Director and choreographer Matt Raftery admits even Off-Broadway's longest-running, smash hit musical comedy, celebrating the triumphs and trials of the modern-day mating game, deserves a tweak and an update, or two.
"I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," holds the stage distinction as a hit in more than 400 cities worldwide and Raftery has been busy the past two months working to relaunch it at The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Ill. for the run now playing through Aug. 11.
"The subject is universal, because it deals with love and relationships," said Raftery, originally from Park Forest, Ill.
"But a couple of the scenes and references just needed some fine-tuning. In today's, world, no one is really all that impressed that someone else has call-waiting. And when is the last time you heard someone mention they were going to a 'jazzercise' class?"
The witty script and lyrics by playwright/lyricist Joe DiPietro and composer Jimmy Roberts were first heard by audiences in 1996, showcasing a dizzying spectrum of male and female relationships, told with two actors and two actresses speeding through a hilarious series of vignettes which cleverly explore the trials and tribulations of single life, dating, marriage, loss and heartbreak.
From bad first dates, meeting the parents and family trips to dating and waiting, and even the agonies and triumphs of in-laws and newborns with a nod to pick-up techniques of the golden age set, the two-hour hilarious musical pays tribute to cupid. The rapid-fire story scene approach of varied themes and characters is similar to television's popular series "Love, American Style," the ratings hit for ABC in the 1970s.
This new production at Marriott stars Alex Goodrich, Bernie Yvon, Kelly Anne Clark and Johanna McKenzie Miller.
Raftery said audiences will especially enjoy his assembled cast, since it includes Clark, the Chicagoland favorite actress who has five productions of "I Love You, Your'e Perfect, Now Change" to her credit, including the Westside Theater Off-Broadway run in New York, in March 2000, when the show hit a 1,500 performance milestone.
"This is a musical that has been translated into 14 languages around the world," said Raftery, whose directorial debut was "Guys and Dolls" at the Marriott in February 2011.
"It's just further proof of the response from audiences everywhere, who have seen it."