BWW Reviews: MJR Theatricals | Music Box Musicals' I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE is Mirthful Musical Candy
When it comes to gleeful theatrical candy, it doesn't get much better than Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts' I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE. This audience favorite opened Off-Broadway in 1996, ran for 5,003 performances, closed on July 27, 2008, and still holds the title of the second-longest running Off-Broadway musical. I remember seeing the Houston Premiere at Stages Repertory Theatre in 1999, which was brought back by popular demand in 2004, and the current production by MJR Theatricals | Music Box Musicals delivers everything audiences are looking for and more with this delightful romantic revue.
For those unfamiliar with the show, I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE is more of a cabaret concert than plot driven show. The musical's four actors switch characters for almost every number or scene, playing different people at different stages in their romantic lives. However, the way the scenes and songs are organized, they follow the trajectory of relationships, giving audiences a cohesive picture of dating, marriage, and child rearing.
Helming MJR Theatricals | Music Box Musicals' production of the confection is Jimmy Phillips as Director and Choreographer. He masterfully utilizes the intimate venue to draw the audience into the show, keeping us wholly entertained for the entirety of the performance. His dance movements sparkle with a cute zeal, and pair well with the jovial numbers. Under his reigns the cast leaves us rolling in the aisles during every funny moment, and he capably stirs our emotions with the more sentimental and the heartbreaking vignettes too.
The show is perfectly performed by Brad Goertz, Beth Lazarou, Danica Johnston, and Stephen Myers. Each member of the cast uses their skilled vocal instrument and amusing acting chops to deftly amuse the audience. The show becomes all the more enticing because we can tell that they are having just as much fun performing the piece as we are having watching it. Furthermore, as a quartet, the group blends together well, making all the harmonies and vocal chording simply gorgeous. Individually, they are powerhouses that the audience can't help but love. Standout moments include Beth Lazarou and Brad Goertz's "A Stud and a Babe," Brad Goertz and Stephen Myers' "Why? 'Cause I'm a Guy," Danica Johnston's "Always a Bridesmaid," Brad Goertz's "Shouldn't I Be Less In Love With You?," Beth Lazarou's "The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz," and the company's "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (Finale)."
Set Design by Mark X Laskowski reminded me of MTV's hit 90's Dating Show, Singled Out. His colorful backdrop and giant, sparkling heart in the middle of the design perfectly sets the tone and mood for this revue. It's lighthearted and fun just like the performances are.
Pat Padilla's Costume Design is whimsical and full of comedy as well. Each outfit pairs well with the scene and song it is used for. My favorite is Danica Johnston's purple get-up and wig for "He Called Me."
If you're in the mood for something frivolous and fun, or if you're looking for the perfect show for a date, it simply doesn't get any better than MJR Theatricals | Music Box Musicals' mirthful production of I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE! There are still plenty of chances to catch this rib-tickling send-up of romantic life; however, tickets are going fast. Several performances sold out during the opening weekend and more sell outs are anticipated.
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes with one intermission.
I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE runs at The Music Box Theater, 2623 Colquitt Street, Houston, 77098 now through May 3, 2014. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. For tickets and more information, please visit http://www.musicboxmusicals.com or call (713) 522-7722.
Photo courtesy of MJR Theatricals | Music Box Musicals.