Congratulations to Joe DiPietro, author and lyricist for the Off-Broadway hit, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. On April 22 he 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, while veteran playwright Neil Simon received the organization's Distinguished Achievement citation.
I Love You..., at the Westside Theatre, has been nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical. "I just got back from the Inge Festival a couple of days ago," DiPietro told Playbill On-Line. "It was quite elaborate. The people were not only quite nice -- as they tend to be in the midwest -- but quite knowledgeable about theatre. I was at a bar and this woman came over and stuck a Playbill for I Love You, You're Perfect in my face -- she'd seen the show in New York with her young daughter and really wanted to talk about it."
Very soon New Yorkers won't be the only ones to enjoy this revue of the joys of dating, marriage and parenthood (although Off-Broadway patrons can enjoy special Tuesday pre-show seminars hosted by specialists on dating.) Perfect/Change will begin rehearsals May 5 for a June 11 in Toronto. Joel Bishoff, who staged the Off-Broadway version, is again directing, casting the production with Toronto talent. Laguna Beach, CA, will see the show in November, with a Los Angeles transfer likely. DiPietro says the current NY cast "would love to do the show in L.A.," and the move would come at a time when they'd be likely to leave the Off Broadway mounting anyway. (For example, Danny Burstein will be going into Barry Manilow's Harmony at La Jolla.)
A recent non-musical by DiPietro, Over The River And Through The Woods, received a reading at the Inge Festival, featuring Polly Holliday and Eileen Heckart. The show, first mounted at American Stage Company in 1996, will get a full staging at the Berkshire Festival this summer and is targeted for the Helen Hayes Theatre in Nyack, NY afterwards, with an eye ultimately towards NYC.
DiPietro's latest, The Kiss At City Hall, has already been optioned by James Hammerstein. "The first reading of it was in New Jersey," said DiPietro, "featuring Jim Bracchitta, Kathleen McNenny and Andy Polk, actors who work constantly in New York. I'd just finished the play and he [Hammerstein] called and said he wanted to do it. The first stop will be the Cape Cod Theatre Project for a workshop in early July." As if these projects weren't enough to keep DiPietro busy: "I've just started writing the book of another musical with Jimmy Roberts [who co wrote Perfect/Change]. There's a 1986 German movie called "Men," which I thought would make a good smaller-to-midsize musical. We're starting on that as we speak, we're spending two or three months just doing the book, making sure it's solid."
--By David Lefkowitz