What do you do when you’re a theater with a hole in your schedule but little time or money to fill it? You snap up the rights to off-Broadway’s most in-demand two-person show. The Last Five Years, currently a hot ticket in New York, opens tonight at Signature Theatre. This production stars James Gardiner, a Signature regular, and Erin Weaver, who proved she could belt while roller skating backwards in the theater’s 2012 production of Xanadu. The semiautobiographical musical by Jason Robert Brown follows a couple over five years, from courtship through marriage and eventually divorce. But there’s a twist: Gardiner sings about the romance from beginning to bitter end, while Weaver’s character tells her story in reverse. There’s a big, beautiful wedding duet in the middle, but the musical is beloved for its quirky solos, including “Shiksa Goddess,” the lament of a nice Jewish boy falling for a gentile, and “Summer in Ohio,” a campy ballad about the summer-stock theater circuit. Breakup songs are great, but a breakup musical is even better.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and runs to April 28 at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. $40-$77. (703) 820-9771. signature-theatre.org.