Can’t Get Enough Of You, Baby

A Brief History of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change at Theatre Three

by Kat Edwards

Once upon a time, there was a typical American musical revue that was produced by a typical American theatre. And when audiences found the revue attractive, desirable, irresistible, the theatre did what any typical American theatre would do. They brought it back again and again and again.

This is the true story of the long-lasting love-affair between Theatre Three and Jimmy Roberts’ and Joe DiPietro’s I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change was originally produced in New Jersey by the American Stage Company Theater in 1995. The show went on to make its Off-Broadway premiere on August 1, 1996 at Westside Theatre. The show ran for a total of 20 previews and 5,003 regular performances before finally closing on July 27, 2008, making it the second longest-running Off-Broadway musical after The Fantasticks. Because love is a universal theme, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change has been mounted in over 500 cities around the world and has been translated into at least 12 languages. Also, during its 12-year run, Westside Theatre was the site of 61 marriage proposals. They all said yes.

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Original Cast. From Left to Right: Carrie Slaughter, Ashley Wood, Linda Kay Leonard, and Greg Dulcie

Somewhere along the way Theatre Three’s Founding Artistic Director, the late Jac Alder, decided to incorporate ILYYPNC into Theatre Three’s 2000-2001 mainstage season. It opened during the summer of 2000 and starred Greg Dulcie, Linda Kay Leonard, Carrie Slaughter and Ashley Wood (currently in rehearsals for Laugh upstairs). The production, originally directed by longtime Theatre Three Music Director Terry Dobson, was a raging success and was eventually restaged to fit in the downstairs Theatre Too! studio space, where it ran for a solid three years. After those three years, the decision was made to turn this mega-hit into an annual Valentine’s holiday presentation. The Theatre Three equivalent to A Christmas Carol. In 2014, Jac included a New Year’s Eve performance as well and we’ve been singing you the story of your love life December-February ever since.

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2017 Cast. From Left to Right: Calvin Scott Roberts, Allison Bret, Janelle Lutz, and Trey West.

Sixteen years, hundreds of performances, and at least 21 actors later, here we are. The original production has had some tweaks here and there to try and freshen it up (I learned recently that the show went through an “electric phase”) but this year we are really putting the Change back into I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. This will be a whole new, modernized, reimagined production from top to bottom, directed by local theatre favorite B.J. Cleveland. The design includes some fun use of technology and we have some fresh-faced talent onstage, including Allison Bret, Janelle Lutz, Calvin Scott Roberts and Trey West. By the way, three out of the four cast members are making their T3 debut! There’s a lot to be excited about and a lot of changes that are heading your way, but at the end of the day it is still the same great time our audiences have come to expect.