Footlight Players' delightful "I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change" might be the perfect first-date musical


Featuring a talented cast of characters

You know, we just might be able to start normalizing theater as an acceptable first date. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, for example, could serve as a perfect little icebreaker for two people trying to get to know each other. What do they relate to? What experiences have they already had? What are they laughing a little too hard at, or not getting at all? Do they hate musicals?

These are all questions that could help you decide if you’re getting to that second date.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is a mouthful of a title and the current show in Footlight Players’ season, running until Sun. Feb. 16. It is a musical collection of songs and vignettes that paint a varied picture of love and relationships, from jittery first date nerves to navigating companionship in old age.

It’s no surprise the show, which ran off Broadway 1996-2008, has lasted so long. It has heart, charm, is comfortably broad in its comedy, and frequently (for better and worse) mines classic relationship tropes for easy laughs.

The quality of the performances is high across the board, and elevates even the weakest segments of the script. Nathan Soutar (also pulling director duty), Madelyn Knight, Lee Lewis, Madison Moss, Michael Okas, and Rebecca Weatherby make up the ensemble and play every single role in the show, swapping costumes and really impressive wigs (skillfully designed by Kristen Bushey) to embody completely new characters better than some SNL alums.

Not one scene is phoned in, which is a remarkable feat considering the task at hand and the over-two-hour runtime. If I have to pick a standout, it might be Rebecca Weatherby. She and Michael Okas are dynamite in a hilarious and touching scene between two tennis players making a date.

And Weatherby absolutely crushes musical theater standbys “I Will Be Loved Tonight” and “Always a Bridesmaid.” Musical direction by Leah Megli is tight and never overpowering, letting the talented voices of the entire ensemble take center stage.

Even when the gender and sexual politics of the show aren’t up to date with modern thinking (despite getting a script update in 2018), the sketch comedy formatting means you’ll be rushed along to the next couple, the next phase, and the next joke before you have time to sour on the proceedings.

The trade-off is you may run the risk of long stretches between bits that truly resonate for you. There are real laughs to be had here, like the fantastic commercial for lawyers who guarantee satisfaction in bed or the old couple meeting cute at a wake.

But there are also some super cringe-worthy scenes, like the lament of a man forced to watch a movie not about explosions (original) or another who has to suffer through a trip to the mall (super original!). There’s something for everyone to like in here, but it might take some wading through.

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