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I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

- Backstage with the Playwrights

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change
At the
Westside Theatre
407 West 43rd Street

Book and Lyrics by Joe DiPietro
Music by Jimmy Roberts

Starring: Kevin Pariseau, Sandy Rustin,
Janet Metz, Colin Stokes

Musicians: Mat Eisenstein, Pianist, Patti Ditzel, Violinist

Directed by Joel Bishoff
Music Director: Mat Eisenstein
Vocal and Instrumental Arrangements: Jimmy Roberts
Scenic and Lighting Design: Neil Peter Jampolis
Costume Design: Pamela Scofield
Sound Design: Duncan Edwards
Casting: Stuart Howard & Amy Schecter, CSA
Associate Producer: Matt Garfield
General Manager: Nancy Nagel Gibbs
Production Stage Manager: William H. Lang
Press: Bill Evans & Associates

Producers: James Hammerstein, Bernie Kukoff, Jonathan Pollard

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 10, 2004

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change has been playing Off-Broadway for about eight years, when I first saw this production, in a slightly different form, and it’s as hilarious and emotionally nurturing as ever! First produced by The American Stage Company and presented at The Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, CT, in 1996, the themes are still as relevant and captivating as they were in the 90’s. To live music, with perfect timing and mood in a most captivating above-stage balcony, performed by Mat Eisenstein, on piano, and Patti Ditzel, on violin, Kevin Pariseau (subbing for Jordan Leeds), Sandy Rustin, Janet Metz, and Colin Stokes changed costumes, partners, and scenes in a series of perhaps 20 different vignettes about the joys and tribulations of single life, American style, 2004.

My guest and I were rolling with laughter, as each vignette swiftly unfolded with creative props, costumes, simple but adorable sets, and charismatic stage presence and songs, belted out or crooned with just the right mood and affect. Cantata for a First Date was sung by the cast in hooded, white bathrobes, as was the finale, the title song. A Stud and a Babe were Colin and Sandy, not so hip, seducing each other over an Italian dinner, blind date plus Chianti, and the “stud” in polyester was OK enough for the “babe” with baggage. Tear Jerk was sung in a movie theatre by Kevin and Janet, as Kevin finally succumbed to crying, during his date’s choice of romantic films, not his usual violent flick. I Will Be Loved Tonight allowed Sandy a special, sassy solo, as she contemplated sex with her current paramour.

Three brilliant and beguiling scenes were: a prisoner (Kevin) leading a singles match event, with tough talk for the cold-hearted participants; a Jacoby & Meyers lawyer (Janet) in bed with a couple (Sandy and Colin) having sex for the first time and suing whichever partner fails to satisfy the other; and two older singles (Kevin and Janet) meeting at a funeral parlor, during a wake of a stranger, and singing I Can Live with That, as they decide to forgo old hang-ups and rules to create a match. The very funny point was the notion of using funeral parlors as singles arenas. He Called Me, sung with gusto by Sandy, excites her in-type, Jewish mother (Janet) to no end, as Sandy receives a trophy for the call. Wedding Vows, shared by the cast, allow Sandy and Colin to marry, in spite of their angst and turmoil. Janet’s special solo, Always a Bridesmaid, was sung in a gaudy, deep pink taffeta gown, as she sorrowfully listed her rainbow gowns, hung in the closet, and her feelings of loneliness.

Kevin’s special solo, The Baby Song, was sung in baby talk, as he and Sandy waited for sounds from their new baby, while clutching a giant teddy bear, goo- gooing across the living room. On the other hand, Janet, in a feather boa and Victoria’s Secret bustier, and Colin, in leopard briefs, sang and danced Marriage Tango, as two exhausted young parents prepared for a night of marital bliss, while the kids cried that the lizard ate the guppies and similar, whiny complaints. The full cast created a sensational scenario of a family road trip, with the “macho” car wonk father (Kevin), the nagging wife (Sandy), and the fighting, dysfunctional kids (Colin and Janet). Office chairs on wheels were used as the car seats, and they all arrived in “good time”. Colin’s special solo, Shouldn’t I Be Less in Love With You, sung over the breakfast table to Sandy, as they shared a NY Times, was poignant, with a serious mood. Sandy had another long solo, as she filmed a singles video, pouring her heart out to the unknown single men in her dating service.

Kevin’s high point, I believe, was as a prisoner in a yellow bodysuit, leading singles in need. Janet’s high point, I believe, was as the lonely Bridesmaid. Colin’s high point, I believe, was as the confused husband at breakfast. And, Sandy’s high point, I believe, was as the girl watching and waiting by the phone for a “needy” guy. All four actors were in type, in sync, and in tune, as they sang and mugged in campy style throughout these delightful and delicious vignettes.

Kudos to Joe DiPietro, Jimmy Roberts, the cast (Kevin Pariseau, Sandy Rustin, Janet Metz, and Colin Stokes), and the musicians, Mat Eisenstein and Patti Ditzel. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change should run another eights years with such a dynamic team.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at