Love, the Everlasting Drama

Rasa Love and Charles Patton hone their acting chops during rehearsal for Brunswick Little Theatre's upcoming musical, 'I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.' Courtesy photo

Rasa Love and Charles Patton hone their acting chops during rehearsal for Brunswick Little Theatre’s upcoming musical, ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.’ Courtesy photo

What: ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’
When: Feb. 21-March 2
Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. • Sun., 3 p.m.
Where: Brunswick Center at Southport
1513 N. Howe St., Smithville Crossing
Cost: $12-17

There’s a reason there are so many love songs. Nearly every human being craves the fluttering butterfly feeling that comes with meeting a prospective fling. And the encompassing comfort of finding life’s greatest companion, one’s soul mate, is surely a goal for many. Love is not only celebrated in song but in scripts, from stage to TV to the silver screen. Of course, as many words that are expressed to praise love, there are probably double the amount which poke fun at its myriad idiosyncracies.

One such piece of satire is “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” a musical comedy with book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts. Premiering in 1996, the show is the second-longest running Off-Broadway musical of all time and since has been translated into over a dozen languages for worldwide performances.

Presented as a revue, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” features a series of songs following the traditional timeline of relationships. Brunswick Little Theatre will perform the show this month at The Brunswick Center at Southport, guided by experienced local director Sue MacCallum.

“This musical revue is a fast-paced, hilarious joy-ride through romantic relationships, from blind dates (“First date, new romance, different partner, same dance”), to meeting the parents, marriage, parenting, divorce, and in the autumn years, the charming, poignant discovery of new romance,” MacCallum points out. “Each sketch tells its story, and when combined with other scenes, forms a pastiche of irresistibly funny vignettes about the ‘yin’ and ‘yang’, successes and failures, and trials and tribulations of romantic coupledom in the journey of life.”

Having directed this same show a few years back, MacCallum came to auditions with a knack for recognizing who to cast. “I know to look for a number of qualities in an actor,” she explains, “among them suitability for specific roles, and in this particular revue, comic instinct and the flexibility to play multiple roles. I look for certain vocal and movement qualities and the ability to blend with the cast ensemble. I also look for a high level of energy and the ability to connect with the audience.”

MacCallum will be joined by actor Larry Bochiaro, who has starred in this show before and will also act as assistant director, and Barbara Berry, who served as music director in MacCallum’s previous run. She’s enjoying the challenge of directing six actors in multiple roles with multiple partners—as the cast will rotate throughout the vignettes. The actors also include Mark Bachara, Liz Cervantes, Rasa Love, Charles Patton and Sherrill Jolly.

A unique collaboration also will take place during the performance. “Musical revues lend themselves to minimalistic “cabaret” settings such as the one we are creating in The Brunswick Center at Southport,” the director begins. “There are no proscenium arches or hanging flats to ‘frame’ the show. Instead, scenic effects are designed by West Brunswick High School student artists under the direction of Kathy Peck, visual arts teacher. Students are creating digital images and graphic artwork to frame the stage.”

The capability to connect with an audience may be a requirement of the cast, but the script in itself possesses intensely relatable qualities. “It will resonate with adults of all ages as it pokes fun at romance and celebrates the indomitable spirit of love to forgive and make up,” MacCallum finishes. “We hope the production will provide a delightful, entertaining evening and audiences will take away the memory of the Act II finale:  “I keep comin’ back, ’cause love’s a delicious and vicious curse!”

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