Ever worried about a blind date?
Ever felt uncertainty in a relationship?
Ever broken up?
All are issues highlighted in a musical comedy presented by Peninsula Players in Ilwaco, Washington, this month.
“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” opens Friday, March 9, and runs three weekends through Sunday, March 25, at the River City Playhouse. Tickets are on sale at Long Beach Peninsula locations, or reservations may be made by phone.
The show is presented as a series of musical vignettes about love and relationships. Scenes show characters reflecting on being single, facing a first date, meeting the parents, marriage, pregnancy, parenting and breaking up.
Director Rita Smith said it is intended for adult audiences. The show was off-Broadway’s second longest-running show and has played in London and around the world, where it’s been translated into 17 languages, including Mandarin, Catalan and Turkish.
“A friend saw it and said it was hilarious,” Smith said. “It’s definitely adult humor — it’s hysterical. There’s a lot of truisms in it, even though it is played over the top.”
In New York and elsewhere, the show has been staged with as few as four performers. Smith has chosen a larger group; all portray several characters. Actors include Smith, Robert Scherrer, Missy Bageant, Bryan Foster, Bob Goldberg, Melissa Goldberg, David Immel, Bette Lu Krause, Rachel Lake, Kevin Perry, Rose Power, Diana Thompson and Matthew Warner.
“There are times when we are just laughing our way through rehearsals,” Smith said. “It’s just a fun, fun show. There’s a couple of songs that are more tenderhearted and very true. The idea is, you meet someone, you fall in love with them and then you would like to change something.”
Songs include “Cantata for a First Date,” “Men Who Talk and the Women Who Pretend They’re Listening” and “Shouldn’t I Be Less In Love With You?”
Power said the play will resonate with older people re-entering the dating scene. “It’s funny, but it’s also poignant,” she said. “A lot of people will relate to it.”
Scherrer agreed. He said the writers have nailed exactly what people in relationships worry about. “I found myself laughing just thinking about how many times that these trials and tribulations appear in everyday life, whether to myself or people who I have observed,” he said.
“My scenes include a couple attending a movie, when he has let her decide which ‘flick’ to see, with instant regrets. But it turns out he falls apart, even though insisting he can’t in front of her. It is quite hilarious.
“I also play a dad, along with his wife, and they think their son is about to tell them he is getting married — but actually he is informing us they are breaking up.”
Bob Goldberg played the lead role in Peninsula Players’ “Twelve Angry Jurors” last year, but this is his first time singing with the group.
“There are some great characters in this musical,” he said. “I play a prisoner helping a dating service by scaring a couple into getting married, a goo-goo-eyed new daddy whose life revolves around his kid and equally sappy wife, and a self-absorbed single man who never stops talking on a date in three of the musical’s 20-or-so vignettes about relationships.
“I think most of us have been in several of the situations shown — whether it’s an awkward first date, the search for a new partner, an evolving marriage or relationship, or the joy of a new child — and will laugh, sigh, cry or scream in empathy with the characters on stage,” Goldberg said.
“Add really funny, touching, catchy songs to some hilarious situations involving relationships, and you get a musical that’s a lot of fun to play in, and one I think that our audiences will love.”