The John W. Engeman Theater’s latest produce is perfect… and it should definitely not change.
During Saturday, Jan. 20’s performance of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, the Northport-based theater was full of nonstop laughs thanks to the four-piece ensemble on stage.
Starring Gina Naomi Baez and Lauren Weinberg as the two main women and Danny Bernardy and Jason SweetTooth Williams as the two men, this witty musical tackles modern love in all forms in separate vignettes per scene.
Originally premiering off-Broadway in 1996, the show ran for 12 years, making it off-Broadway’s second longest running show. It has since premiered in a dozen countries and has been translated all over the world.
Directed and choreographed by John Simpkins, the show starts off with the four playing your general everyday people looking for love. The unnamed people sing about the hopes and dreams of their upcoming date that they each get dressed and ready for, “Cantana For a First Date.” Immediately after, we see Baez and Bernardy chat it up after meeting in person for the first time after an online dating match.
The relatability of these songs and scenes is painful — in a good way. For those in long-term relationships, you’ll cringe being reminded what it was like on the dating scene. For those still single, you’ll nod along in agreement to everything they complain about.
Matt DaSilva, who was Williams’ understudy during Saturday night’s performance, was stellar in his scenes, notably the third song about two awkward people on their first date. The fact that each actor was able to change characters per scene with ease was impressive — each having their own story to tell.
Other standout songs and performances came from “Men Who Talk and the Women Who Pretend They’re Listening,” “The Lasagna Incident,” (with a beautiful ballad sung by Weinberg that shows off her phenomenal range), and “And Now the Parents.” You can guess what each of those songs are about and how they relate to dating.
But the musical isn’t only about looking for love. They capture the wedding day, a typical night for a married couple, childbearing and even death, too.
One number, that was sweet and funny, was “Funerals Are For Dating,” featuring Baez and Bernardy who hysterically played two old timers meeting at an acquaintance’s funeral. Bernardy tries to pick the mourning woman up and laughter ensues. However, it will leave you smiling because for such a funny moment mixed with sadness (talking about their deceased partners), you’ll smile at the sweet sentiment the end of the number provides.
However, it’s not entirely sweet. This show is definitely not recommended for someone who might be a prude. Other topics tackled are unhappy sex lives and why men send women pictures of their penis. Adult language and content are prevalent.
With a beautifully designed set, you will surely be impressed the moment you sit down. A setting described as “a city near you,” the backdrop includes impressive buildings with windows to apartments, and throughout the stage, different living rooms and bedrooms are set up for the appropriate skits.
From the looks of the rooms to the costumes and experiences, this show is going to make you say, “too true” in relation to your life. I can guarantee at least one of the scenes will relate to you and your partner in any stage of your relationship.
Tip? Bring someone on a first date! Remind them what they’re in for…
The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport will present I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change through March 3. Tickets are $80 for Wednesday and Sunday evenings; $85 for Thursdays; $90 for Friday evenings, Saturday and Sunday matinees; and $95 for Saturday evenings. Tickets may be purchased by calling 631-261-2900, going online at www.engemantheater.com, or visiting the Engeman Theater Box Office at 250 Main Street, Northport.