The title of Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts' record-setting off-Broadway musical says it all: the giddiness of falling in love with the absolutely perfect person, then doing everything possible to make that person change, as in I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.
The lighthearted musical opens Thursday and continues through Sept. 15 as a "summer special" with lower prices and an abbreviated buffet at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre.
The 1996 show starts with the creation of man and woman, then skips to mid 1990s Manhattan and on to suburbia to show how it all worked out. Told in 20 short vignettes with 19 songs, Love/Perfect/Change isn't a single story, but a series of stories showing the many sides of the man-woman relationship. The four actors play more than three dozen characters, from shy young lovers, to judgmental parents, to senior citizens finding love (and accepting reality) at the funeral of a mutual friend.
It's an amiable, easygoing musical that doesn't break new ground, but shows truths so universal that it's been translated into 14 languages — including Chinese — and has connected with audiences on nearly every continent.
There's the ubiquitous female lament that there aren't enough good single men in Single Man Drought; men who complain about chick flicks, then cry along with their dates in Tear Jerk; annoying car passengers full of driving advice (a pal calls them "nagavators") in On the Highway of Love; and new parents celebrating when they finally get a moment for sex, in The Baby Song that segues into Marriage Tango.
And there's the young woman exulting that even though her date might be a one-time thing, at least I Will Be Loved Tonight and another excited simply that He Called Me.
Playing the female roles are Amanda Downey, an experienced actor making her Show Palace debut; and Georgia Guy, who was in the ensemble of 9 to 5 at the Show Palace and has performed at Stageworks, Freefall, Banyan and American Stage theaters.
Playing the male roles are Equity actor Lucas Alifano, making his Show Palace debut after performing opposite Joan Rivers in The Joan Rivers Theater Project, playing with several Shakespeare companies, and appearing in several television series and movies, as well as feature films; and Robby May, who was Uncle Max in The Sound of Music at the Show Palace, and recently wound up a stint as the lead in The Producers at the Cumberland Theatre in Maryland.
Making her directing debut at the Show Palace is Nicole Dominguez, who has been both on stage and behind the scenes in Los Angeles theaters and for television and movies. Music director Mark Anthony Jelks (principal dancer with the Scottish Ballet; Lary Award for Oliver! at Francis Wilson Playhouse in Clearwater) will be joined by violinist Virginia Lamboley to provide live music for the show. Lamboley has performed with several symphony orchestras and was principal violinist with the Abilene Opera Orchestra and others.
Love/Perfect/Change was the second longest-running off-Broadway musical in history (only The Fantasticks was longer), playing more than 5,000 times from 1996 through 2008. It played the Jaeb Theatre at Tampa's Straz Center in May 2006 and again in June and July of 2010 and has played in more than 500 cities around the world.