It’s been a while since a local theater has presented the musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, and it’s good to see that for the most part the show hasn’t lost its appeal.
The theater that presented it almost 10 years ago—Florida Studio Theatre—is the theater presenting it again. There are a few updates in terms of electronic gadgetry here, perhaps, but otherwise the dialogue and lyrics of Joe DiPietro (to the music of Jimmy Roberts) still ring true on the issues of relationships, from that often traumatic first date through the wedding day, having kids and growing old together—or apart.
Not that I Love You offers a perfectly linear story; we don’t follow just one couple here through the changes life presents, but a variety of duos at various stages in mostly short scenes (often given titles that project above the band deep into the stage). We see people nervous about meeting each other and afraid of getting hurt, but nevertheless unable to give up on the hope of finding true love.
Stacey Schotte, Randy Glass, Gil Brady and Stacey Harris In FST's I Love You.
The songs vary from comic, as with A Stud and a Babe, as a nerdy couple connects, to more dramatic (the hopeful I Will Be Loved Tonight) to a mixture of the two (Tear Jerk, as a guy finds his tender side while watching a chick flick with his date). The cast, directed by Kate Alexander, is high-energy and adept at switching swiftly from one character or mood to another, and the show moves along with dash, too.
Some of the situations here may be predictable—parents trying to pressure their son and his girlfriend into marriage (Hey There, Single Gal/Guy) or a bit too much like comedy improv (Satisfaction Guaranteed, in which a pair of lawyers intervene in a couple’s sex lives). But others, even though familiar (a family on a disastrous road trip, a pair of new parents obsessed with their baby) are definitely still entertaining. And each member of the cast gets to shine on solo moments as well as in duets or ensemble numbers: I’ll single out here Randy Glass on the touching Shouldn’t I Be Less in Love with You?, Stacey Harris on the country-twanged Always a Bridesmaid and The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz, Stacey Schotte on the aforementioned I Will Be Loved Tonight and Gil Brady on I Can Live with That, as a widower seeking a new partner at a funeral.
It all adds up to a pleasurable package that’s easily relatable to. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change continues through Jan. 8 on FST’s mainstage. For tickets call 366-9000 or visit floridastudiotheatre.org.