Friday, January 13, 2017

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change

From left, David Crane, Melinda Parrett, Jennifer Morrison and Jake Mahler star
in Sacramento Theatre Company's "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.”
Charr Crail Photography/Courtesy photo

 “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts, is now on Sacramento Theatre Company’s Pollock Stage, directed by Jerry Lee.

This is a show that ran for 5,000 performances off Broadway from 1996 through 2008 and has been a favorite of small theaters around the country ever since. It has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

It is a pleasant “boutique musical” — a term used by STC Education Director, Michele Hillen-Noufer — which is guaranteed to appeal to white, older, married empty-nesters. For other demographics, perhaps not quite so much.

The show, while dated, is a celebration of the mating game. Act 1 explores the journey from dating and waiting to love and marriage, while Act 2 reveals the agonies and triumphs of in-laws, newborns, trips in the family car and pickup techniques of the geriatric set.

The cast consists of two men and two women. Melinda Parrett, frequently seen at B Street Theatre, has performed with STC twice before, but it is a debut performance for Jake Mahler, David Crane and Jennifer Morrison (so poignant in Green Valley Theater’s recent “Last Five Years”), all of whom are wonderful additions to the STC family.

The four are accompanied by Samuel Clein (alternating with Chris Schlagel), conductor and keyboard, and Annie Coke on violin.

The actors rotate through the approximately 20 roles in the show, from angst of the first date …

Will my hopes be met? Will my fear dispel?
Will I captivate? Or will I repel?
Will I show him/her just how wonderful I am?
Or will I be a date from hell?

… through marriage and the problems of finding intimacy when there are children in the house, all the way through trying to find a mate after a messy divorce, using a dating service (Parrett is very funny trying to figure out the new technology) and finding another partner following the death of the first, though each still loves the departed spouse.

Girl: Arthur, there is something I have to tell you, when it comes, to you know, I’m not the type of person who jumps in bed like an acrobat, it takes time with me,
Guy: Uh oh.
Girl: That’s a problem?
Guy: Depends, how much time you talking, cause if you’re talking years I don’t think either of us has that long.
Girl: I was talking a few weeks maybe,
Guy: No matter, I can live with that.

The scene is a less funny and more poignant moment that will touch the heart of those of us “of a certain age” who have attended too many funerals lately.

The longevity of this show is proof of its popularity, and with a load of talent like Mahler, Parrett, Crane and Morrison, along with Jerry Lee (who was in the show when STC did it in 2012), it can’t help but be another hit for the company.

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