Backstage with ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect – Now Change’

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(Host) A play that celebrates the modern-day mating game has become off-Broadway’s longest running musical. Now the Stowe Theater Guild is mounting a production of what some critics have called “Seinfeld with music.”

VPR’s Neal Charnoff goes Backstage with “I Love You, You’re Perfect – Now Change.”

(Cast singing, “Why do I, keep coming back?…”)

(Charnoff) Why do we keep coming back? That’s the question posed in this musical comedy written by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts. “I Love You, You’re Perfect – Now Change” is a series of musical vignettes that examine the ups and downs of dating – from the bad first date, to the joys and sorrows of growing old together.

With a cast of eight, the play strings together about 22 separate songs and skits to create a panorama of the mating game. Here, the disastrous date is illustrated in “Single Man Drought.”

(Man) “And that’s what I really love about aerodynamic engineering.”
(Woman) “Wow, Bob, what a really long story.”
(Man) “Well I love what I do, and I love to talk about it. I was boring you, wasn’t I?”
(Woman) “Oh no, no. Oftentimes when I’m listening, my eyes are closed like that.”
(Man) “I thought so. So, anything to start?”
(Woman) “Oh no, Bob, no appetizer for me. I’m a very light eater.” (Aside: “I’m lying.”) Plus, I didn’t go to the gym today, and I generally go every single day. (Aside: “I’m really lying.”)

(Charnoff) “I Love You, You’re Perfect – Now Change” is being directed by Jack Von Behren of Waterbury Center. He’s not surprised that the show has become a success wherever it’s been produced.

(Behren) “It’s a universal appeal to everyone who’s tried to work up the courage and ask someone for a date, and to see what happened. There’s a wonderful story about the professional production in New York, that in their first year a woman in the audience stood up during one of the breaks and yelled, “You’re telling my life story!” And I think all of us feel that, there’s something we can identify with at every point in this show.”

(Charnoff) The instrumentation for this production will be piano and synthesizer. Carol Schein of Waterbury Center is the Musical Director.

(Schein) “I’ve loved it because many times in musical theater you have a story and the story goes throughout the whole entire show, and you have the same characters. In this show, we have different characters for every single vignette and it’s been fun to develop those characters in each one of the songs.”

(Charnoff) The cast members enjoy the challenge of creating a variety of roles. Betsy White describes a few of her characters:

(White) “Well, I get to get ready for a date and be very nervous about that, it’s a first date. I get to go on a very bad first date, as well. I get to be a new parent who bores an old friend to death with talk of the baby, that’s kind of fun. I get to get married. I get to eat breakfast with my husband of many, many years.”

(Charnoff) Cast member Elizabeth Gerber of Burlington say show has a very simple moral.

(Gerber) “No matter what age you are at – older, younger – you go through this time and time again. And every time you keep coming back because it’s worth it in the end.”

(Charnoff) For VPR Backstage, I’m Neal Charnoff in Stowe.

(Host) “I Love You, You’re Perfect – Now Change” runs through October 9 at the Town Hall Theater in Stowe.

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