Sex and the married couple. Funerals are for dating. A stud and a babe. These are some of the hilarious scenes in the musical comedy, "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," which opens at the Community Theatre League, 100 W. Third St., Feb. 8.
One of the funniest musicals to come around in ages, it is the most produced show in America over the last decade and an audience favorite around the world.
The show is presented in the form of a series of vignettes connected by the central theme of love and relationships.
“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8, 9, 14 to 16 and 2 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Community Theatre League, 100 W. Third St. For more information, visit ctlshows.com.
It's "everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit." The scenes stand independent of the others, but progress in a fashion designed to suggest an overall arc to relationships throughout the course of one's life. A first date progresses through to finding Mr. and Miss Right, getting engaged, marriage, having children, growing older and starting anew.
Director Martena Rogers has assembled a cast of six to play more than 60 different characters. Originally staged with four actors, the script allows for flexibility in casting and the director wanted to capitalize on this.
"I think it's an advantage for the actors," Rogers said. "Instead of having 14 or 15 characters to prepare, it's only nine or 10 - still an incredible undertaking! For me, it's about being able to utilize the talents of all six actors, emphasizing more of their individual strengths and allowing them to play off of more partners."
CTL produced the show in 2003 and two actors from that cast are returning for a second round. Marisa Hickey and Jason Moyer agree that being two of six is less hectic and the decade since has impacted them as well.
"The last 10 years have given us more life experience and new insights into the characters," Hickey said.
Pete Ruhl, Sean Engemann, Tess Gist and Sharon Ippolito complete the cast and each brings their own life experience to the show.
Ruhl and Gist are the younger members of the group and share a touching moment in "The Lasagna Incident." After a rousing game of tennis - in which Gist shuts Ruhl out in both sets and jumps over the net, waving her arms in victory - she wonders why he's never made a pass at her. Feeling awkward and worried about making mistakes, he eventually finds his nerve and young love blooms. Ruhl, however, admits to having trouble keeping a straight face at times.
Engemann is a veteran to the CTL stage and now chooses his productions carefully, due to his two young children at home. A new father, Engemann knows the impact that babies have on the minds - and speech - of their parents, as he speaks the garbled language of babies in "The Baby Song."
Ippolito is excited to be back onstage after her debut performance as Miss Malloy in last summer's "Hello Dolly!" She said this experience has been amazing.
"The talent I have the privilege of working with really brings this vibrant and hilarious show to life," she quipped. "I love the challenge of being able to play so many different characters ... a big change from my experience as a single character in 'Hello Dolly!"
"I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" appeals to people of all generations, but there are some more adult-themed scenes and, if it were a movie, would likely be rated PG-13.
Showdates are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8, 9, 14 to 16, and at 2 p.m. Feb. 17. It's a perfect way to spend the Valentine's Day weekend with your sweetheart. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students and are available at ctlshows.com or by calling 327-1777 weekdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.