This musical comedy is the second longest Off-Broadway musical in history after “The Fantasticks.” “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” played for 12 years before closing in 2008. “Act II Playhouse has brought it to its intimate theater in Ambler after a delayed opening last week and I can see why the show was so successful. It is smart, it is well written, and it is very funny. And the cast performing it at Act II is outstanding.
What is love? What makes for a good relationship? How long do you wait before jumping into bed? Why do so many fail after good beginnings? Why do some relationships never get off the ground? What remains unsaid? How does family effect love? What is passion? In two hours of watching a few dozen relationship ignite and sputter, the audience is entertained with short dialogues, asides, and songs that keep it laughing. There are no answers, just the questions lovers, potential lovers, and past lovers face every day.
In the two act, two hour play, four actors play a myriad of characters with simple but effective changing of costumes and makeup. The four are brilliant in their portrayals that begin with a first date. In another, a couple is telling the parents they are breaking up just as the parents are expecting to hear that the kids might be getting married. One of my favorites was a car ride with the kids as choreographer Dann Dunn staged the family in four chairs and moved them all over the stage in a crazy but uproarious fashion.
There are all the questions one asks in a relationship that make no sense to one or the other partner. Why is she shopping all the time? Why is he so engrossed in the football game that he doesn’t notice me? Joe DiPietro, who wrote the book and the song lyrics, deals with all the stereotypes as well as the real-life situations with humor but he also deals with the challenges of establishing and maintaining a loving relationship.
This play, which was updated to include modern technology as well as contemporary issues, has seen productions all around the world in many different languages. But I can’t imagine it having a better cast than the one at Act II. Under Mary Carpenter’s seamless direction, Jennifer Babiak, Michael Indeglio, Liam Snead, and Lauryn Morgan Thomas create so many different characters so effectively that at times, we think it’s a larger cast. There are so many wonderful moments, it feels like this ensemble has been doing the play for years, as their timing is so perfect.
“I Love You, Your Perfect, Now Change” is a play that will continue to find large audiences around the country and around the world. It was a treat to see it here at Act II.
“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” by Joe DiPietro. Thru June 5, 2022. Act II Playhouse, 56 E. Butler Ave., Ambler, PA 19002. act2.org 215-654-0200