It’s the timeless tale of love. Two people meet. They complete each other and fall passionately into intimate devotion … then they can’t wait to change everything about their lover.
It’s just one aspect of the musical “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.”
“It is a musical comedy,” director Gabe Carbajal said. “It really strikes a chord of what the reality of relationships are.”
“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” will debut at the Jewel Box Theatre in Poulsbo on March 21. The show will continue until April 19.
“You spend your entire life trying to find someone then all you want to do is change them after that,” Carbajal said.
“At some point you get so desperate you’ll take anyone, but then you try to change them from their clothes, their hair, their personality. Relationships aren’t perfect and that’s where the comedy comes from.”
But changing a loved one isn’t the sole topic the musical tackles. After all, there’s dating, marriage, kids, break ups and more.
“This is a show all about relationships and how they do and don’t work,” Assistant Director Jordan Brodley said. “From the conception of relationships to the end of relationships, to all other parts of life.”
All the stages of relationships and love are told through a series of vignettes featuring four actors, each taking on multiple roles.
“Every scene they play a different character,” Brodley said. “So you’ll see the same people playing couples, but they’ll be different couples. They have six or eight different parts. It’s a challenge for actors, but it’s fun for them.”
Brodley notes that the play, while traversing different characters and themes, covers all stages of relationships from dating to break ups, and sticking together through thick and thin.
“My favorite moment in the entire thing is in the second act,” He said. “There is a song called ‘Shouldn’t I Be Less in Love with You,’ which is one of the guys singing to a woman. They’ve been married X number of years, and he’s realizing he’s still in love. And that’s a really poignant and sweet moment. It’s something we can all hope and strive for.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Brodley said, there is another scene featuring a couple that runs through their entire relationship, right to the break up, on their first date.
“And of course, it’s just funny,” Brodley said.
Carbajal, however, with the help of musical director Nils Thompson, was certain not to leave the music out of the musical comedy.
“With this one, we are going super-cabaret with it,” Carbajal said, further noting that the production goes light on other aspects of the play in order to showcase the music.
“We decided to strip it down because the music is so funny and the lyrics are so funny that we wanted to focus on the actors and the music itself,” he said. “We are going minimal stage, very minimal props, and minimal costumes.”
Each song takes on a different theme.
“Take for instance, there is song about a man who no longer speaks like a man, he speaks the way he would to his toddler,” Carbajal said. “He speaks to everybody that way. He’s got a whole song about how he can no longer function as an adult anymore, he only speaks like a child.”
The song brings to mind the change people go through after having children, and how that experience affects their friendships.
“So they’re no longer humans, and his friend says goodbye to him because he only talks like a child,” Carbajal said. “His song has ‘ga-ga’ and ‘goo-goo’ in it.”
Then there’s the phenomenon of not being able to find a decent man. What’s a single gal supposed to do?
“‘Single Man Drought’ is by far my favorite song,” Carbajal said. “It’s got two women simultaneously going on horrible dates. They leave those dates to have this fun song about how terrible it is to find a real good, quality guy that is not a nerd, or a geek, or a jerk.”
There’s an experience for everyone, Brodley said, which is why so many can relate to it. Brodley gives the show a PG13 rating, given that it deals with adult dating themes.
“It’s a pretty bawdy show,” he said. “It’s a sexual, fun thing.”
The musical graced its first stage in 1996 as an off-Broadway musical comedy. It continued for more than 5,000 performances in New York until July 2008. The play, penned by Joe DiPietro with music by Jimmy Roberts, then went global — first at theaters in the United Kingdom — and soon was translated into 14 languages and performed as far away as Beijing.
It was a hit, though after nearly two decades, many haven’t heard about it.
“It’s an unknown show really,” Carbajal said. “People aren’t going to know the name. But it’s probably going to be one of the funniest shows you’ll see in a long time.”