August 1, 2008

The Return of ‘Love’

By Paulette Tobin, Grand Forks Herald, N.D.

Aug. 1--It's deja vu all over again for the four-person cast of "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," a musical comedy that runs Tuesday through Aug. 9 in Grand Forks' Empire Arts Center presented by Crimson Creek Players.

That's because of the four -- Debra Berger, Darin Kerr, Jared Kinney and Misti Koop -- all starred in the same show at the Empire in February 2007.

"This is actually my third time, because I did it a few years ago in Crookston," Kerr said Tuesday afternoon, as he and two fellow cast members and producer Ben Klipfel prepared to assemble the set.

"But we've all done it before. So it's like, what did we like from last time and what do we want to improve upon," Kerr said.

Actually, the 2007 cast had six players, so with two fewer people, the current cast won't be playing all of the exact same characters it did the first time around.

"I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" is a revue that features vignettes built around a multitude of characters and situations, exploring the exhilaration and heartache of those who have loved and lost, those who've fallen on their face in the pursuit of love and those who are still trying to find love.

Stage time

Among them, the four actors have three master's degrees in theater and have performed in more than 100 shows in Grand Forks and the region. All currently have parts in "Les Miserables" at Frost Fire Theatre near Walhalla, N.D., (which ends Sunday) and Kerr and Berger also are in the cast of "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" (which wraps tonight).

With that in mind, the four are directing the show themselves. Klipfel and Job Christenson, who this summer is a featured player at the Medora Musical, are producing.

"I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" opened a little more than 10 years ago and is favored by audiences for its funny and poignant romantic situations and for its great music. It's also a great "date night" show, Kerr pointed out.

Not over the top

For the post- "Will and Grace" world, the show's themes are provocative but not cutting edge. The people and situations portrayed are middle class and heterosexual, with humor (as is often the case in shows like these) based on kitsch and stereotypes.

"They're not exactly deep characters," Klipfel said.

The audience in 2007 -- those who made it to the theater during a spell of especially wintry weather -- liked the show, and many requested that it return, cast members said. With the collapse of Crimson Creek's plans to present "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" because of casting concerns, "I Love You" was ready for a comeback.

Shows will be at 7:30 nightly Tuesday through Aug. 8 and at 2 p.m. Aug. 9. Tickets will be $15 and $18 and are available at the Chester Fritz box office, (701) 777-4090.

Reach Tobin at (701) 780-1134; (800) 477-6572, ext. 134; or send e-mail to [email protected]


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