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San Francisco by Richard Connema

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change
Has the Perfect Cast

Also see Richard's reviews of A Pinter/Albee Duet and Relativity

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change
Daniel Tatar, Anne Bobby, Jennifer Simard, and Darrin Baker
I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, with book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts, has finally come to San Francisco for a commercial run. New York's most appealing musical has played since 1998 Off Broadway, to more than 650,000 people. It is currently Off Broadway's longest running musical and it has played many other cities in this country. It's about time San Francisco saw this tantalizing revue about romance prior to and after marriage.

The two hour (with intermission) musical is smoothly directed by Joel Bishoff, and the set design by Neil Peter Jampolis is basically the same as the Off Broadway production. The cast is perfect, and it does not need any changing. The two men and two women are completely professional and all have performed the musical in New York or Chicago.

I Love You's first act is devoted to the insecure world of dating while the second act follows the insecurities of marriage and parenthood. The revue consists of twenty very clever songs by Roberts and DiPietro along with comic sketches that mostly hit the mark. Musical director-pianist Kim Douglas Steiner, who is from the New York production, and an unnamed violinist nicely serve the various song styles which include typical show tunes and pastiche, plus R & B, doo-wop and a sprinkling of red hot jazz and country-western.

Jennifer Simard (now up for a New York Drama Desk award for The Thing about Men) comes from the original company of I Love You .... She is excellent in various roles, including playing a woman in her forties making her first video for a dating service. She is heartbreaking as she tells the whole truth about her life and how her husband has left her. She segues into the passionate "I Will Be Loved Tonight" with an enchanting laser voice. Her portrayal of a wonderful loony loser in "A Stud and a Babe" is also priceless.

Darrin Baker (recently seen on Broadway in Laughing Room Only and Off Broadway in I Love You ...) has a wonderful sense of timing in his multitude of characterizations. He is hilarious as a new father who cannot stop talking about his son. He plays this role just right and does not go over the top; he segues into "The Baby Song" perfectly. He is also effective as the marriage-deprived convict at a seminar who intimidates a young couple into marriage. The last scene, in which he appears as a senior citizen who likes to go to funerals and talk to elderly single ladies, is priceless. He is exceptional in that role. Baker and Simard are wonderful as the older couple who reprimand their son and his longtime girlfriend for a lack of commitment when they inform them that after two years of dating, they are breaking up.

Anne Bobby (on Broadway in The Real Thing, Black Comedy at the Roundabout, I Love You ... Off Broadway) is outstanding in the poignant rendering of "Always a Bridesmaid" as a woman who has a closet full of bridesmaid dresses but no wedding gown. She is wonderful as the other half of the duet in the funeral home, and her rendition of "I Can Live with That" is splendid. Bobby and Daniel Tatar are captivating as bone-weary parents trying to find time to have sex in the song "Marriage Tango."

Daniel Tatar (Chicago cast of I Love You ... and Los Angeles actor), the youngest cast member, nicely handles all of his roles, from a young egotistic man boring the hell out of his date in "Men Who Talk and the Women who Pretend to Listen" to a man waiting patiently with Macy's shopping bags in his hand while his wife goes shopping for shoes and a 7-year-married husband looking at his wife and singing "Shouldn't I Be Less in Love with You" in a very loving manner. He is also excellent as a sad sack in "A Stud and a Babe."

I love I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, from the prologue where the group comes out in monks' attire to the end, where, in the same fashion, the cast says "Find someone you love who's perfect, and then spend the rest of your life trying to change them." The musical revue is at Marine Memorial Theatre, 690 Sutter Street, San Francisco for an open end run. Tickets can be obtained at toll free 1-877-771-6900 or visit www.ticket.com. For more information visit www.MarinesMemorialTheatre.com.


Photo: David Allen


Cheers - and be sure to Check the lineup of great shows this season in the San Francisco area


- Richard Connema



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