By Dave Barton
By LP Hastings
By Sarah Bennett
By LP Hastings
By Jena Ardell
By Steve Lowery
By R. Scott Moxley
By Joel Beers
The battle of the sexes has been raging since Adam and Eve, which probably explains why I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change is the longest-running off-Broadway musical comedy in history. It has no specific story arc, but the songs, dances and sketches effectively parody our oldest traditions of dating, love and 'til death do us part.
The play has been around since 1996—there are still a couple of weeks left in its run at the Chance Theater—and director Kelly Todd is mostly true to the original script by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts. But she's made a few modifications, some to adapt its New York orientation to a West Coast audience, and others to better manage the show's rapid pace. Originally a two-man and two-woman show, this production uses seven actors to portray the approximately 50 characters who appear in about 20 scenes.
Basically, the show's two acts are split between examinations of the apprehension that characterizes the single life and the acquiescence necessary to make a marriage work. The opening number, "Cantata for a First Date," establishes the tone for a night of clever, catchy and occasionally poignant odes to the trite and true extents we go to in our search for everlasting love. The men sing: "Mouthwash, toothpaste/bring the condoms just in case/Macho boy, slick the hair/Modern man, debonair/I will splash on musk/I will knot my tie/And before I go I will check my fly." And the women reply: "Facial cream from a spa/Lingerie, Wonder bra/Hairspray, hair spritz/Wax the legs, shave the pits/Appetite, coy and pert/Don't eat much, no dessert/Sweet and low, half and half/Smile a lot, fake a laugh."
From there, a modern couple who meet at Starbucks for a blind date race through every stage of a relationship—from first date to first fight to seeing their ex on a date—in about 10 minutes. It adds a whole new connotation to the term "speed dating."
Later, we get the travails of marriage: meeting the crazy in-laws, childbearing, divorce and even widowhood. One of the final scenes is of two people who have lost their mates trying to pick each other up at a funeral of a mutual friend, which with the help of perhaps the show's most philosophical number, "I Can Live With That," sets off the entire cycle again.
I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE, AT THE CHANCE THEATER, 5552 E. LA PALMA AVE., ANAHEIM HILLS, (714) 777-3033; WWW.CHANCETHEATER.COM. THURS.-SAT., 8 P.M.; SUN., 2 P.M. THROUGH MAR. 18. $22-$25.