If the production of “I Love You, You’re Perfect… Now Change” that opened Friday, February 17th at the Joslyn Center is any barometer, the dreaded “sophomore season jinx” isn’t going to be a factor in this company of actors. Building on its highly successful first season (“Lend Me a Tenor” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”), Colleen Kelley’s Palm Desert Stage Company bursts onto the stage of the Arthur Newman Theatre with its first production of the 2012 desert theatre season with energy, style, panache and an abundance of talent.
The company of six singer/actors, which includes, Lou Galvan, Shannon Hooper, Theresa Jewett, Colleen Kelley, Mathew Shaker, and Raul Valenzuela, sparkle and shine in delivering the extremely clever lyrics, music and book by Broadway veterans Joe Di Pietro and Jimmie Roberts.
“I Love You, You’re Perfect … Now Change”, is a highly amusing and entertaining homage to the resiliency of the human condition. It’s “pitch-perfect” when it comes to the inevitable journey on the bumpy road we humans call life. We may detour off course occasionally, but we soon get back on track, thanks to our personal GPS networks, and begin again to search for life’s illusive brass ring …love.
A great deal of the credit for the success of the production goes to director/choreographer Jeanette Telders Knight for her vision, creativity, and seamless direction. She and her company of talented performers handle the 26 musical numbers and skits in such a manner that one is guaranteed lots of laughs, lots of knowing smiles, and, yes, even, a tear or two.
There are too many winning musical numbers to list here, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a couple of standout numbers: “I Will be Loved Tonight” poignantly sung by Colleen Kelley (the company’s founder and executive producer) is an affecting song rendered with feeling that reaches out and grabs the audience. “He Called Me” performed by Theresa Jewett, Raul Valenzuela, Mathew Shaker, and Colleen Kelley is another crowd pleaser. Lou Galvan and Theresa Jewett brilliantly carry off the clever riff on first dates followed by second and third dates, with exceptional comic timing. Theresa Jewett’s rendition of “Always a Bridesmaid” may bring a lot of laughs, but one could feel the pain of always “being second” lurking just beneath the surface of her performance. When it came to Shannon Hooper and Theresa Jewett’s comic duet number, “Single Man Drought”, it appeared to me that a great many of the female audience members related to it with nodding heads and chuckles.
Concerning the smooth and quick costume changes; it may look easy but most savvy audiences know better. Thanks to Technical Director Nick Cox, Stage Manager Stephanie Greenwood and Colleen Kelley who also costumed the show, the production has a slick and quality look to it.
Opening Night was sold out and the remainder of the run looks the same. However, there are some remaining seats for Saturday, February 25th at 2 pm, and again at 7 pm. The show closes on Sunday, February 26th following the 2 pm Matinee. It would be a shame to miss this fun and entertaining show. For reservations and ticket information call 760-636-9682.