HOUSTON VOICE ♦ DECEMBER 17, 1999
OUT ON THE BAYOU
THEATER NEWS & REVIEWS
Reworking Carol, Sonny and Cher
by D.L. GROOVER
Stages' premiere of the off-Broadway hit
musical I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT,
NOW CHANGE, still running in New York
City, possesses grace and charm. The cast
showcases its considerable musical comedy
talents with delight; the staging is clever
and polished; the score hummable.
So, why did I
begin to tune out?
Because this show
is something I've
seen one time too
many, for years.
sketches highlighting the trials and
tribulations of the
game (Act I) followed by the joys
and pitfalls of marriage (Act II), this
musical has been
recycled from vari-
ment in her now-empty life, revealing much
more than she intends. Bonasso delivers
this monologue with quiet, unassuming
Casey Burden is all cute and huggable in
his various roles, and any mother in the
audience would be pleased to have him as a
son-in-law. He comes into his own with the
haunting ballad, "Shouldn't I Be Less in
:■** IWk ft
Joanne Bonasso, Pippa Winslow, Casey Burden and Jeffrey Gimbfe in the
TV variety-show-like 'I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.'
etyshow favorites like Carol Burnett, Andy
Williams, Sonny and Cher and even "The
Bell Telephone Hour."
The play attempts to be up-to-date with a
smattering of "shits" and the plaintive cry
of "she won't go down on me," but you
could take your aunt to see this show and
rest assured she wouldn't need a blindfold
or ear plugs. It's too sweet and pld-fash-
ioned to shock. Toothless as a teddy bear
and just as cuddly, "I Love You" is so harmless and willing to please it's almost quaint.
In this day and age when most musicals
are rated PG-13, a breezy, entirely weightless romp should be eminently embrace-
able. All we ask is that it entertain without
reminding us of chamber musicals like
"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" or
But the exceedingly pleasant actors hold
the show together by their sheer exuberance. They sing up a storm, mug like
vaudeville troopers and even manage a few
smooth dance steps. They make this show
easier to sit through, even when two full
acts of this run-of-the-mill variety show
shtick is one act too many.
As written, the quartet plays a kaleidoscope of characters. Each vignette finds
them in a different guise, and they all play
some variation on the stereotypical guy and
gal, husband and wife, widow and widower.
Joanne Bonasso is the show's Imogene
Coca. Whether she's the much put-upon
single girl caught in the "Single Man
Drought," or the quintessential Jewish
mother hen-pecking her husband and
whining kids, she's wonderfully versatile.
Her shining moment is the "Very First
Dating Video of Rose Ritz," a poignant and
well-written cameo, in which this 40-some-
thing divorcee attempts to find a replace-
Love With You?" Sung to his wife over a
breakfast routine they've accepted over the
years, the temptation to stray just doesn't
seem all that important, or interesting, anymore. It's a subtle moment that Burden
sings from the heart.
Jeffrey Gimble possesses a polished,
effortless voice. With his rich baritone, he
can belt or, croon with the best of them. He
certainly makes the pseudo-pop numbers
written by Jimmy Roberts and Joe DiPietro
sound better than they are.
Leggy and lithe, Pippa Winslow sings the
show-stopping number "Always a
Bridesmaid" to perfection. Winslow makes
the most of this country-western anthem to
With a primary-colored storybook set
consisting of house fronts and a garage
door, part of the steps might flip down to
reveal a restaurant table already set for dinner, or a bed might materialize out of the
porch stoop. Most of the time these scenic
changes, accomplished by the actors, are
more intriguing than the scenes themselves.
The performance I attended was sold out,
and the audience heartily enjoyed itself, so
it obviously appeals to a great many.
Perhaps it's because there aren't any variety
shows on TV anymore that something so
tame and uninspired as "I Love You, You're
Perfect, Now Change" can strike a nerve.
I Love You, You're
Perfect, Now Change
Stages Repertory Theatre
Through Jan. 2
3201 Allen Parkway