The Engeman's I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE - Relationships 101
We've all been there with the ups and downs of relationships. I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change hilariously pokes fun at the good, the bad, and the ugly from dating to weddings to dealing with kids and in-laws and everything in between.
Now playing through August 19th at the stunning John W. Engeman Theatre of Northport, this musical is superbly directed by BT McNicholl. With the book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts, Mr. McNicholl replicated the long-running off-Broadway production that closed in 2008.
The fantastic cast of four included Kate Wetherhead, JoAnna Young, Howie Michael Smith, and Benjamin Eakeley. They went seamlessly from scene to scene playing various characters ranging from teenagers to people their own age to senior citizens.
This is an interesting piece as it is performed in a series of vignettes. Each scene is independent from one another (with a couple of exceptions), but have a running theme of love and relationships.
The company was hilarious in the scene entitled "And Now The Parents". Howie and Joanna's characters have just told their parents (Kate and Benjamin in old fashioned clothing and coke-bottle specs) they're breaking up. They go into the song "Hey There, Single Guy/Gal" where they ask them what they are going to do now that they've broken up. In other words, blaming both for the break-up. Typical parents.
Another favorite of the nearly sold out audience was the scene entitled “The Family That Drives Together”. This scene had Kate and Howie as parents and Benjamin and Joanna as teenage siblings. The family is headed off on a road trip and Kate is anally going over her “list” making sure she has and did everything while the “kids” are bickering in the back of the “car”. Poor Howie is overwhelmed and sings of his conflicts while Kate is yelling at him how to drive and the kids are distracting his driving.
Most adorable was the scene entitled “I’ll Call You Soon (Yeah, Right)” Kate is speaking to her mother on the phone telling her about a recent date and she doesn’t expect him to call. To her amazement, her date calls her. Howie and Ben are pizza delivery guys (single girl food) and Joanna pops in as Kate’s mother. The whole company sings “He Called Me” hilariously celebrating Kate’s call.
The set had to be somewhat minimal being it such a busy show and changing constantly. For a wedding scene, they built a small structure with a couple of steps and a platform at the top and had isle stands draped with white lace on either side. In another scene they had a dining room area. In the aforementioned "road trip" scene, they cleared the stage completely and used swivel chairs as the car. Kudos to scenic designer Jonathan Collins for truly making each scene their own.
A wonderful cast, hilarious stories, and the beautiful John W. Engeman Theatre make this a great theatre experience. You'll find yourself laughing at the dramatizations and relating to them at the same time.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is presented by the John W. Engeman Theatre of Northport, Long Island, running through August 19th. Book and Lyrics by Joe DiPietro, Music by Jimmy Roberts, Directed by BT McNicholl, Scenic Design by Jonathan Collins, Costume Design by Ryan Moller, Lighting Design by Joel Silver, Sound Design by Craig Kaufman, Hair and Make-up by Mark Adam Rampmeyer, Music Direction James Cunningham, Choreography by Antoinette DiPietropolo. For more information and to purchase tickets please call 631-261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.
Photo Credit: AnnMarie Snyder