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I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

Musical numbers: "Cantata for a First Date," "A Stud and a Babe," "Single Man Drought," "Why? Cause I'm a Guy," "Tear Jerk," "I Will Be Loved Tonight," "Hey There, Single Guy/Gal," "He Called Me," "Wedding Vows," "Always a Bridesmaid," "The Baby Song," "Marriage Tango," "On the Highway of Love," "Waiting Trio," "Shouldn't I Be Less in Love With You?," "I Can Live With That," "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change."

With:
Cast: Jordan Leeds, Robert Roznowski, Jennifer Simard, Melissa Weil.

Musical numbers: “Cantata for a First Date,” “A Stud and a Babe,” “Single Man Drought,” “Why? Cause I’m a Guy,” “Tear Jerk,” “I Will Be Loved Tonight,” “Hey There, Single Guy/Gal,” “He Called Me,” “Wedding Vows,” “Always a Bridesmaid,” “The Baby Song,” “Marriage Tango,” “On the Highway of Love,” “Waiting Trio,” “Shouldn’t I Be Less in Love With You?,” “I Can Live With That,” “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.”

Lively and impeccably performed, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” is so smartly conceived it might even woo cynics for whom a musical revue about romance would seem to rank between the Olson Twins and Equal packets for saccharine content. Jimmy Roberts’ catchy tunes and Joe Dipietro’s witty lyrics, sung by a talented foursome, update familiar territory — think “I Do, I Do” with condoms — and invigorate a genre often best left to the cabarets.

Smoothly directed by Joel Bishoff, “Love” is a collection of 17 songs, interspersed with brief sketches, about the travails of modern heterosexual romance. The titles alone suggest the trajectory: “Single Man Drought,” “He Called Me,” “Wedding Vows,” “The Baby Song,” etc.

What the titles don’t reveal, though, is the fresh spin that Dipietro’s wordplay puts on such well-traveled subjects as first-date jitters, young marrieds gone goo-goo over first baby and put-upon husbands endlessly waiting for shoe-shopping wives. Even familiar complaints about hideous bridesmaid gowns get laughs with a series of very clever rhymes.

The brief sketches, aiming sometimes for poignancy, sometimes for humor, are a bit spottier, but only a bit. The cast handles the acting as well as it does the singing, which is quite well indeed. Jordan Leeds, Robert Roznowski, Jennifer Simard and Melissa Weil quickly distinguish their individual personalities, and each shows real comic flair. The piano/violin accompaniment nicely serves the various song styles — a show-tune pastiche with touches of doo-wop, jazz and blues, among others.

“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” was staged and developed at the American Stage Company in Teaneck, N.J., and New Haven’s Long Wharf Theater. The nonprof process has polished this revue to a shine. The production deserves a healthy run Off Broadway.

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change

Production: NEW YORK A James Hammerstein, Bernie Kukoff and Jonathan Pollard presentation of a musical revue in two acts, with book and lyrics by Joe Dipietro, music and vocal and instrumental arrangements by Jimmy Roberts. Directed by Joel Bishoff, musical direction by Tom Fay (Jimmy Roberts substituted as musical director for reviewed performance).

Crew: Set, Neil Peter Jampolis; costumes, Candice Donnelly; lighting, Mary Louise Geiger; sound, Duncan Edwards; production supervisor, Matthew G. Marholin; associate producer, Matt Garfield; general management, Robert V. Straus Prods.; press, Bill Evans. Opened Aug. 1, 1996, at the Westside Theater. Reviewed July 29; 291 seats; $ 45. Running time: 2 HOURS.

With: Cast: Jordan Leeds, Robert Roznowski, Jennifer Simard, Melissa Weil.

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