The current show at MMAS is the delightful musical revue, "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change". The show takes the form of a series of vignettes connected by the central theme of love and relationships. The play's tag line is "Everything you ever secretly thought about dating, romance, lovers, husband, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit." With few exceptions, the scenes stand independent of the others, but progress in a fashion designed to suggest an overall arc to relationships throughout the course of one's life. A first date, for example, comes before scenes dealing with marriage, and scenes dealing with marriage come before those dealing with child rearing. Despite the large number of characters, the show is typically done with a comparatively small cast:The show has the distinction of being the second longest musical revue in Off-Broadway history. It opened on August 1,1996 and ran for 5,003 performances, closing on July 27, 2008. The variety of musical numbers and the comic appeal of the very realistic relationships between men and women comes across to the audience. Ken casts seven performers in these roles in this joyous two act romp, which is sure to delight all members of the audience from start to finish with musical direction by Shannon Manley and choreography by Marianne Lonati.
Ken designed the set for quick entrances and with moveable set pieces since the cast plays over 60 different roles. Marianne's dance numbers include "Marriage Tango" where a very tired and harried, married couple find a few minutes to do it with distractions happening around them "On The Highway to Love" and several others. Shannon's excellent musical direction of these 7 people brings out the best in them. The harmonies are stunning in the group numbers. She plays the keyboards and has a marvelous violin and bass in her orchestra, too. The main set is by Michael Duarte with art work by Glenn Fournier. The lighting by Ken and his direction are superb. He gives each of his performers their moments to shine in this show. The colorful costumes are by Ann Marie Lambert and stage manager Alan Conaway keeps things running smoothly all night long.
The seven terrific performers in this show are Brendan Auld, Meg Dussault, Melanie Bernier, Irina Gott, Brian Gustafson, Jodi Mulcahy and Bill Roberts. I will now give a brief description of some of the highlights of the show and the different types of characters in it. Some of the women's standout numbers include Melanie's hilarious "Always a Bridesmaid" while clad in an ugly bridesmaid's dress with the three men crossing the stage in dresses which is a hoot and she also sings "I Will Be Loved Tonight" , a poignant ballad after she connects with a guy after promising him to make Lasagne. Jodi who is a pretty red head with a high soprano voice sings "He Called Me" where her boyfriend finally calls her back twice (Brian and Brendan with fake mustaches as Pizza Delivery men and Irina as her mother appear in this segment.) and also plays a nerdy babe with Brian. Other funny moments include Irina as a woman seeking love at the funeral parlor, as a young mother with a new baby and the exasperated mother in the car scene. Meg shines in the Rosie Ritz monologue about a divorcee making a dating video which is a mixture of comic and touching moments. "Waiting" is another comic gem in this show where Meg waits for her couch potato husband watching a football game(32 seconds in real time or football time) while Brian waits for his shoe shopping wife in Macy's and Melanie needs to pee while waiting in a long line for the woman's restroom. The men have their moments to shine as well while Brian plays a nerdy stud, Brendan plays the nervous groom, the exasperated friend of new parents and the horny tired husband who wants sex in "Marriage Tango" with Meg. Bill is the caring loving husband who sings the touching ballad, "Shouldn't I Be Less in Love With You?" and is an inmate at Attica who yells and swears at Meg and Brendan forcing them to marry each other. Brendan cries at a chick flick in "Tear Jerk" with Jodi. Bill is a lawyer in the sexual satisfaction scene. Some other highlights include "The Baby Song" where Brian bites the eyes of a stuffed bear to make sure it is child proof and sings of now saying baby words to adults all the time. (He and his lovely wife, Laura are expecting their first child soon.) "On the Highway of Love" in the car scene where Bill and Irina sing as the irate parents of two bratty children played by Brian and Jodi. The spectacular close to Act 1 is a rousing gospel number "The Wedding Song" and other treat is a 1950's style song "And Now the Parents" where Bill and Meg play the parents of a non committal son to marriage. Brendan plays the elderly man showing his tender side while picking up a date at the funeral parlor in "I Can Live With That" which is reminiscent of "I Remember It Well". The show ends with the jazzy upbeat "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change". So for a fun filled revue of comic and poignant moments beautifully portrayed be sure to catch "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" in Mansfield.