I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change – Wildly Entertaining!

Theatre Review

PHOTO: YST | SouthPasadenan.com | The cast of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change in the number "The Highway of Love" on stage now at Fremont Centre Theatre

In a word? GO! As in, get thee to the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena to see I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change as soon as you can. Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes this must-see romantic comedy musical that truly has something for everyone. The highly appealing show, written by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts, is a four person series of vignettes on love and modern romance that takes hold of you from minute one and doesn’t let go!

PHOTO: YST | SouthPasadenan.com | Craig Sherman, Mirai Booth-Ong, Jack Bennett, and Gloria Bennett sing “Hey There Single Guy/Girl” on stage at Fremont Centre Theatre in “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”.

What is striking is how accessible the show is; this is definitely not “for musical theatre folks” only. There isn’t a person alive who won’t recognize themselves and relate to the stories told through song, sometimes in fall-down funny fashion and other times grabbing you by the heart.

PHOTO: YST | SouthPasadenan.com | Craig Sherman and Mirai Booth-Ong perform “A Stud and a Babe” on stage at Fremont Centre Theatre through Feb. 18

Without giving anything away, the four charming actors take on over 50 roles playing everything from people out on horrendously boring dates that they find themselves lying through, to lonely dorks imagining themselves as their super cool counterparts, singles attending a dating seminar in prison, a bride, a groom, a bridesmaid, exhausted parents to a couple of elderly folks hooking up at a funeral and well, everything in between. It’s a whirlwind of hilarity and ultimately emotion that can take you by surprise. You’re probably getting my drift; if you’ve lived life, you’re going to relate and it’s just a hoot of a time.

PHOTO: YST | SouthPasadenan.com | Craig Sherman, Gloria Bennett and Jack Bennett play a couple with a newborn baby and their visiting single friend in a scene from “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”.

The cast is a fantastically engaging foursome that we are lucky enough to spend an evening with; talk about a fun dinner party! Mirai Booth-Ong is vivaciously charismatic, deftly moving through epically awkward characters to strong and feisty women and crushes you with a heartbreakingly vulnerable moment like her solo “I Will Be Loved Tonight”.

All four are mixed together in surprising, fun ways but Booth-Ong is most often paired as young lovebirds with Craig Sherman, who is absolutely endearing in his roles ranging from dorky loners to a nervous groom, an overly attentive father, a dutiful husband waiting for his wife at Macy’s and a long married man who wonders, over morning coffee and newspapers “Shouldn’t I Be Less In Love With You?” This is a poignant solo, simply and beautifully delivered by Sherman that elicited audible sighs from the audience.

PHOTO: YST | SouthPasadenan.com | Mirai Booth-Ong sings “I Will Be Loved Tonight”

Real life husband and wife dynamic duo, Jack Bennett and Gloria Bennett, are outstanding, never more so than in their scenes together. Gloria Bennett, whose facial expressions deserve a show of their own, has a soaring, melodic voice that brings an added rich quality to the complex harmonies. She has ridiculous comedic chops and let’s them rip in the hilarious “Always a Bridesmaid” and just keep an eye on her during the prison dating seminar; comedy gold.

PHOTO: YST | SouthPasadenan.com | The comedy team that is Gloria Bennett and Jack Bennett in the number “I Can Live With That”.

Complementing her beautifully is Jack Bennett, having a ball as the lonely prison inmate and deftly takes on everything from a new, gay Dad to a football obsessed husband. He and Booth-Ong are pitch perfect as the passive aggressive, disappointed parents in “Hey There Single Guy/Girl” while Mr. & Mrs. Bennett walk a graceful line between laughter and tears in the lovely funeral scene “I Can Live With That”.

Jake Anthony is really the fifth member of the ensemble as the dynamic pianist swings for the fences, right on stage, giving lush accompaniment to the proceedings.

YST’s production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change takes you on a zippy car ride through life that is exhilarating, bumpy and beautiful punctuated with effervescent performances that will have you begging for more.

PHOTO: YST | SouthPasadenan.com | Craig Sherman, Mirai Booth-Ong, Gloria Bennett, and Jack Bennett sing “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is on stage now through February 18 at Fremont Centre Theatre – 1000 Fremont Avenue in South Pasadena.

A perfect Valentine’s Day destination, the company is featuring a Valentine’s Day Special evening on Feb. 14 featuring a complimentary glass of wine, chocolates and chocolate dipped strawberries!

Fridays, Saturdays and Valentine’s Day at 8pm and two matinee performances at 4pm on Sundays  Feb. 11 & 18.

*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 All ticket proceeds will benefit YST’s youth community theatre serving the young people in the San Gabriel Valley.

Alisa Hayashida has been covering arts, culture, & events in the greater Pasadena Metro areas and Los Angeles Metro areas for the past six years. She is a valuable arts advocate in South Pasadena, with an extensive background in theater arts. Since graduating from UC Irvine, her work has taken her from Los Angeles to India, London, Paris and throughout Europe. She lives in South Pasadena with her husband and son and has been a devout South Pasadenan for the past 25 years.

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