|Photo by Chris Ryan. Pictured from left is Amy Jo Halliday, Joshua Stenseth, Leah Yorkston, and Colin Wood.|
Broadway Rose kicks off its 2013 Season
By Tina Arth and Darrell Baker
Broadway Rose Theatre Company’s theme this season is “Discover a Season of Unforgettable Memories in 2013” and the opening show, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change fits comfortably into the mold. The long-running show (12 years - second only to The Fantasticks in the length of its Off-Broadway run) has consistently amused and entertained audiences since its 1996 debut, and will probably continue to do so for many years to come.
The show makes no pretense at being cutting-edge, and even when it was first produced some of author Joe DiPietro’s vignettes were based on time-honored clichés about the full spectrum of complications when man and woman try to get together. On the other hand, it is the enduring commonality of these situations that makes the show’s humor so accessible to its audiences – despite the advent of Twitter and Skype (or whatever this week’s media-of-the-moment might be), in many ways nothing has changed in the world of dating, love and marriage.
With no unifying plot and only four actors, each one occupying a character who lasts only as long as a song/dialogue vignette (and there are 21 in the show!), it is a challenge to fully engage the audience. Happily, Director Sharon Maroney peoples her cast with four heavy hitters (all regulars in top-notch Portland area productions) who have the amazing voices, timing, and comedic skill to keep the customers satisfied.
Some of the show’s best moments come in numbers where all four cast members perform together, delivering intricate harmonies and powerful solos sandwiched in the crisply delivered comedy. In an evening filled with laughs, the audience was especially receptive when Amy Jo Halliday and Colin Wood portrayed grandchild-seeking missiles frustrated by son Joshua Stenseth’s inability to commit, and girlfriend Leah Yorkston’s focus on her career over marriage and family. Who among us has not been there, either as parent, child, date, or all three?
Wood is especially effective in “Shouldn’t I Be Less in Love With You?” which is essentially a solo spot in the spirit of Fiddler on the Roof’s “Do You Love Me?” (wife Halliday is on stage throughout, but is so wrapped up in the morning paper that she barely glances his way). However, all four cast members give us memorable moments well beyond the demands of the material.
Amazingly for a show with as many quick character changes as I Love You…, there were no discernible technical errors – quick changes in sound, lighting, costumes, and sets were accomplished without a hitch. While this is a “small” show in some ways, the production is deceptively complex. The director, tech crew, and musicians as well as the actors clearly put in the time and thought required to make the first offering of Broadway Rose’s 2013 season unforgettably memorable.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change plays at Broadway Rose’s New Stage in Tigard through February 24th.