I’ve seen the Tom Jones-Harvey Schmidt musical I Do! I Do! several times, with very different actors essaying the main roles, and I’ve always enjoyed it, not only for its entertainment value but for the underlying truths about marriage it contains.
That’s still the case with the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre’s production of this two-member cast show, starring real-life fiancés Craig Weiskerger and Heather Kopp as a couple (Michael and Agnes) whose marital journey begins with a mixture of anxiety, hope and naivete on their wedding day. In the early charming scenes of the show (based on Jan de Hartog’s play The Fourposter), everything is pretty bright and rosy. And we sometimes feel, or think we do, the real affection this offstage couple has for one another in teasing little moments of intimacy.
Heather Kopp and Craig Weiskerger in the Golden Apple's I Do! I Do!
But of course marriage is a marathon, not a sprint, and along the way Michael and Agnes deal with the joys and struggles of raising children, face outside distractions in the form of a younger woman, and, eventually, see their own offspring grow up and get married. It’s a simple story, simply staged by director Roberta MacDonald with that central fourposter bed and a multitude of props, but it remains effective 45 years after its Broadway debut.
Although Weiskerger and Kopp are younger than the actors I’ve usually seen portray Michael and Agnes, they do creditable jobs of aging over a 50-year period, with a change in hairstyle or costume aiding them, and perhaps a shift in vocal timbre (Weiskerger’s gets lower in the second act). They’re believable in both the funny and more somber moments of the show. Weiskerger’s Michael seems to have enough sweetness at the bottom to make his occasional obtuseness or pomposity amusing and not obnoxious; Kopp wins over the audience, especially with one of my favorite numbers from I Do! I Do!, Flaming Agnes, as the formerly submissive homemaker/helpmate decides to let it all hang out.
The most familiar song of the show is My Cup Runneth Over, but it’s nice to hear again some of the other Schmidt-Jones tunes, like the upbeat When the Kids Get Married, the touching What Is a Woman? and the finale, This House. I Do! I Do! continues through Feb. 13 at the Golden Apple; for tickets call 366-5454 or go to thegoldenapple.com.