Performing Arts

Stage Door’s ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect’ lives up to its title

Shenise Nuñez and Brad Rakushin have an awkward date in Stage Door’s ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.’
Shenise Nuñez and Brad Rakushin have an awkward date in Stage Door’s ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.’ Carol Kassie

Revues about relationships, love, marriage, parenting and old age help make the theater world go ’round, their resonant content scoring with audiences, their smallish casts appealing to producers watching the bottom line.

Some of those revues are good, some great, some so-so. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change by composer Jimmy Rogers and lyricist-book writer Joe DiPietro is one of the great ones: The original Off-Broadway production lasted from 1996 to 2008, a run of 5,003 performances.

The movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey may be the hotter commodity on this Valentine’s weekend, but the experiences detailed in the funny, warm-hearted I Love You, You’re Perfect are things most folks — not just the wealthy and kinky — have done.

The revue has been done in South Florida before, four times by Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables and at other venues. Now Stage Door Theatre in Margate and director Dan Kelley are taking a crack at the show, and the result is as playful and entertaining as you’d hope.

The production features four actor-singers — Shenise Nuñez, Jill Taylor Anthony, Michael Linden and Brad Rakushin — accompanied by pianist-musical director Elijah Gee and violinist Silvana Lanfredi. Gee and Lanfredi make some truly beautiful music together, and their presence illustrates just how much the give-and-take between performers and musicians elevates a show.

I Love You, You’re Perfect takes the audience on a journey through the stages of romantic life, from dating to marriage to parenthood to late-in-life love. In songs and sketches, the cast’s adventures are amusing, poignant, goofy and full of we’ve-been-there truth.

Anthony and Linden kick things off on a first date by talking their way through all the initial stages of a relationship, then singing about it on We Had It All. Then Nuñez and Rakushin, awkward and nerdy on their own date, imagine alternative versions of themselves as they sing A Stud and a Babe. The women ponder the Single Man Drought, as the men musically ask Why? Because I’m a Guy.

Linden, dragged to a chick flick by Anthony, finds himself welling up on Tear Jerk. Nuñez and Linden, playing the parents of the commitment-phobic Rakushin and his busy career-oriented girlfriend Anthony, make a case for marriage as they sing Hey There Single Guy/Gal. Soon, a wedding ends the first act.

Anthony extolls the joys of the single life on Always a Bridesmaid, then Linden and Nuñez demonstrate how parenthood can turn formerly reasonable young adults infantile. As man and wife, Anthony and Rakushin try (and try) for a night of romantic romping, only to be interrupted by the demands of their kids. That’s followed by the stress of family car trips, a guy not-so-patiently waiting as his gal shops, a divorcee nervously spilling the beans about her life for a dating service video. Finally, a widower and widow meet “cute” at one of the many funerals they attend.

A few scattered pitch problems happen early in the show, but then the acting quartet gets into its groove, those problems vanish, and all four performers deliver the reliable pleasures of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change — with nary a blindfold or riding crop in sight.

If you go

What: ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Rogers.

Where: Stage Door Theatre, 8036 W. Sample Rd., Margate.

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday and Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday and Saturday-Sunday, through March 8.

Cost: $38-$42.

Information: 954-344-7765 or www.stagedoortheatre.com.

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