‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ at Epic Productions, Inc.

Epic Productions, Inc.’s inaugural production of the popular musical I Love You, Your Perfect,  Now Change, with book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts, is being performed at Ciao Bella, a fine Italian restaurant located in Little Italy in Baltimore.

 John Dellaporta, Michael Kenny, Emily Levey and Tara Taylor at Ciao Bella Restaurant. Photo courtesy Epic Productions, Inc.
John Dellaporta, Michael Kenny, Emily Levey, and Tara Taylor at Ciao Bella Restaurant. Photo courtesy of Epic Productions, Inc.

This wonderful production of I Love You, Your Perfect, is so masterfully done that you become so absorbed in the stories and vignettes sung and acted by a terrific cast. The book and lyrics are contemporary and humorous, and the musical moves along quickly.

Director David C. Jennings and Choreographer Jamie Eacker, make wonderful use of the small area portioned as the “stage.” The use of props is quite inventive and often these objects substitute for set. The use of a held sheet to create a bedroom is a perfect example of this in the scene “Satisfaction Guaranteed” which is one of the funniest amid this humorous lineup. The use of cloaks and the beginning and end as costumes creates the effect of a curtain for the audience, raising the cover from the shrouded actors to reveal their characters in Scene I. At the end when they reappear with the cloaks it tells us the “curtain” is closing.

The actors changed characters effortlessly from scene to scene. Michael Kenny becomes a menacing mass murdered in “Scared Straight” and a flummoxed father in “The Family that Drives Together.” Both he and Tara Taylor delightfully play an older couple on a first meeting in “Funerals are for Dating” and Ms. Levey hits just the right chords in “The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz.” John Dellaporta and Emily Levey have fantastic chemistry in “A Stud and a Babe” exposing the real thoughts of average people when they are first dating. Mr. Dellaporta also deftly characterizes all new fathers in “Whatever Happened to Baby’s Parents?,” and Ms. Levey gives a standout portrayal in, “The Lasagna Incident.” All four were hilarious, playing parents, child and ex-girlfriend, in “Now the Parents”. (All the Scenes are titled with such unusual names that you can’t wait to find out what they mean).

I want to also mention the excellent musical direction by Charlotte Evans. Her piano accompaniment blended nicely with the great voices of the performers. David Evans on the mandolin also gave the score a warmer feeling.

This is Epic Productions, Inc.’s first show and what a great way to begin! Many of the performers and the director have worked at Toby’s Dinner Theatre, and their professionalism shows. The only downside is the show is the short run -now scheduled to end on February 15th.

Mr. Jennings is somewhat hopeful that they may be able to extend the run. The house was full on Friday, February 6th when I attended. So, if you can’t get tickets, check to see if they do extend the run.

Epic Productions is a non-profit theatre company that plans to perform in the Baltimore suburbs, and as Mr. Jennings told me, they will be “nomadic” until they get enough funding for a permanent home. The restaurant may decide to have them back in a different venue. I hope they are successful. I definitely would come back to Ciao Bella for a show, or even just dinner. The food was terrific and the wait staff was polite and thoughtful. As with many restaurants in Little Italy, there is valet parking.

Running Time with dinner: four hours. Running Time of show: two hours, with one intermission.

With John Dellaporta, Emily Levey, Tara Taylor and Michael Kenny at Ciao Bella Restaurant. Photo courtesy of Epic Productions, Inc.
With John Dellaporta, Emily Levey, Tara Taylorm and Michael Kenny at Ciao Bella Restaurant. Photo courtesy of Epic Productions, Inc.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change plays through February 15, 2015 at Epic Productions, Inc. performing a Ciao Bella Restaurant – 236 South High Street, in Baltimore. Dinner is not included in the price of admission but is included with a ticket reservation. For tickets and dinner reservations, call the box office at (443) 791-2671, or purchase them online.

RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1555.gif


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