Come Aug. 1, the Off-Broadway musical I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change will celebrate its second anniversary at the Westside Theatre.
Asked why the NY Perfect/Change has remained a strong seller while other productions have fallen by the wayside, NY production spokesperson Jim Randolph said, "It's the ultimate date musical. Couples young and old can find things to relate to in the piece, as it ranges from having a baby to old age. There's even a pick-up at a funeral. It's a show for lovers of all ages."
Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts' songs in Perfect/Change, including "Cantata For A First Date," "Tear Jerk," "A Stud And A Babe," and "I Can Live With That," are available on the show's original cast recording on Varese/Sarabande.
Currently in the cast are Adam Grupper, Kevin Pariseau, Erin Leigh Peck and Cheryl Stern. Joel Bishoff directs, with Neil Peter Jampolis designing the set. Bishoff has also staged the show at NJ's American Stage, CT's Long Wharf, in Toronto, and on the West Coast. Previously, He served as associate director on the national tours of My Fair Lady and The King And I (with Stacy Keach).
Apr. 22, 1997 Di Pietro received the New Voices In American Theatre Award, given by the William Inge Theatre Festival in Independence, KS. He took the honor as an outstanding newcomer to the field. Productions of Perfect/Change are planned for Australia and Tel Aviv, and a current mounting at L.A.'s Laguna Playhouse was recently extended to Aug. 23.
Perfect's producers James Hammerstein, Bernie Kukoff and Jonathan Pollard are so pleased with the piece, they've commissioned another musical from creators Roberts (music), DiPietro (book and lyrics) and Bishoff (direction). The property they'll be tuning up is the German film, Men, a big art-house hit of 1986.
"It's a very modern love triangle comedy," says DiPietro, "but it's got a little of The Guardsman in it, and it has some of the same issues as I Love You, You're Perfect.
"I felt the plot itself was great, but I thought I could make it funnier. Basically, it's about a middle-class suburban couple who are cheating on each other. He's an advertising executive who comes home one day and finds his wife with her lover, and he follows them home to the lover's East Village loft. The lover is a longhaired bohemian artist who never settled down. Turns out, he needs a roomate so the husband moves in and starts trying to change him."
There are two unusual things about the film Men: One, it was a comedy -- from Germany, which is not famous for comical output. Two, it was directed by a woman, Doris Dorrie, more or less putting her on the map of international filmmakers. Indeed, it brought her to Hollywood, where she managed to get off at least one notoriously weird little movie, Me and Him, starring Griffin Dunne. It was about a man and his penis, and the screenplay was by Warren Leight, who's enjoying great Broadway acclaim for his hit, Sideman.
DiPietro has also written a non-musical and expects it'll see the light of Off-Broadway before Men. It's called Over the River and Through the Woods, and it will be directed by Bishoff and produced by the same Perfect trio -- plus Tony Converse, a TV producer who was the play's dramaturg when it was presented at the O'Neill Center three years ago.
"It has had four productions since then -- at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, the Helen Hayes Theatre up in Nyack and others -- and it's in pretty good shape. It's about four Italian-American grandparents and their grandson trying to understand one another. It's very much about my family so it's very personal. They've seen it. Two grandparents have passed on, and one got to see it right before she died. The other two are alive and around 90. They get a kick out of it because they can see snatches of their lives and they can see who is supposed to be who."