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BWW Interviews: Chatting Dating Rules, Mr. Wrongs, Musicals and More with Elena Juatco

Angelwalk Productions is giving the modern musical I Love You Because its Canadian Premiere this Friday at The Toronto Centre for the Arts’ Studio Theatre.  Inspired by Pride and Prejudice, I Love You Because takes the classic tale and sets it in modern day NYC.  Touted as a ‘classic romantic comedy’ the show explores the intimate relationships between friends and siblings as they learn to love each other not in spite of their faults, but rather, because of them.

One of the New York lovers is Elena Juatco, returning to the Toronto stage for the first time since her Dora Award nominated portrayal of Snow White in Ross Petty’s Snow White and the Group of Seven.  Elena took some time to talk with BWW about her role in the show, dating disasters, why she doesn’t kiss and tell and Jay Davis’s nude scene!

Congratulations on I Love You Because! How are rehearsals going so far?

Wonderfully! We just moved into the theatre space a few days ago which really boosted my excitement level. The set is BEAUTIFUL (thank you Scott Penner!) and the space is just perfect for our show. Lily Ling put together an incredible band and the music sounds fantastic. I feel incredibly blessed to be working with such talented people. We are all so excited!

You’re working with both Jeff Madden and Gabi Epstein who just finished a production together last month.  Is there a natural chemistry or comfort level between them as performers that you’ve observed? Does that help the chemistry of the group?

I just loved Jeff and Gabi in "Dani Girl" and was so excited to get to work with the both of them on this show. They actually closed "Dani Girl" the day before we began rehearsals for "I Love You Because", so they definitely brought a wonderful energy to the rehearsal hall on Day One!  Honestly, the group chemistry started to sizzle right from the beginning and it's just been a blast ever since.

This production deals very intensely with relationship issues and matters of the heart – do you see it as an optimistic piece or more of a cautionary tale?

I don't think ANY love story can be truthfully told as a cautionary tale. No matter how relationships end or evolve, loving is an essential part of being human which is why we love to sing and write stories about it. But in terms of this show specifically, I'm sure everyone will be very happy with how the story ends.

One of the songs focuses on ‘dating rules’ and how perhaps as women we can find Mr. Right by dating Mr. Wrong.  Do you agree with this?

Dating in general is confusing. Am I right?! Maybe it's just me, but "dating rules" don't provide me with an ounce of clarity, and yet people so readily adhere to them and call it common sense. I find it hilarious. Dating a Mr. Wrong would be a challenge for me. To be honest, I don't know how long I'd be able to put up with it, so I guess I have to give my character, Marcy, some credit!

Speaking of Mr. Wrongs – do you have a dating horror story you could share?

Several. But none that I can share here ... Juatco doesn't kiss and tell!

Do you have any personal dating rules?

Don't date someone that is already in a relationship. (DUH!!!) I don't know how people don't get this one. That and always wear a clean pair of underwear.

For those who aren’t familiar with this piece at all, what style of music would you say it’s similar to? Is there a particular composer or existing Broadway show that it mirrors?

The show is in the contemporary musical theatre genre. It's a wonderful balance between quirky, comedic musical theatre songs, tender love songs, and gut-wrenching pop ballads (my favourite!). There have been some comparisons to songs by Stephen Schwartz and Jason Robert Brown. The writers, Joshua Salzman and Ryan Cunningham, do such an incredible job of telling the story through clever and catchy music. A couple of the songs in there are actually some of my favourites that I've ever sung.

Finally, what would you say to encourage our younger audience to come out and see the production?

Oh, I promise a really good time! This is the show's Canadian Premiere from its original Off-Broadway run, and I'm sure it will soon be a show everyone is familiar with and will want to do everywhere. Oh ... and Jay Davis takes his clothes off.

When and Where?

Angelwalk Theatre presents I Love You Because

The Toronto Centre for the Arts Studio Theatre

Performance Schedule

March 28th – April 15th 2012

Tickets range from $35-$45 with special priced tickets of $25 for those under 30.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the box office and online at

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