In an uncommon move, Tacoma Musical Playhouse has put aside the grandiose cast of dozens to produce “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.”
This cast of four actors plus two musicians with book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts is the second longest running Off-Broadway musical and from opening number to closing, it’s easy to see why.
This is your life!
Yes, yours, mine and ours. The charming, slightly off-color lyrics tell the story of romantic life from Adam and Eve through the dating process, love, marriage, divorce, straight on to the most poignant second time around.
The songs are funny, awkward and you have probably never heard them before nor will you remember any of them after you leave the theatre. However, the experience of this production will stay with you forever.
Jeffrey Stvrtecky is music director and Andrew Jackson does the lighting design.
The set by Bruce Haasl is perfect, from the raised orchestra platform in center stage to the two revolving booths on each side of the musicians which conceal the versatile venues for scene changes; it proves an excellent workable set which keeps the action on-going.
The two-piece orchestra holds forth on their platform, which is just big enough to hold Terry O’Hara and his piano and August Giles and his violin. This duo affords the total musical accompaniment for the entire program and they are excellent.
O’Hara deftly handles the transition from one of the 20ish numbers to the next without loosing a beat. Giles is equally brilliant with his instrument – especially when he gives a brief segue solo recital while the audience awaits a costume change.
As a director, Jon Douglas Rake won half battle with his superb casting. The quartet has taken the guidance offered by Rake and molded it into an excellent evening of fun and frivolity.
This is truly an ensemble production. The cast consists of Steve Barnett, Brynne Geiszler, Derek Hall and Alena Menefee. Each actor shares in the 20 vignettes with either a solo or a leading role or as just an “extra” body on the stage. Rake’s decision as to who does which roles is perfect.
The best part is that each actor creates a totally different character for each role whether it’s the dizzying “Not Tonight, I’m Busy, Busy, Busy” sung by Menefee and Hall or Geiszler complaining about being “Always a Bridesmaid” in a typical awful dress.
Then there’s Barnett as the father, Menefee the mother with Hall and Geiszler the two kids singing ‘On the Highway of Love” in “The family that Drives Together” vignette; where Rake reveals deft chorography.
Menefee’s truly memorable rendition of “The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz” is a hoot.
The poignant “I Can Live with That” by Hall and Geiszler during “Funerals are for Dating” brings a tear to the eye which is quickly replaced by peals of laughter.
The actors wear their characters like gloves and switch from one to another with alacrity in just moments.
“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” continues at Tacoma Musical Playhouse at 7116 Sixth Avenue, just east of Jackson, through February 28, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” has the tagline, “Everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit,” explains it all.
Don’t miss this charming musical experience so you can truly say you now know what love is all about.