AMANA — I love you. You’re perfect. Don’t change.
That’s my advice to the cast of the engaging launch of Old Creamery Theatre’s VIP — Very Intimate Performance — Series.
Management chose wisely to revive the studio production format by seating the audience onstage for a more visceral immersion into the world unfolding at their feet.
And nothing is more intimate than the song and dance version of love, American style, unfolding through April 14 in “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.”
Seldom are the words “adorable” and “adult theater” used in the same sentence, but for this show, those words mingle at the right time, in the right place. The four-person series of vignettes on dating and marriage create a match made in heaven for a couple’s night out, a girls’ night out, a not-easily-shocked night out and a laugh-out-loud night out.
Leave the kids at home. This one is for grown-ups, and Wednesday’s preview audience of singles, couples, newlyweds, parents and grandparents howled throughout. If you have a pulse, you’ll see yourself somewhere in the lineup of hookups, breakups and makeups.
“It’s not the usual Old Creamery fare,” director Sean McCall said beforehand. “We like to serve all tastes.”
This one swirls in something old, something new, something borrowed and something just slightly blue, through a light sprinkling of adult language and hilarious sexual situations. The show premiered off-Broadway in 1996, where it became the longest-running musical revue, closing in 2008 after 5,003 performances. It’s been performed around the world, and in 2018, received a spruce-up to incorporate some new music and modern twists and turns, from speed dating and swiping right to texting and sexting.
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Act I follows the foibles of dating and mating rituals, while Act II delves into marriage, parenthood and life after death of a spouse. The latter scenario is especially sweet, as two seniors test the waters at a wake, with a wink.
McCall has assembled a great cast of triple-threats who sing, dance and act their way through all the ages and stages of love. Katie Colletta, Kent Reynolds and real-life couple Morgan McDowell and Emily Seibert charm the socks off every song and situation.
They make about a gazillion costume changes in the blink of an eye, and deftly move six boxes into various configurations, creating couches, an altar, a family car for family meltdowns, a Thanksgiving dinner table where no one ends up thankful, a coffin and of course, beds. All of the action plays out against a clever black curtain sporting 45 emojis surrounding a heart-shaped Tunnel of Love entrance, with letters appropriately askew.
All of the scenes are either funny or poignant, or a tango of the two. But some of the highlights include:
• The opening number, in which the men and women jump through elaborate hygienic hoops to prepare for blind dates that may very well tank;
• A nerd date where Colletta and Reynolds make the sweetest awkward small talk and break out some wicked dated dance moves, like the Lawnmower, Cabbage Patch and Macarena;
• The preppy v. redneck dates where the women pretend to listen and care about the guys’ golf and monster truck obsessions;
• McDowell and Seibert’s chick flick date — guess who cries?
• A gospel wedding full of cold feet tap-dancing around the vows;
• Colletta’s footloose and fancy free single woman trying to fit into the foreign world of her best friends, a male couple who fawn over their baby’s every whimper (think Mitch, Cam and Sal from “Modern Family”);
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• Reynolds and Seibert’s exhausted parents’ tango, and several scenes and 30 years later, the totally sweet moment over their morning coffee, where Reynolds sings, “Shouldn’t I Be Less In Love With You?”
• And the perpetually poignant “Funerals are for Dating,” featuring a shy Seibert and a ready McDowell.
It’s so easy to fall head over heels in love with this wedding of opposites and attractions.
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If You Go
• What: “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”
• Where: Old Creamery Theatre, 39 38th Ave., Amana
• When: To April 14; 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Thursday and Sunday
• Tickets: $32.50 adults, $20 students, theater box office, (319) 622-6262 or Oldcreamery.com
• Seating: On stage
• Rated: R (mature language, themes)