The dynamic, resident theatre company at Fremont Centre Theatre, YST, is finally bringing back their blockbuster hit, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, just in time for a romantic and hilarious night out in February.
YST is a non-profit youth community theatre offering performance opportunities for young people aged 5-17 in full productions year round. They are staging I Love You.., which is a “grown-up” show with four actors playing 50 roles, as a fundraiser for YST; all ticket proceeds will benefit the youth theatre company. They first brought this romp of a show to Fremont Centre Theatre back in 2016 and FCT owner Lissa Reynolds, along with many fans, have been begging them to bring it back ever since. It promises to be a delightful night out with your honey or with friends.
The show boasts a witty book by Jimmy Roberts and clever, heartfelt lyrics by Joe Di Pietro and was the second longest running show Off-Broadway. The actors change seamlessly into 50 different characters right on stage with simple additions of hats and props, going from young to old and everything in between. Artistic Directors, Jack and Gloria Bennett, star along with Mirai Booth-Ong, Craig Sherman with expert piano accompaniment by Jake Anthony. Jack and Gloria were cast in a production in Jacksonville, Florida by original cast member, Rob Roznowski, who appears on the original cast recording, and ended up touring with it for three years. They are clearly very familiar with the material but both say how much their performances and production have evolved over the years.
Jack explains, “life experience is something that is very important in this show. It’s often cast with young, pretty people, which still works because the show is so good. But I think life experience deepens and broadens the performances and that has certainly been our experience with doing this show over the years.”
Mirai, who is reprising her role from the 2016 production, says, “two years ago, I was the rookie in the cast so it was all new and incredibly challenging; how do you make all of these characters different? So this year, coming back to it, I get to have more fun and dig deeper into the characters. It’s two more years of working on my voice, of being in shows and doing things that make you a better performer, so I feel like a different performer coming to the show.”
Jake Anthony is a much sought-after music director and vocal coach in the Los Angeles area who explains, “there’s a big difference between a pianist and someone who can work with other people and I’m very fortunate that colleagues recommend me; I’m very lucky. My background is in music and voice so I play piano as a singer.” Gloria chimes in, “he’s amazing, so talented!” Anthony will be playing for seven of the nine performances while Yukiko Elegino, who played for the 2016 production, is thrilled to come back for two of the shows.
For actor and voiceover artist Craig Sherman, this is his first time tackling the roles in I Love You but it’s a show that he says, “has been on my bucket list for years. Musical theatre is my number one favorite thing and I’ve always loved this show so I wasn’t going to miss it!”
Gloria goes on to say, “we are so blessed with this cast and with Jake. And it’s fun for us as directors of Young Stars Theatre to perform. We love it. It’s good for our souls. We’ve all really clicked and I just love this group of people. It’s been very fortuitous.”
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change captures love in all its beautiful, messy incarnations in a way that is engaging, poignant and hysterical. The audience is taken on an emotional journey from the opening songs Cantata for a First Date through Single Man Drought to Married Sex Tango all the way to Funerals are for Dating. There is something here for everyone and this talented cast and crew promises a night to remember!
A perfect Valentine’s Day destination, the company is featuring a Valentine’s Day Special evening on Feb. 14 featuring a complementary glass of wine, chocolates and chocolate dipped strawberries!
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change opens at 8pm on Friday, February 2nd with a Gala Reception afterwards, and runs three weekends through February 28th. Fridays, Saturdays and Valentine’s Day at 8pm and two matinee performances at 4pm on Sundays Feb. 11 & 18. On stage at Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Avenue in South Pasadena.
*Please note this show features some mild, adult language and comedic, adult situations and YST gives it a PG-13 rating.
For showtimes and ticketing, please go to www.YoungStarsTheatre.org