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On January 13, 2002, when librettist/lyricist Tom Jones and composer Harvey Schmidt's milestone musical comedy The Fantasticks ended its Off-Broadway run after more than 41 years and 17,162 performances, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change by composer Joe DiPietro and librettist/lyricist Jimmy Roberts became the longest-running Off-Broadway musical still entertaining audiences nightly. The current National Tour of this uproarious romantic comedy, which opened on August 1, 1996 (and still resides) at the Westside Theatre at 407 West 43rd St. in New York City, will open March 25 in Raleigh, NC's A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater, courtesy Off-Broadway Series South.
The tour of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change — produced by John Freedson — in association with James Hammerstein, Bernie Kukoff, and Jonathan Pollard — stars Charma Bonanno, Colin Stokes, Joe Ricci, and Leisa Way — plus Timothy Evans at the piano. Staged by original New York director by Joel Bishoff, the tour features sets by James Kronzer, lighting by Daniel Ordower, and audio engineering by Jens Muehlhausen.
The show's subject is the modern-day mating game: dating, romance, and marriage. Its more than 60 characters include a colorful assortment of lovers, husbands, wives, and in-laws.
"Forty-one times," tour organizers say, "a young man has taken the stage to make a surprise proposal to his sweetheart. In all cases, the brides-to-be happily accepted as the audience roared with approval."
According to the rights holder, the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, "This celebration of the mating game takes on the truths and myths behind that contemporary conundrum know as 'the relationship.' Act I explores the journey from dating and waiting to love and marriage, while Act II reveals the agonies and triumphs of in-laws and newborns, trips in the family car and pick-up techniques of the geriatric set. This hilarious revue pays tribute to those who have loved and lost, to those who have fallen on their face at the portal of romance, to those who have dared to ask, 'Say, what are you doing Saturday night?'"
"It's 'Seinfeld' set to pop music!" raved the Newark Star Ledger in praising the original 1996 production. New York Newsday agreed, "If this show were a blind date, you'd feel relieved, grateful and pleasantly surprised." And Variety saluted the show as "smartly conceived" and praised its "catchy tunes and witty lyrics."
Off-Broadway Series South presents I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change Tuesday-Friday, March 25-28, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, March 29, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, March 30, at 2 and 7 p.m. in A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in the BTI Center for the Performing Arts, 1 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina. $31-$43. 919/834-4000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115202/803882 [inactive 12/03]. Groups of 20+: 919/231-4575 or firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.broadwayseriessouth.com/2002-2003/offbroadway.html#lpc [inactive 4/04] or http://www.loveperfectchange.com/.