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Show Guide for I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change

Show Guide for I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change

An overview of courtship practices through the ages and a history of this musical comedy

The Show

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change explores contemporary heterosexual courtship by using two time-tested coping mechanisms for the traumas and elations of love—humor and music.

I Love You, You’re Perfect reveals the difficulties and joys of connecting with another person at nearly every stage of life. Four actors play over 40 roles in a collection of scenes and songs scaling the dizzying spectrum of male/female relationships. Act I takes a joyfully satiric look at being single in today’s world, and Act II turns its attention to married life.

This musical comedy review uses song styles as varied as country-Western ditties, tangos and ballads. Each number explores those secret thoughts anyone’s had about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives, and in-laws, but was afraid to admit. Any ritual in the jungle of the modern-day mating game is fun fodder for the satire of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.

The show premiered in 1995 at New Jersey’s American Stage Company. In the middle of one early performance, a woman in the audience blurted out, “This is my life!”  From that moment on, the creators knew they were on to something.

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change ran for 12 years Off-Broadway and has been seen on five continents. Its exploration of dating and relationships is universal; the show has been translated into 13 languages, including Hebrew, Spanish, Dutch, Hungarian, Czech, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Portuguese, German, Catalan, Finnish and Mandarin.

The Creators

Author and lyricist Joe DiPietro wrote the book and lyrics to the international hits I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (1995) and The Thing About Men (2003), both with composer Jimmy Roberts.

DiPietro’s other shows include:

  • Over the River and Through the Woods (1994)
  • They All Laughed! (2001)
  • All Shook Up on Broadway (2004)
  • Memphis (2008) (with composer David Bryan of Bon Jovi)
  • The Toxic Avenger Musical (2009) (with Bryan)

Composer Jimmy Roberts wrote music for I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (1995). The Thing About Men, his second collaboration with lyricist Joe DiPietro, won the 2004 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical. Roberts also composed for:

  • A...My Name Is Still Alice (1992)
  • Over the River and Through the Woods (1994)
  • The Velveteen Rabbit (1998)
  • The theme for PBS’ “Theater Talk”
  • The Truth About Light (2007) (with librettist/lyricist Warner Brown)

Courtship Practices Through the Ages

The word “honeymoon” comes from an old French custom. A warrior often stole his bride from another tribe. The new couple would hide out from the girl’s home tribe for an entire lunar cycle. During their time undercover, the couple would drink metheglin, mead made from honey.

Not every courtship practice helped couples stay chaste, not even the ones meant to promote chastity. In 16th- and 17th-century Europe and America, courting couples shared a bed at the family house of the girl. The practice—called bundling—was meant to provide intimacy without sexual contact, though there are instances in Colonial America of bundling leading to premarital pregnancy. For bundling, the couple was fully clothed and separated by a bundling board or a bolster cover tied over the girl’s legs.

Did you imagine such a thing as a romantic utensil? Lovespoons date back to 17th-century Wales. A young man carved ornate wooden spoons from a single piece of wood and then gave his handiwork to his intended sweetheart as a token of affection and intention of marriage.

More familiar to today’s dating practices than well-made utensils are the use of flowers to express affection. The language of flowers was an important part of courtship in Victorian England. Victorians used floriography to express sentiments that could not be spoken aloud. Most of the language of the flowers expressed romantic or platonic love, though there were flowers like the lobelia, which symbolized malevolence, and aconite, which expressed misanthropy. 

Today, the Dai people of China still practice an ancient custom called “visiting girls.” Young ladies gather around a bonfire and work at their spinning wheels. The young men only approach the fire if they see a woman they’re interested in. If the woman returns the interest, she pulls a stool out from under her long skirt and the man can sit beside her. In return, he wraps a red blanket around her.

Many cultures see marriage as literally a tie that binds. In some African cultures, long grasses are braided together and used to tie the hands of the bride and groom together.

In a Hindu Vedic wedding ceremony, delicate twine is used to bind the bride's hand to one of the hands of the groom. Sometimes in Mexico, a ceremonial rope is loosely place around both of the necks of the bride and groom to "bind" them together.

In noble circles of medieval Italy, once a bachelor negotiated with a girl’s family, he presented her with a diamond ring. Sound familiar? The custom of betrothal rings dates back to the Romans and was adopted by 13th-century Christians. But through the Victorian ages, birthstones—not diamonds—were customary in these rings. In the late 1800s, the discovery of diamond mines in Africa made the gem inexpensive enough for men to give diamond rings to their intended bride. The DeBeers diamond company hit a slump in 1919 and, after two decades of declining business, launched an advertising campaign to boost sales. In 1947, Frances Gerety—a female copywriter, who, as it happened, never married—wrote the line “A Diamond is Forever” and secured the diamond ring’s place as indicative of engaged status.

Selected songs from the show

Act 1

  • “Cantata for a First Date”
  • “A Stud and a Babe”
  • “Single Man Drought”
  • “Why? 'Cause I'm a Guy”
  • “Tear Jerk”
  • “I Will Be Loved Tonight”

Act 2

  • “Always a Bridesmaid”
  • “Marriage Tango”
  • “On the Highway of Love”
  • “Shouldn't I Be Less In Love With You?”
  • “Funerals are for Dating”
  • “I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change”


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