Encore Michigan

Review: ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ at Tibbits

Review June 20, 2022 Julie Linderleaf

COLDWATER, MI–People of all ages, shapes, styles, and backgrounds have always been on the prowl for the perfect love match.  Everyone wants to be loved.  That’s why this musical from 1996 is still one of the longest running Off-Broadway productions showcasing the stereotypes of the dating lifecycle.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, with book and lyrics written by JoeDiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts is the first show back in Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater, Michigan for their 59th consecutive Summer TheatreSeason.

The show opens right from the very first love story: Adam and Eve…but Eve has some very modern and specific requests this time. Lighting designerJamie Gresens used colorful lighting pulses as Adam and Eve “negotiate” the terms of the very first relationship.

Because… Dating is so time consuming. In the beginning of relationships, people are always stuck on their own flaws and only want to show potential partners the “good” stuff. This musical definitely hits on all of the typical stereotypes that occur throughout the dating and relationship process. First dates, lying, insecurity, making the first move, break-up sex, communication, compromising, weddings, babies, married and family life, right up to death and the dating thereafter.

This musical is set up to cover all of the relationship ups and downs and ins and outs through all the individual songs. Each song is set up as an individual stage in dating. The show consists of only four actors, two men–Matthew C. Scott and Chad Tallon; and two women–Stephanie Burdick and Katelyn Crall. In each song and skit, they couple up in different scenarios as different characters.

Act one consists of the journey from first dates to marriage. Highlights include the funny story-line of an entire six month relationship played out all in the first date by Talon and Crall in “We had it all” and the dulcet harmony tones that Burdick and Crall perfectly blend their voices in “Single Man Drought.”
The second act is no longer about dating, but rather about the traditional stages of marriage and the obstacles that happen during that phase of relationships. Highlights include Matthew C. Scott’s soft and loving interpretation of “Shouldn’t I be less in love with you?” to show that love doesn’t always fade after years of marriage, and Chad Talon’s and Katelyn Crall’s interpretation showing two widowers and pick up lines at a funeral in “I can live with that.”

Stephanie Burdick does an incredible job creating interesting multiple characters as each song requires a different character. Burdick’s interpretations of all the varieties of characters she tackles in one show is very admirable.  Using a variety of accents, hairstyles, and costume changes created by Kate Koskinen, Burdick put her original spin on some stereotypical characters of new moms, old moms, and a nerdy woman.

Katelyn Crall blew “Always a bridesmaid” out of the water in Act 2. A song that could possibly be the premise for the movie, “27 dresses,” where the character has a closet full of dresses she will never wear again from friends’ weddings. Unlike the movie, this character is pleased that she is only a bridesmaid and doesn’t have to walk down the aisle herself. It’s Crall’s first season with Tibbits and she’s a great addition to the summer season casts.

This show completes its two-week run next week. Godspell spreads the love of Jesus’s parables June 30 -July 9. Then, Nunsense runs July 14 -23, ending with the love story classic by Neil Simon, Barefoot in the Park July 28 – August 6. Tibbits is also bringing back its popcorn theatre: youth-centered theatrical productions on Friday and Saturday mornings. Tickets are available at tibbits.org or call 517-278-6029. In a time when gas prices are through the roof, we might look at events as if they are “gas worthy.”  Tibbits is definitely is worth the drive!

Week of 7/4/2022

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