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REVIEWS

Review: LPC Returns with a Laugh to the Denver Center


I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is back! With 1,731 performances under it’s belt, the 2000 – 2004 production of the musical made it the longest running musical in Colorado – and it is easy to see why audiences are so attracted to this delight. A revue-style musical, LPC (as some casually call it) takes you through several sketches depicting the best and the worst of romantic relationships. Four actors (two men and two women) showcase a range of personalities as they struggle to find and keep love. With so many characters, it’s hard for anyone to not find some person and/or situation with which to connect. This time the Denver Center has brought back the original Director (Ray Roderick) and one of the performers from last time around (Shannan Steele) but the three remaining cast members are all new and all bring their own lovely additions to the show.

Denver Center Shows Full Spectrum of Love

HE SAID:  Love is what it’s all about – plain and simple. The search for it and the chaotic situations that can rise from it are issues to which we can all relate, because we have all been in any one (probably many) of the scenes played out before us in this show. Are all of the bits home-runs to everybody all of the time? No. But every bit is a home-run to at least one person all of the time, and that is the point. The nervousness of a first date, the pursuit of acceptance, frozen feet, children, break-ups. It is all there, played in front of you, begging you to head out after and share those awkward yet lovely (or is it just awkward) stories from your own life. It is a fun piece, with some heart coming through towards the end, that will stir up some forgotten moments in your dating past.

SHE SAID: I agree with you that the writing in this show is somewhat scattershot — one scene might appeal to the young single ladies in the audience, another to the couple that’s been married for decades. For me, some of the scenes moved faster than others, and some had denser comedy than others. There were a few that dragged a little — and to me that’s because some of it seemed slightly dated. It premiered on Broadway in 1996, and so some of the situations and language that were VERY cutting edge and even shocking have been somewhat diluted, and now only elicit mild chuckles. Other moments have stood the test of time quite well (and love is timeless, so that helps), and I laughed aloud several times, but it didn’t have the nonstop, building energy of a runaway train.

Moments of Perfection Add Heart to Comedy

HE SAID: None of it felt dated to me. I did wonder if there was room in the script to alter it to include LGBT characters and relationships, but that is outside of this review. You are right that there some moments that just got a chuckle, but there were others that were pretty perfect. Lauren Shealey’s scene “He Called Me” was incredibly funny and fantastic character choice. Daniel Langhoff’s monologue as the prison convict was side-splitting. Robert Michael Sanders and Shannon Steele as the Stud and Babe duo was unexpected and hilarious. But the truly perfect moment in the night came with Shannon Steele’s monologue towards the end of the show “The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz”. It was undoubtedly funny in moments, but it was without question the most moving point in the show. Perfectly beautiful.

SHE SAID: You’re right, maybe dated is the wrong word, just not especially current. I think it would be awesome if it were updated with more inclusive views of romance and relationships. The cast of four were already tasked with a wide range of different characters. Sanders especially excelled at making each character distinct, both with different speaking voices and well-matched physicalities. Shealey was endlessly endearing, no matter the role. Langoff was eerily, convincingly elderly in one of his most touching scenes with Shealey. But for me, Steele really shone throughout. What was remarkable was that she did it with a lovely ease — now to be fair, she’s the only one of the four who was in the previous production of LPC, but she had a confidence that permeated each of her performances and her singing voice that was really special to watch. 

Technical Elements Leave Room for Changes

HE SAID:  All four did an admirable job performing the multiple characters, but there could have been more variation all around. Sometimes it just felt like a simple vocal or physical change without any real substantive shift in the character. My biggest issues were on the production side of things. I thought the sound was light, which is somewhat understandable given there are only two musicians for the show. Still, I was hoping for more at times. I also didn’t love the set. It had rotating elements, which was practical and fun allowing for some creative shifts, but the design didn’t seem connected to much. With the look of the poster art, I guess I expected it to have a more of a similar retro vibe, which would be easily doable with the light up panels. Instead of retro, it was the part of the show for me that actually felt dated.

SHE SAID: The rotating set served the multiple locations required for this revue-style show quite well. And while I agree with you that it at some points seemed a little thin, I didn’t mind. The music supports the show, and a few times is the main focus of the scene, but there were many times when the music was pleasant but not entirely necessary. Although it wasn’t always very fast-paced, the style of the show ensured that something else enjoyable was just on the horizon.

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Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Laugh

THEY SAID: For the Denver Center, it must have been a no brainer when it came to the decision to remount a production of the musical that holds the record for longest running musical in Colorado. They just got finished mounting two world premiere productions, so it’d be hard at this point to say they are playing it safe. No – they are just playing it smart. People loved this show the last time around, and while we can’t really compare the two productions, for those who are really interested in knowing whether or not it stacks up, we can say that as an independent production the show is wonderful. Despite a few desired changes, we generally loved the show and actually found moments of pure perfection.

He Said She Said Denver theater theatre

For more information on I  Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, see the wikipedia page. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change plays through June 24 at the Garner Galleria Theater at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Click the banner above for tickets and more information.

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