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Searching for that Perfect Partner in "I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change"

Swift Creek cast members
All photos courtesy of Swift Creek Mill Theater

Some of the most exciting moments of Swift Creek Mill Theater’s production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, the musical comedy revue with book and lyrics by Joe Dipietro and music by Jimmy Roberts took place not on the stage, but in their spacious dining hall. It was filled with dozens of theatre professionals who hadn’t seen each other en masse for well over a year and even with masks covering the majority of our faces, we knew each other across the crowded room and nothing could keep us from hugs and tears of pure joy.

The title sums up the issues human beings face on a daily basis as they search for that perfect partner, and once they find that perfect partner, that one they can love forever, they start trying to mold that person into something else.

Set designer and director Tom Width’s four extremely talented performers were more than up to the task of riding the wave of great emotion to new heights as they delivered inspired performances that elicited great laughs from the opening night audience. Each of the four: Rachel Marrs, Nicole Morris-Anastasi, Ian Page, and Luke Schares have at least one spotlight stealing moment, and most have several. They switch characters – and costumes – in the blink of an eye going from singles looking for a commitment to married parents excited by the fact that they will actually be able to have sex this evening.

I jotted down several vignettes that resonated with me, but the truth is, just about every single one of the segments scored with the audience. In particular, I recommend “Single Man Drought,” “I Will Be Loved Tonight,” “Hey There, Single Gal/Guy,” “Marriage Tango,” “On The Highway Of Love,” “The Very First Dating Video Of Rose Ritz,” and “I Can Live With That.”

Without a doubt, the highlight of the night kicks off the second act and is Rachel Marrs singing “Always A Bridesmaid” in a green outfit that defies description but once seen will live forever in memory. Speaking of costumes, Maura Lynch Cravey has outdone herself in putting together a series of outfits that fit each segment and are quickly changed in preparation for the next series.

Other technical wizardry is performed by Lighting Designer Joe Doran who manages transitions in mere seconds without losing the momentum in going from one scene to the next. In a revue, that’s not always an easy task.

Musical director and keyboardist Shellie Johnson is joined by Sheri Oyan on deeds, James Oyan on drums, and Greg DeBruyn on guitar and bass. It’s a small group in an intimate space and yet they make it sound like a much larger orchestra.

Fifteen months ago, Swift Creek Mill Playhouse was just about to open this play when the pandemic shut everything down – originally for two weeks so we could take the edge off. That didn’t quite work out. Then in August the theatre was hit with a terrible flood that hit their lower and upper dining rooms.

But they pushed on and have opened with a strong evening of theatre. For those of us who have missed the experience, this is a great return.