Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Connecticut and the Berkshires

Regional Reviews by Zander Opper

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change
Ivoryton Playhouse

Also see Fred's review of La Dispute

Holly Holcomb, Michael Brian Dunn,
Christopher Sutton and Sheila E. Coyle

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change is currently enjoying an entertaining production at the Ivoryton Playhouse in Connecticut. A show that concerns just about every conceivable aspect of men and women and dating, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change stands as the longest running musical revue in Off-Broadway history. I caught this show back in 1996, right before opening Off-Broadway, little dreaming that it would outlast the Broadway runs of such blockbusters as Hello, Dolly! and My Fair Lady. On a first viewing, I found the show to be cute, with some nice songs and skits, but my enthusiasm for it was somewhat mild. Seeing it more than fifteen years later at the Ivoryton Playhouse, the show finally won me over.

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change is a real crowd pleaser, capable of sending an audience into hysterics, and I found the score to be even better than it sounded on a first hearing. With a dynamite cast of four actors—two men and two women—and a highly inventive staging, I would certainly recommend this production to just about anyone who has ever even remotely gone out on a date.

With book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change is a show that is made up of comedy skits and songs that range from amusing to heartfelt. What really bolsters this production, though, is the amazing cast of four extremely versatile actors. If I mention Christopher Sutton first, it is only because he is also responsible for the superb direction and choreography. Since the performers don't exactly play characters, per se, throughout (for example, Christopher Sutton is credited as "Man One" in the program), it is easier to spotlight the moments when each actor gets to shine.

In the song entitled "A Stud and a Babe," Christopher Sutton stands out as an extremely meek man trying to make the best of a seemingly unsuccessful date by imaging how different it would be if he were "sexier." Sutton also scores as a husband stuck holding his wife's bags at the mall while she shops for shoes in the amusing number called "Waiting." As the other male in the cast, Michael Brian Dunn is pretty hysterical in the song "Tear Jerk," which explores the concept of a man dragged to a "chick flick," and then, later, in act two, he wins laughs as a new father in "The Baby Song."

Not to be outdone, the women in the cast are pretty terrific as well. Shelia E. Coyle all but stops the show at the beginning of act two in the solo "Always a Bridesmaid," about a woman who never quite gets to the altar and, instead, has to wear a particularly hideous bridesmaid's dress (the costume design by Kari Crowther is pretty spot-on throughout). Early on in the show, this actress also gets to share a funky duet with her co-star Holly Holcomb, in which the women lament about the "Single Man Drought." And though I would hate to choose a favorite moment in the production, I have to say that Holly Holcomb gets the best song in the show, called "I Will Be Loved Tonight," in which a woman rejoices having finally found the right man, and this performer's delivery of the song is quite incandescent and nearly breaks your heart.

Still, the real trump card of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change is its ability to reduce an audience to laughter and hysterics throughout, which was certainly the case at the performance I attended, with nearly every song and comedy skit hitting the bull's eye. Adding to the pleasures of the show are Christopher Sutton's imaginative staging (including a riotous car scene called "On the Highway of Life"), the highly appropriate scenic design by Tony Andrea, and the delightful two member musical accompaniment by Logan Medland on piano and Carin Joy Wiesner on violin.

While I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change didn't completely win me over Off-Broadway back in 1996, the Ivoryton Playhouse production solidified for me how foolproof this musical revue is designed, why it is has delighted audiences for all these years, and why it will certainly remain a sure-fire winner for many more years to come.

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change continues performances at the Ivoryton Playhouse in Ivoryton, Connecticut through October 13th. For tickets, visit www.ivorytonplayhouse.org or call (860) 767-7318.

Photo: T. Rick Jones

Also see the current theatre schedule for Connecticut & Beyond

- Zander Opper