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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Stage West Calgary offers glimpses into relationships with latest musical

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change
 Stage West Calgary

Photo courtesy of Stage West Calgary - credit: John Watson

In addition to being the latest Stage West Calgary new season opener, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change also marks the enduring venue’s 200th production, a landmark by any standard. 

The hit off-Broadway musical takes the audience through a variety of relationship vignettes, and gives back to the community here on top of that with $1.00 from every ticket sold donated to the Canadian Cancer Society. 

The musical comedy explores every aspect and age of relationships - from dating and navigating the etiquette of being a couple, and on into managing your online dating profile as your years are advancing. One of the most poignant moments comes in Act 2, with "Shouldn't I Be Less In Love With You”, as a husband muses over how he still feels about his long-time partner.

In between, the pace moves forward with four actors playing a wide variety of roles, each allowed showcases for their considerable vocal abilities. Director Phil Nero has assembled a compelling cast in Daniel Greenberg, Kyla Musselman, Andrew Scanlon, and Cailin Stadnyk. Given often marginal material to work with, they each take turns belting their songs way up into the rafters, three of them of them for the first time in this space. Greenburg returns in his second play from book and lyric writer Joe DiPietro.

 An early (his first actually) musical from the creator of All Shook Up (music for that production supplied by Elvis Presley songs), DiPietro’s I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change became the second-longest running Off Broadway musical after its debut in 1996.

L-R: Daniel Greenberg, Kyla Musselman, Cailin Stadnyk, Andrew Scanlon. Photo courtesy Stage West Calgary, credit: John Watson

I’ll have my official Calgary Herald review to link to sometime next week, so I’ll hold back on details for that feature. However - some highlights:

  • The aforementioned  "Shouldn't I Be Less In Love With You?”. In an era of televised Bachelors and Bachelorettes, it’s refreshing to see a relationship of substance reflected, rather than shallow personalities’ rhinestone shimmer and scripted “reality” drama. It's a brief scene, but a powerful song and performance.
  • Tear Jerk”, and “Satisfaction Guaranteed” - despite reviews indicating hilarity, the belly-laughs are a bit sparse. There are a couple of great scenes though, and both of these vignettes elicited healthy laughs from the audience. “Scared Straight (To The Altar)” also provided plenty of creative humour.
  • Relevance to all ages, given the wide arc of overview in each age group - from young singles to young parents, and on into handling flirting again after losing your spouse. If you hadn’t considered some of your options, there are plenty of suggestions in this production!

OK, more to follow from my Herald review (link here when that is live) - for now, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is a night of talented actors and singers, along with something that should jump out for you regardless of where you fall in the dating or relationship spectrum. 

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Runs until November 12 at Stage West Calgary