Jeff Casey believes everyone can relate to the musical, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” “It hits many different moments that people go through in a romantic relationship—whether it be the first date or after people have been together for a really long time,” Casey said.
That universality is the reason Casey, who is managing director of the acclaimed Towle Theater in Hammond, Indiana, agreed to guest direct at the Theatre of Western Springs (TWS) for the first time.
The show, by Joe DiPietro (book and lyrics) and Jimmy Roberts (music), has the honor of being the first musical staged by the 85-year-old theater company.
The show is structured as a series of vignettes covering the various aspects of love and relationships. Director Casey has found a couple of ways to tie the individual stories together.
He is staging the multiple restaurant scenes in one restaurant. “That’s one way to visually connect it,” Casey explained. He added, “We try to overlap certain scenes. One scene is starting in the background while another scene is finishing up.”
The nine-member cast includes husband and wife Ann Marie and Harry Hultgren of Indian Head Park. Ann Marie has been performing with TWS since 1986; Harry since 1987. This is the fourth time they’ve shared the TWS stage.
“If we don’t kill each other, it’s really nice,” Harry joked of acting with his wife. They both noted that they actually enjoy the opportunity to perform together and always help each other with lines.
Ann Marie sings “Single Man Drought” with three other actors. “It’s about women who are going on a date for the umpteenth time that are facing guys that are self absorbed,” she said.
Ann Marie feels fortunate to be singing, “I Will be Loved Tonight.” “It’s a beautiful song about a gal who is wanting a relationship,” she said.
Harry joins Ann Marie, “On the Highway of Love.” “It’s your average wonderful family until they get in the car and then it’s completely dysfunctional,” Harry related.
Harry also sings “Tear Jerk.” It’s about “a fellow who goes on a date with a girl. He lets her pick a movie and it’s a chick flick.”
He also sings, “I Can Live With That.” “It’s about a couple that meets at a funeral,” he said. “They’re both widowed and they strike up a December to December relationship.”
The Hultgrens also pair up in a non-singing scene called “Satisfaction Guaranteed.” Both laughed as Harry reported, “It’s about orgasms.”
The cast also includes Nancy Belda of Downers Grove, Lori D’Asta of La Grange, Tim Gannon of LaGrange Park, Kelli Kopp of Countryside, Joe Mills of Westchester, Pat Politano of LaGrange Park and Joe Savino of Chicago. William Underwood is the music director.Tags: Theatre of Western Springs