During its 5,000-plus performance run from 1996 to 2008, a reviewer called it, “Seinfeld set to music.”
As the second longest running off-Broadway show ever (after “The Fantasticks”), the relationship-skit musical, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” certainly earned its pedigree, spawning translation into 14 languages and breeding countless professional and amateur productions.
Now it’s back at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire (it was staged here in 1998) where an ensemble of four area-favorite performers—Kelly Anne Clark, Alex Goodrich, Johanna McKenzie Miller and Bernie Yvon—serve up theatrical gin and tonics in this summer happy hour.
“Love, Perfect, Change” is designed to tap into everything patrons have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit. And like all relationships, it includes touches of hope, sadness, thrill and humor. A full show synopsis and history may be found HERE.
Each member of the cast quartet has his or her shining moments. Clark’s comes in the poignant, “I Will Be Loved Tonight,” Goodrich’s with the touching, “Shouldn’t I Be Less in Love With You,” Miller’s in the hilarious and hysterically-costumed, “Always a Bridesmaid” and Yvon’s, as he portrays murder row inmate Kevin Trentell in “Scared Straight to the Altar.”
But it’s this ensemble’s affable chemistry that makes this minimalist production really sing. That’s particularly punctuated by Goodrich’s and Miller’s “Marriage Tango,” a nominee for the show’s ultimate highlight, along with Yvon and Miller’s penultimate scene, “Funerals are for Dating.”
It’s that “Seinfeld” reference, though, that’s liable to stick in patrons’ psyches the day after attending this show. Because just like taking in a rerun of that 1989-98 sitcom late night on TBS, there’s a sense when watching “Love, Perfect, Change” that it was written just a tad too recently to be done retro, but maybe just long enough ago to still be fully relevant.
To be fair, talented director/choreographer Matt Raftery attempted some updating with projected images and slight script tweaks. However, his bold directorial work in Marriott’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” for young audiences last year is what a “Love, Perfect, Change” for 2013 demands in order to achieve a greater sense of modern authenticity.
Still, while this production falls short of that, it’s cool enough to offer respite from the heat of a warm summer’s night—akin to an evening on the patio, contemplating life’s relationships, with a smile and a song.
Performances for “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” through August 11 at Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, are Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Ticket prices range from $40-48, plus tax and handling fees. Senior and student discounts and dinner-theater packages are available for some shows. Tickets may be purchased by phone or in person at the Marriott Theatre Box Office or online at Ticketmaster. Group tickets are available by calling the group sales department at 847-634-7030. Parking is free. More information is available here or by calling 847-634-0200.
Barry Reszel is a Libertyville-based writer, at-home dad and executive director of the not-for-profit entertainment company Liberty Town Productions.