Joe DiPietro’s musical comedy I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change traces relationships through their many stages. As a result, the show relates to every member of the audience, from novice daters to old married couples.
This commentary on romance will be the first show of the new season at the Palace Theatre, but despite its national popularity and humor, it wasn’t always a favorite of the Palace’s artistic director.
“I’ll admit when it first came out I wasn’t a fan,” said Carl Rajotte. “I listened to the music and I just didn’t get it. But as I got older and went through more things in life it started hitting home. I found the humor and it was great.”
The musical, which spent 10 years off-Broadway, explores aspects of love in different vignettes. Act 1 has 11 scenes and Act 2 has nine more. All of these scenes are different, according to Rajotte, who said the musical travels through the crazy dating scene to marriage to losing your loved one and wondering what is left. Despite this emotional journey, Rajotte said the musical is so well-written, it is easy for the audience to follow the action.
“The show spotlights relationships that work, don’t work and ones you try to make work until you realize they can’t work,” Rajotte said.
Such diversity requires talented actors, as there are only four actors in the show, performing a variety of roles. Rajotte couldn’t be more pleased with the cast he has collected: Kiley McDonald, Shane Patrick O’Neill, Jeff Blim and Kelsey White. None of the actors have performed the show before, but two are veterans of the Palace Theatre.
“A lot of actors wanted to do this show,” Rajotte said. “We received 300 to 350 video submissions from interested actors.”
Rajotte said they had to cut down those submissions to the four stars, which was difficult because on a video you don’t necessarily get the same feel for the person you would live. But he said he talked with the actors on the phone and required several different videos, many of which he provided direction for.
The small cast was one of the reasons I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change was chosen as the season opener. Rajotte said he typically likes to start a season with a production with a small cast and a lot of humor. Last year’s season opened with Altar Boyz, which fit those requirements as well.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is also routinely performed in smaller venues, which enhances the Palace’s specialty of allowing intimate performances. However, Rajotte’s version of the show will add a new dimension to the performance.
Rajotte said he wanted to have a new look for the show and when he kept thinking about the different relationships he realized they were all just a big puzzle and that in any relationship, as in life, we try to put the pieces together. And so the background for the musical will be puzzle pieces that during the show sometimes come together and other times do not.
The new season looks like it will come together nicely. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is followed by Guys and Dolls. Rajotte said he is particularly excited for this show as he directed it 11 or 12 years ago at the Palace as a guest director. He said he is looking forward to doing it now and seeing how much the Palace has changed. Rajotte said thus far, one contract has been signed for that show and it is for the actress Lindsey Clayton, who is from Manchester and has gone on to perform regularly in New York City. Rajotte said he has never worked with her before but he is eager to. He has worked with her cousins.
The season officially kicks off Thursday night with Citizens Bank hosting a special preview night for customers and select community members. Rajotte said it was a nice way to show appreciation and build on community relationships.