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Published: Saturday, 2/23/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

‘I love You’ finds humor in romance

BY JULIE NJAIM
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Zachary Lahey and Lindsey Denham, seen here in "Victor Victoria," perform in 'I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change!' Zachary Lahey and Lindsey Denham, seen here in "Victor Victoria," perform in 'I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change!'
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I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change! is bound to make you laugh.

This Joe DiPietro comedic musical revue has something everyone can relate to whether you're single, married, or divorced. It's a great night of theater for a first date, an evening out away from the kids, or ladies' night. This series of vignettes mostly stand alone and take a comedic look at relationships or potential relationships from female and male perspectives.

It's one thing to think your date's a jerk, your biceps are too small, or to admit you have emotional baggage. It's funny to have those thoughts set to music and actors turning to the audience to sing and tell the bold truths.

It's no wonder this show holds the title for second longest-running Off Broadway musical (The Fantasticks is the longest). The show opened in August, 1996, and closed in July, 2008, after more than 5,000 performances.

The Valentine Theatre Studio A Theatre's intimate 80-seat house is a terrific venue allowing the actors to relate to the audience. Directed by James Norman, the show will be performed weekends through March 10.

Unfortunately the Thursday dress rehearsal was cut short after the first act due to a medical emergency. The audience had no idea this actor was in any discomfort. The actor was scheduled to return to the stage Friday.

Four actors play more than 20 characters in these scenes; each role crisp and believable.

Lindsey Denham's (Woman #1) vocal strength, emotion, and clarity were impressive matched by her physical transformations from disgust to discomfort to heartbreak to hope. Her "I Will Be Loved Tonight" solo was touching.

Equally strong were the male vocals of Derrick Jordan (Man #1) and Zach Lahey (Man #2). Jordan's transitions from dud to stud and back in a restaurant were spot-on. Lahey's chick-flick scene was over-the-top resulting in much laughter.

Elizabeth Cottle (Woman #2) had a weaker start being overpowered by the other voices. As the show progressed she gained strength and held her own. Her expressions during the movie skit were priceless. She was a perfect doting mother when her daughter's love interest actually called.

Laughter was close to non-stop as the actors played out quick-paced scenes; each an individual spy glass looking into a character's psyche.

Perhaps the best skit from the first act was an infomercial for a law firm promising satisfaction in bed. The couples' expressions, the lawyer in bed, and the lawyer touting the firm were outrageous.

Most vignettes could have been plucked from almost anyone's dating history. Who hasn't told a little white lie on a first date or faked interest in whatever the other was talking about? Admit it, you've fussed in front of mirror, wished for greater physical attributes, or held onto the hope that this one would be THE one. Did you ever stop to think about what you were really committing to when you said "I do?"

The two-piece orchestra — piano played by music director Robert Duris and violin played by Joe Ziegler — were ample and complementary in this setting.

I Love You was a delight to watch. Bets are the second act is just as hilarious.

"I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change!" will be performed at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays through March 10 at the Valentine Theatre Studio A Theatre, 410 Adams St. Tickets are $20. Information: 419-242-2787 or valentinetheatre.com.

Contact Julie Njaim at jnjaim@theblade.com.



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