Cast Size: No Chorus • Small (1-10). Vocal Demands: Easy • Moderate. Dance Requirements: Some Dancing Required • Minimal. Good For: College/University • Amateur/Community • Professional Theatre.
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In a theatrical age of mammoth spectacles and brooding musical dramas, I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE is a rollicking throwback to a nearly extinct theatrical genre: the musical comedy revue. With book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts, I LOVE YOU... reinvigorates the revue by taking a hilarious and tuneful joyride through the dizzying spectrum of modern male-female relationships.
In 1995, I LOVE YOU... premiered at New Jersey's American Stage Company, where, in the middle of one early performance, a woman in the audience couldn't help but blurt out, "This is my life!" From that moment on, the creators knew they were on to something. The following season, I LOVE YOU...moved to New Haven's Long Wharf Theater, and then on August 1st, 1996, I LOVE YOU... opened off-Broadway at The Westside Theater, where it was hailed as "Entirely winning! A show for real people about real people." (Gannett Newspapers).
I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE has been playing for over 4,000 performances and 10 years since it opened in 1996 to become the second longest running show and longest running revue in Off-Broadway history. The musical has been showcased in more than 250 cities world-wide including London, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, Sydney, Seoul, Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg. In addition to its enormous success, the Off-Broadway production has been the site of 50 marriage proposals.
- From the liner notes of I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE
Carbonell Awards (South Florida)January 01, 1999 — 3 Awards including Best Production of a Musical
Vocal Range of Characters:
Written By: Joe DiPietro
A Few Words on the Playing Style –
Whenever I tell people I wrote a new play, the first question always is, “Well, what’s it about?” With I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE, my answer is simple – “People trying to connect.” During the initial productions of the piece, the creative team never lost sight of this dictum. As irreverent and satirical as much of the humor is, we always felt what made the show such success was the underlying sense of compassion we had for every character. “A Stud and a Babe” is probably the broadest bit in the show, but at the core of the situation are two lonely people who desperately want to attract one another. The difference between playing these characters merely as two losers (and not as two people who happen to be losers) is the difference between a comic scene that's merely fun to watch and one that most of us can also relate to on some level. As a matter of fact, nothing in the play was written to be performed as straight satire – it's all intended to be played for the truth of the situation. If “Always a Bridesmaid,” for example, is performed as a send-up of country music, its effect is rather minimal. But if it’s sung as a woman’s lament that happens to be in the form of a country-western song, the truth (and humor) of the situation will emerge. Now don’t get me wrong. The play is first and foremost a musical comedy. Make it as funny as you possibly can. Just don’t forget to make it human too.
Composer Jimmy Roberts's Off-Broadway Closing Night Speech
The Westside Theatre, New York, NY
July 27, 2008
It was always an unlikely show, an unlikely addition to the hip New York musical theater scene: the overly-long title, its seeming reliance on truisms about dating and marriage, its focus on boring heterosexuals. But some saw more in it: a universality that quickly establishes a sweet relationship between the audience and the material—wherein they are tickled at times, touched at other times—and always recognize themselves, to their own laughter and delight.
One of those far-seeing oracles was James Vagias, then the artistic director of the American Stage Company in Teaneck, NJ, who gave us our first production in 1995. Then, out of nowhere, the prestigious and edgy Long Wharf Theatre, in New Haven, CT, expressed some interest. I once quipped, and it may not be far from the truth, that a Long Wharf board member traveled down to Jersey to see the show and reported back that it was “extremely entertaining”—and then I somehow imagined the entire Long Wharf board convening and deciding “Well, let's do it anyway!”
It was really a boon when we snagged the lovely Westside Theatre, I mean the much sought-after upstairs Westside Theatre, to finally make our New York debut in 1996. But, back to the “unlikely” theme, the slot they gave us was for the shank of the summer; hot, muggy August, when everyone, including the press, is away—traditionally the worst time to bring in a new show. In fact, I was told that the theater management said, “We'll let 'em run through the Jewish Holidays, then that'll be it!” (That's how business is negotiated in New York City!)
Well, that was the Rosh Hashanah of 5756—now it is 5768, so I guess we definitely ran through the Jewish Holidays. Many of them.
12 Years; 5,001 performances; there are plenty of numbers to joyfully cite:
Over 55 marriage proposals, from audience members, on this very stage—because the public sensed that this was a show that was NOT entirely cynical about the possibility of people connecting with other people.
And then there's the number 11. In the scene, A Stud and a Babe, as you all observed this afternoon, the “babe” in a desperate conversational gambit, offers up the unusual fact that her brother has 11 toes. Well, it turns out that a regional production of our show boasted a male understudy who…yes….actually had 11 toes—which he proudly displayed, upon request, to our director, Joel Bishoff!
But, when I go deeper, I know it's not at all about the numbers; it's not about the 12 years, or any other statistics—it's about the people. And in particular, the people who day in/day out accomplished those 5,001 performances. I include of course those backstage, as well as that tempestuous and talented musical couple on the balcony who squabble every night during our entr'acte and cadenza—but how about those four actors, who play—what is it?—60 different characters?
Which leads me to thoughts of our much-appreciated Joel Bishoff, who never stopped caring about the upkeep and quality control of our show. Even after moving to California, he made it a point to fly in whenever necessary to give each new cast member (almost without exception) the benefit of his inspiration and guidance. Joel reminded me recently of the particular requirements for an actor in ”I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.” In addition to acting and singing, and acting WHILE singing—we always seek a real “mensch” —and I mean in all four roles, male and female. We search for someone deeply human, and sensitive—not to mention funny and attractive—four vulnerable, genuine performers whom the audience would want to spend two hours with, up close. That's certainly what we have now, with Anne Bobby, Christy Faber, Jonathan Rayson, and Frank Vlastnik—and that's what we've always had. Trust me, if any of you were sitting in with me at our auditions through the years—you'd have known as quickly and clearly as we did, just who the real deals were, and who we HAD to hire. Why did they stand out? Why did they have that extra sparkle? Because in addition to possessing manifold dramatic and musical skills, they were willing and eager to bare and share their truths with a roomful of strangers.
And for me (and I'll close with this thought), my special relationship was a professional one, with the guy whose witty and sometimes piercing observations about ordinary people are what nourish this enterprise. To the public, it's a 12-year run, but for me, that means it's been 18 years of knowing Joe DiPietro.
Tom Jones, bookwriter and lyricist for THE FANTASTICS (the only Off-Broadway musical that has us beat), in his book, Making Musicals, talks about finding the right collaborator. He refines it down to this:
“Find someone whose taste in shows is similar to yours. Not taste in art, not taste in clothes, not in lifestyle. But in actual theater experiences. If you consistently find that you are excited, or bored, by the same shows, it is a good sign.”
That description fits Joe and me to a “T.” We do tend to appreciate the same shows—however our many contrasts and differences also burnish our collaboration. He's stronger in areas where I'm weaker, and, I like to think, vice-versa. In addition, Joe tends to be firm and decisive—and I…um…um… am not!
We're all extremely proud of Joe for what he has already accomplished beyond I Love You… and for the great places we know his drive and talent will take him.
But not without the help of those risk-takers, those dreamers, those…producers, who were kind enough to offer an unsurpassable combination: money and artistic freedom! I'm talking of the wise and beloved James Hammerstein—and then the equally essential Jon Pollard, Bernie Kukoff and Dena Hammerstein—all of whom have continued to risk and dream in many subsequent distinguished productions.
It is sad to close—to end—it can't be denied. Especially in theater, because what the actors do is so evanescent. Whether it's one week, or twelve years, it completely disappears every night.
And now we, too, disappear from New York —but there's no time for despair! Yesterday I heard from a small theater in Pacific Palisades, CA where I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE was the best-attended and most financially-lucrative production in their history; we just got word that it opens in April 2009 in Sydney, Australia; a friend recently sent a postcard advertising our show in Whitefish, Montana, and on the back he wrote: “I just can't escape you, can I?”
No—you will not escape us that easily. We just keep comin' back. Our studs and babes and Rose Ritzes and Arthurs and Muriels will always be there, ready to share their sorrows and joys with anyone who will listen.
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- Rehearsal Set (13 Books)
- 10 – Libretto-Vocal Books
- 1 – Logo CD
- 1 – VIOLIN
- 2 – PIANO VOCAL SCORE
- 0 – Digital Logo
- Libretto/Vocal Book
- 10 – Libretto-Vocal Books
- I LOVE YOU - PRE-PRODUCTION PACKAGE
- 1 – Libretto-Vocal Books
- 1 – PIANO VOCAL SCORE
- I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change - Bass
In the original production, all characters were played by a cast of four. However, each scene in the revue introduces new characters who are not seen again, and therefore it can be cast with virtually as many actors as desired.
I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE takes place in various locations.
A unit set on which various pieces of furniture and scenic elements can come and go quickly to suggest various locales such as a restaurant, kitchen, wedding chapel, living room, and 4 swivel chairs representing a car.
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