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‘I Love You, You’re Perfect’ hasn’t changed

By |2009-02-19T09:00:00-05:00February 19th, 2009|Entertainment|

By D. A. Blackburn

It’s been more than 12 years since Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts gave the world “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” and much has, in fact, changed since its opening in 1996. Sadly, their hit musical has not evolved. While the old saying about fixing things that aren’t broke holds true in most cases, “I Love You,” which plays at Detroit’s Gem Theatre through March 5, is beginning to feel a little tired.
The production, which chronicles the trials of love and dating, draws on a variety of well-worn cliches to earn laughs. Though the stereotypes depicted maintain truth today, I cannot help but think that an updated sequel would be more fun.
After all, there’s a wealth of love-related material to be explored – the explosion of internet dating, bi-racial couples and same-sex equality issues among them. And it’s this last one that strikes me most significantly. “I Love You” is entirely heterosexual. Pop culture may have embraced the LGBT lifestyle, but “I Love You” certainly hasn’t.
The characters in “I Love You” are, literally, still chatting on AOL, and though a passing reference to (launched in 1995) may have been hilarious in 1996, it’s pretty weak in the era of Dr. Neil Clark Warren. Moreover, the cast of this production is bi-racial, but there’s not a single mention of dating across racial lines.
But all that said, “I Love You” does produce some – albeit, pretty innocent – laughs. And Robert’s jazzy, up-tempo score still has a lot of life left in it, particularly in the talented hands of accompanist/music director Kim Douglas Steiner, whose work at the keys was a high point in the show.
Likewise, the cast wins favor with their excellent vocal work – Sophia Hinshelwood’s rich tones are to-die-for. The show’s inventive choreography, too, charms.
With the Gem slashing all tickets to $25, “I Love You” is a prime theatrical opportunity for Valentine’s Day, or perhaps, that awkward first date that so much of the musical centers on.

‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’
The Gem Theatre, 333 Madison St., Detroit. Wed.-Sun. through March 29. Tickets: $25. For information: 313-963-9800 or

About the Author:

Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.
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