Actors’ Summit staging ‘successful’ show
‘I Love You, You’re Perfect’ features fine acting, singing
|From left, Keith Stevens, Abigail Allwein, Aubrey Caldwell and Stephen Brockway star in Actors’ Summit Theater’s production of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.”|
|Photo courtesy of Actors’ Summit Theater|
The play is a series of vignettes about love, marriage, children, divorce and falling in love again.
The early scenes deal with courtship. A painfully shy couple on the first date struggle to find something to talk about; the career-busy couple decides to skip the first, second and third dates and, perhaps, get on to a more intimate encounter, but that doesn’t work either. The first act ends with a wedding scene (something every engaged woman and man need to see).
Act two completes the wedding scene and leads into one of the best songs in the show, “Too Many Dresses.” A bridesmaid sings about all of the bridesmaid dresses hanging in her closet. This song is enough to make any bride feel guilty for having women buy bridesmaid dresses. But the song is good for laughs, and so are most bridesmaid dresses.
In the final scene, an elderly couple meet at the funeral home, where they’ve come to view a corpse. After they get acquainted and talk about their spouses who have died, he asks her to go out for coffee. And the courtship starts again almost as it did when they were young in the early scenes of the play.
This is more than a clever musical comedy. The writers are cutting deep into issues facing people of all ages in this country. Love, marriage, heartbreak and divorce seem to be recurring themes in the loves of those who live out their lives near us.
The authors of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” have been successful. Joe DiPietro (book and lyrics) and Jimmy Roberts (music) wrote “The Thing About Men,” which Actors’ Summit performed a few years ago.
DiPietro also wrote the book for “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” which is on Broadway now. The show has 10 Tony nominations, including one for DiPietro for the book of the show. DiPietro received Tony Awards for the score and the book for “Memphis.”
The cast brings to life the joys and pains of falling in and out of love. Abigail Allwein is a welcomed new addition to the Actors’ Summit company. She sings well and acts well. In one scene, which she plays alone, she records on video a message for men who might want to meet her. This poignant vignette is a showcase for her acting talents.
Aubrey Caldwell, a tall, elegant actress, has performed in several productions at Actors’ Summit. She has a control in the scenes she plays that make them spot-on perfect. For example, when she sings “Too Many Dresses,” she gets laughs, but she makes serious points. In the funeral scene, she earns laughs and then brings a lump in the throat.
Stephen Brockway is a talented singer and actor. He is excellent as the shy guy on a first date. But then he plays another scene as a boisterous friend of a couple with a new baby. He’s a talent we should watch.
Keith Stevens is performing in his 24th show at Actors’ Summit. He seems to be the company’s go-to man for singing, dancing, acting and clowning.
Director Neil Thackaberry has surrounded himself with talented performers and technicians. The result is a successful, satisfying production. This is a perfect date-night play. So, if you’re planning on falling in love, give this show a try.
For ticket information, call 330-374-7568.
David Ritchey has a Ph.D. in communications and is a professor of communications at The University of Akron. He is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association.
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