Arts & Theater

Cast makes the most of ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’

Melinda Parrett and Jake Mahler in Sacramento Theatre Company’s “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”
Melinda Parrett and Jake Mahler in Sacramento Theatre Company’s “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”

The musical “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” works like a casual shoulder massage. Mildly diverting, it’ll get the knots out for a bit, but you’ll eventually need something stronger.

The musical revue, which just opened at the Sacramento Theatre Company’s Pollock Stage, has many moments – funny, sad, sentimental, cloying, and sometimes moving. Loosely arranged around the arc of a romantic relationship and also the passage of life, the musical comedy has become a national “comfort theater” staple. Premiering in 1995 with book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts, it is the second-longest running Off Broadway musical of all time.

The show utilizes four actors, two women and two men, Jake Mahler, Jennifer Morrison, David Crane, and Melinda Parrett here. The cast is more than up to the multiple vocal and broad comedic demands of the script, which helps the more saccharine elements of the show fade away. Much of the humor comes from a mocking of WASP dating rituals and conventions, the jokes are alternately corny and cornier, but the deliveries are solid and the skits rarely overstay.

After the opening “Cantata for a First Date” the quartet work in pairs with Mahler and Parrett teaming for “A Stud and Babe” about two people who are neither. Crane and Morrison have a duet on the very funny “Tear Jerk” in which the man let’s the woman choose the movie to unexpected comic effect. Songs like the obvious, overdone “Why? Because I’m A Guy” don’t have much to say, but there are strong moments in the second act.

Melinda Parret has two poignant bittersweet solo turns with “Always a Bridesmaid” and “The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz.” Jake Mahler charms with “Shouldn’t I Be Less In Love With You?” and David Crane and Jennifer Morrison get the most out the old-folks’ seduction piece “I Can Live With That.”

The live piano was performed by Chris Schlagel (Samuel Clein will also play) and violinist Annie Coker. Director Jerry Lee believes in the harmless material, which is all it needs.

Marcus Crowder: 916-321-1120, @marcuscrowder

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

What: The Joe DiPietro-Jimmy Roberts musical revue with Melinda Parrett, Jake Mahler, David Crane and Jennifer Morrison. Jerry Lee directs.

Where: Sacramento Theatre Company, Pollock Stage, 1419 H St., Sacramento

When: Through Sunday, Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays and 2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays

Cost: $15-$30

Information: 916-443- 6722; www.sactheatre.org

Running time: 2 hours and five minutes, including one intermission.

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