If you holed up in hibernation through the Arctic Freeze that was Valentine's Day, and the slightly rising temperatures have you thinking about spring romance, you're in luck. CATCO'S "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" is just the perfect date-night fare to wake up your romantic side. The musical comedy by Joe DiPetro and Jimmy Roberts enjoyed its 90's reputation as the 2nd longest running Off-Broadway musical due to its self-billed tagline, "Everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit." And I have to admit, regardless of your current relationship status, there is something in this show that will have you laughing out loud at its all too uncanny familiarity.

The set, which looks too similar to CATCO's previous show, "Forbidden Broadway", (minus the marquee) down to on-stage piano man and Music Director, Matt Clemens, is simple and largely bare to make the split-second transitions of two sets of men and women as they explore relationships from a first date, to marriage, to kids, to widowhood, and everything in between. Costumes by Marcia Hain are similarly themed- universal and everyday- looking much like what anyone might pull from their own closet on their own next date night. Not only do these elements work well for the lightning fast scene changes, but they allow for an even greater degree of relatability.

The four characters (titled simply Man #1/2 and Woman #1/#2) are interchangeable in their on stage "relationships" with either being representative of the general population of their sex at any given time. Director Joe Bishara clearly understands that to pull off that level of versatility in a 4 person show, you have to have an incredibly talented 4 person cast, and his choices here are superb. All four performers (Jeff Horst, Kevin Carty, Eli Brickey, and Krista Lively Stauffer) shine throughout the quick-paced show in a full range of characters. Stauffer has a lovely voice and a brilliant wit and sarcasm, with her best turn being a ruffle-clad "Always A Bridesmaid", while her partner for the evening, Kevin Carty is especially brilliant as a prisoner-turned-matchmaker in "Scared Straight". Jeff Horst, whose great voice is matched by a comedic ability reminiscent of Jim Carrey's exuberance and range, is delightfully funny as a baby-talking parent in "The Baby Song". He then delivers one of the softer, sweeter numbers alongside Stauffer in "I Can Live With That", playing elderly widowers looking for a 2nd chance at love. Rounding out the cast is an angelic voiced Eli Brickey who heartwarmingly portrays a recent divorcee in "The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz" with refreshing candor.

The show is lively, at times, saucy, and definitely contains some adult content, but in such a fun, light-hearted manner that it is way more real than raunchy. While the intermission is largely unnecessary, it does serve as a "divider" between the more youthful first half of the show dealing with first dates, lovers, and romance, and the more mature themes of marriage, children, and loss in the second act. Either way, "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" has something for you wherever your relationship status currently falls. Bring your girlfriend, your partner, your spouse, or even your BFF who pulls you through every relationship flat tire, and come chuckle at the joyful mess of that crazy little thing called love. Spring is in the air, and before you know it, you're bound to be looking someone in the eyes and sighing, 'I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change."

CATCO's "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" runs now through March 30, in Studio One at The Riffe Center theater, with shows on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. For tickets and additional information, go to:

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Generation

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From This Author Lisa Norris

Lisa grew up participating in community theater groups such as Cincinnati Young People's Theater (CYPT) in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio, both in front of and behind (read more...)


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