From March 16 to 18, Houghton Lyric Theater will present the musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Unlike most musicals, the show does not follow a unified set of characters through the entire performance. Instead, every song is sung by new characters in a new situation. The arc follows the stages of love and relationship with another person. It begins with showcasing scenes portraying the beginning stages of dating, both the good and the bad. Act One ends with marriage. Act Two goes on to demonstrate the struggles and blessings of marriage, old age, and looking for companionship after losing a loved one.
Amanda Cox, instructor of voice, is directing this year’s musical, and had only wonderful things to say regarding the four person cast. The performers in this show include Kingsley Kolek ’18, Shawn Passero ’18, Lauren Grifoni ’19, and Daniel Bussey ’20.
“The cast is just fantastic, versatile, and flexible,” Cox said. “I was amazed at how prepared they are, and how willing they are to push boundaries with the characters they are playing.”
This is not Cox’s first directing experience. Previously, she taught lyric theater and directed many shows in community theater as well. “Professor Cox is sweet, brilliant and hilarious,” said Grifoni. “She has given us lots of freedom for deciding aspects of our characters. She is also a really good dance choreographer and has taught me a lot about the tango.”
However, theater does not come without obstacle. Cox commented on the costume changes needed to be carefully planned and executed, as there are costume changes for every performer in every scene. Grifoni and Passero talked about the difficulty of portraying different characters, and how that has pushed them as actors. Passero said, “Needing to have different voices, and sometimes different accents, throughout the show can get pretty challenging.” Grifoni added, “We all play a ton of different characters and it really has tested out acting. I get to play a nine year old girl, an elderly woman, and everyone in between.”
One acting exercise that has helped with this task has had the cast performing a song on stage while Cox held up cards with different emotions written on them. The performer would then have to portray each emotion as it was held up throughout the song. Cox has challenged the students to think of each character as a brand new slate, and not to let any aspect of a different character bleed through between scenes as every scene is different than the last.
The student cast members all say that they have been touched by this show in one way or another. When anyone is performing as a character, they undergo the wonderful possibility of learning something about themselves.
“I find that with any show you will walk away with something you didn’t have before; whether that is a new outlook or knowing that you just spent two hours laughing through an incredible experience,” Passero explained. Grifoni went further and shared, “What is cool about this show is that it shows that love can be complicated and that is a good thing. There are times when love is great and there are times when love causes you the worst kind of pain, but all of it is so rewarding. The nice thing about the musical is that it treats all of these concepts light-heartedly and is very satirical. It is relatable to anyone, no matter what age you are.”
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change will be performed this weekend in the Recital Hall. Cox said, “This is a fantastic show. It is hilarious, touching, and I think that people will have an amazing time.”