CULTUR E PRO F I LES
"IN ONE SCENE, I'M A GUY BORING HIS DATE, AND IN ANOTHER, I'M AN OLD MAN TRYING TO PICK UP A DATE AT A FUNERAL."
>> I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change The second-longest running Off-Broadway musical is taking the stage at the Firehouse Brewing Theatre in downtown rapid City the month of march. "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" tackles the joys and difficulties of connecting with another person at almost every stage of a relationship. The tagline says it all by explaining the show as "everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives, and inlaws, but were always afraid to admit." Actress Leslie Hencke Villa says that even though she is married, a lot of the single scenes resurface the happy (and mortifying) phases of her life. Leslie explained, "The opening number we are all getting ready for a first date.And although we are filled with anticipation and hope, we're also mildly annoyed that we have to do the first date process again. I have definitely spent ages getting ready for a date, only to have the guy not care or not be worth the effort!" Rehearsals have also been a "whirlwind" in the mere four weeks they've had practice, especially with only four people in the ensemble - two men and two women. This means some performers have had to take on more than 15 roles in one production. Actor Ben Villa (who is married to Leslie) says this gives them definite range. "In one scene, I'm a guy boring his date, and in another, I'm an old man trying to pick up a date at a funeral," he said. The musical, written by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts, was nominated for the Outer Critics Circle Award as Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical in 1997. Songs like "A Stud and a Babe," "Why? 'Cause I' m a Guy," and "Always a Bridesmaid" are what drew actor Blake Benson to join the cast.
16 // MARCH 2017
"There are great lyrics and harmonies in this production, and most of the songs are ridiculous and hilarious," said Benson. While a lot of the show is comical, the issues the cast covers are a rollercoaster of emotions. Leslie explained, "The show references being single and happy, children, marital troubles, divorce, and eventually being alone after one's partner passed away. Everything is addressed." The Firehouse Brewing Theatre only seats 90, and is a great, intimate setting to take in the play. "The cast can see you, and they feed off of your energy," said Leslie. "Also, there's a bar in the theater..."
When: March 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 7:30 p.m. Where: Firehouse Brewing Theatre 610 Main Street Rapid City, SD 57701 Tickets Available: brewingtheatre.com (605) 716-9463 $20
With a craft brew in hand or not, the cast is most excited about watching the reactions of the audience and to see their emotions as raw and relatable topics are front and center. "Theater has the ability to help people deal with life without having to address the specific issues," said Ben. "Whether itâ€™s a brief distraction from the day-to-day stresses, or if something in the show relates to your situation specifically... theater is a lot of things for a lot of people." Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at brewingtheatre.com, at Firehouse Wine Cellars, or by calling (605) 716-9463.