Tinnon

Painting Supervisor

Jax Wright

Paint Preparation Crew

Jessica Bradford
Christopher Dlugach
Chandler Garrett
Raven Harris


Blake Waters





Faculty and Staff //


Robin Aronson – Professor of Voice and Acting

Theresa Bush– Assistant Professor of Costume Design

David Coley- Assistant Professor of Theatre, Producer

Craig Dettman– Associate Professor of Lighting and Sound Design,

Wes Hanson– Scene Shop Supervisor

Monica Hayes– Professor of Acting, Head of Performance

Caitlyn Herzlinger– Assistant Professor of Movement and Acting

Leketha Hughes– Administrative Specialist

Kelly James-Penot– Costume Shop Supervisor; Adjunct Faculty, Costumes

Stephen Judd– Professor of Scenic Design, Head of Design and Technology

Jay Morris– Assistant Professor, Production Manager, and Technical Director

Louis Rackoff– Professor of Directing, Head of Directing

Sandra Whittington– Administrative Specialist

School of Performing and Visual Arts

Stacy Reischman Fletcher- Director




The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival 50th, part of the Rubenstein Arts Access Program, is generously funded by David and Alice Rubenstein.

 Special thanks The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Additional support is provided by The Honorable Stuart Bernstein and Wilma E. Bernstein; The Dr. Gerald and Paula McNichols Foundation; and Beatrice and Anthony Welters and the AnBryce Foundation.

KCACTF is part of JFKC: A Centennial Celebration of John F. Kennedy, inspired by five enduring ideals often ascribed to JFK: Courage, Freedom, Justice, Service, and Gratitude. Support for JKFC: A Centennial Celebration of John F. Kennedy is provided by Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley, Chevron, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, and Target.

Kennedy Center education and related artistic programming is made possible through the generosity of the National Committee for the Performing Arts and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.

This production is entered in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF). The aims of this national theatre education program are to identify and promote quality in college-level theatre production. To this end, each production entered is eligible for a response by a regional KCACTF representative, and selected students and faculty are invited to participate in KCACTF programs involving scholarships, internships, grants and awards for actors, directors, dramaturgs, playwrights, designers, stage managers and critics at both the regional and national levels.

Productions entered on the Participating level are eligible for invitation to the KCACTF, involving more than 200,000 students nationwide. By entering this production, our Theatre department is sharing in the KCACTF goals to recognize, reward and celebrate the exemplary work produced in college and university theaters across the nation.



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