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Just the title of the musical “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” is enough to make most people smile, often ruefully.
It just seems be human nature to meet someone, be really attracted to them, convince yourself that their “little quirks” are actually adorable—and then progress to a stage where those same quirks drive you up the proverbial wall. In the beginning of love, it’s so easy to think, “oh, so what if he’s never on time. He’ll realize it really bothers me.”
Not so much.
“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” continuing onstage at UTC April 9-12, premiered Off Broadway in 1996 and eventually became the second-longest running Off Broadway musical in history, finally closing in 2008. Which in itself is a testament to the universality of the subject matter. The show’s tagline is, “Everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit.”
UTC materials describe it as “rid[ing] the rollercoaster of romance with such familiar types as the sloppy single guy, the career-driven single woman, the new parents who have forgotten how to speak to adults, the sex-deprived married couple and the rambunctious senior couple.” Cast members play a variety of roles as the scenes change.
According to the show’s director, Steve Ray, “The show has some deep and poignant things to say about relationships, but it is really just a lot of fun. Music, dance, and jokes are blended with tender scenes, but it never drags. It just zips through the stages of romance from the first date to the golden years.”
Some reviewers have pointed out that a vintage 1996 musical on this subject is already a period piece. Take this excerpt from a review of a recent revival at Florida’s Plaza Theater: “Perfect is locked in a bit of a late 20th century time warp, too, but it only adds to its sweet spot. There aren’t blended families or diverse relationships in this heteronormative take. This Perfect knows its audience and plays to it. No doubt there are many scenes that will connect on an organic level with Plaza regulars. (Legend has it that at one of the original show’s premiere performances… a woman couldn’t contain herself and blurted out, ‘This is my life!’ There were a few such conversations intermingling at intermission in the Plaza ladies room.)”
The UTC casting addresses the “diverse relationships” angle to some degree. “This cast is going to shine. They are each very talented, but they are also funny,” says Ray. Trevor Denney, Cricket Glenn, Garrett Henson, Gregory Jackson, Katelin Klepper, Trevor Miles, Erin Skelley and Courtney Tucker play all of the more than 50 roles.
Ray also has enthusiastic words for his well-known collaborators: “Tim Hinck is doing an amazing job as music director and Lindsay Fussell’s choreography makes this musical sparkle.”
So if a musical with songs titled “Cantata for a First Date”, “Men Who Talk and the Women Who Pretend They’re Listening”, “Always A Bridesmaid”, “Marriage Tango”, “Shouldn’t I Be Less in Love With You?” and “I Can Live With That” rings any personal bells, this may well be the show for you.
“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”, UTC Theatre Company in conjunction with the First Tennessee Foundation, Dorothy Hackett Ward Theatre, UTC Fine Arts Center, Vine & Palmetto Sts., April 9-12, 7:30 p.m., 2 p.m. matinee April 12 only. $15 general admission, $12 students/seniors.
(423) 425-4269, tickettracks.com