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September 13, 2002

'I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change' a musical look at love

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," a comic collection of musical vignettes about life, love and marriage, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, in Loeb Playhouse.

Admission is $24 for general public, $18 for Purdue students and children K-12. Tickets can be purchased at Purdue box offices or charged by phone at (765) 494-3933 or (800) 914-SHOW. Tickets also are available at all Ticketmaster outlets. "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" is presented by Purdue Convocations.

Through a series of sketches and songs, this celebration of the mating game takes on the truths and myths behind that contemporary conundrum known as "the relationship." Act I chronicles the journey from dating and waiting through love and marriage, with Act II devoted to such agonies and triumphs as in-laws, newborns and geriatric pick-up techniques at a funeral parlor.

This hilarious revue pays tribute to those who have loved and lost; to those who have fallen flat on their faces at the portal of romance, yet somehow manage to pick themselves up and come back for more. In others words, it is about all of us. Because the characters and situations are wide-ranging, everyone can find something and someone to relate to on the stage.

"I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" began as a series of sketches by Joe DiPietro called "Love Lemmings." After opening at the Village Gate in 1991, this riff on contemporary relationships soon developed a cult following. A friend suggested expanding the piece with music and introduced DiPietro to composer Jimmy Roberts.

When Joel Bishoff became attached as the director, he sought out the opinion of his mentor, James Hammerstein, for whom he had often served as assistant director. Hammerstein was so encouraged by the material's potential that he signed on as a producer. The revue metamorphosed into "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" with Hammerstein nurturing it through its 1995 premiere at the American Stage Company. He joined forces with producers Bernie Kukoff and Jonathan Pollard and the triumvirate ushered the show through a subsequent production at the Long Wharf Theatre and into New York, where it opened Aug. 1, 1996.

When the Newark Star-Ledger declared it, "'Seinfeld' set to pop music!" the stage was set for what was destined to become the ultimate "date show" in more ways than even its creators might have imagined. It became common for couples to nudge one another giddily throughout performances as they recognized themselves, friends and family in the revue's sharply drawn characters and situations. And to see a suitor's arm creep around his sweetheart's shoulder during one of the more tender songs became a frequent sight as well.

But no one was prepared for the events at a performance in July 1997 when an eager young swain leapt onto the stage (with the producers' blessing), and proposed to his girlfriend. He slipped a diamond ring on her finger and the audience gave the beaming couple a standing ovation. The production has hosted numerous such onstage engagements since.

There is a song in the show that chronicles a suburban family's difficult car trip. Fortunately, the revue itself has proven to travel much more happily.

When the show made its West Coast premiere, the Los Angeles Times hailed it as "One of the most clever, buoyant musical revues about sex, love and dating in years ... A savvy blend of full-bodied sketch comedy, witty lyrics and fresh music."

In its Chicago premiere, the Chicago Sun Times found it to be "An engaging musical," while the Toronto Sun called that city's premiere, "So funny! So true!" In Florida, where the musical won three Carbonell Awards, including Best Musical, the Miami Herald declared it, "Full of fun and delightfully witty ... sophisticated and sardonic yet ultimately affectionate." The Houston Chronicle opined, "I LOVE YOU ... returns the musical revue to the glory days." Testifying to the universality of the material, productions in Tel Aviv, London and Germany have been similarly embraced.

When the off-Broadway production opened, critics extolled it as "entirely winning" (Gannet Newspapers) with "catchy tunes and witty lyrics" (Variety) and possessing "enormous zest and charm" (New York Daily News). Last year, "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" became the longest running off-Broadway revue in history.

CONTACT: Larry Sommers, Purdue Convocations, (765) 494-5045, lsommers@purdue.edu; http://www.convos.purdue.edu.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: A publication-quality photograph of "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" is available at ftp://ftp.purdue.edu/pub/uns/perfect.jpeg

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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