A brief run at Rockford Colleges Maddox Theatre makes this production a must-see for this weekend. Since Aint Misbehavin, the musical based on a series of vignettes with a small cast, has met with great success on Broadway and throughout the country, I Love You, Youre Perfect, Now Change meets this criteria perfectly.
Richard Raethers cast, professional and exceptionally talented, perform every number superbly. Erin Dickerson, Peter Robel, Jennifer Loftus and Erik Uppling begin the evening with Cantata for a First Date. Their costumes, monk-like robes, give no hint of what is to come, but a quick change readies them for the complications of dating. Robel and Dickersons A Stud and a Babe display the anxieties of the insecure desperately trying to become sex symbols. Roebel and Uppling join in Why? Because Im a Guy proclaiming their masculinity.
Set in a variety of venues, we see that romance can occur anyplace. Uppling and Loftus are seated viewing a chick film. Narrating the plot, Loftus reveals just how women relate to a Tear Jerk. Upplings complete breakdown is hilarious. His ability to perform comedy takes the whole show to a new level. Dickersons sensitive rendition of I Will Be Loved Tonight is a moment of quiet in a sometimes raucous production. Act I concludes with The Wedding Vows, and we know that the difficulties of marriage loom.
Always a Bridesmaid displays Loftus as the frustrated maid of honor, and we see Jan Bacinos ability to costume effectively. Bacino said, I wanted to create the look of a lamp shade. The outrageously ornate and colorful dress did just that. The multiple costume changes would challenge any designer, and Bacino meets that challenge. Noel Rennerfeldts art-deco background provides the needed changes for such a variety of sets. A few tables, a couch, a bed often were all that was needed to show us the scene.
Babies arrive, marriages dissolve, and couples age. Some romances last forever. Others fade and end. It is often the stress of everyday life that causes that last straw. Waiting Trio… waiting for the shopper, the occupied restroom, and the spouse who does everything on his/her time.
Tim Andersons musical direction gives the entire production a flawless continuity and an evening of exquisite music. The cast have wonderful voices, and Anderson brings out their talent in every way. He plays the score, and Rachel Handlin on violin is a subtle addition. Accompanying a singer can be tricky. Andersons expertise makes I Love You, Youre Perfect… equal any Broadway show.
Artists Ensemble could not have a better season opening. As it is only running Friday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16 at 4 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 17 at 2 p.m., you need to call 226-4100 for tickets.
From the Sept. 13-19, 2006, issue