Time to Remember
As I looked around the sold out Saturday night audience at Emerald Coast Theatre's first foray into musicals, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change!, I felt affirmed in what I had always suspected- Walton County is hungry for musical theatre. To be sure , there are a myriad of reasons this particular production is filling seats- from the careful growth and steady building of reputation of excellence from this burgeoning theatre company (now in it's fifth season) to the positive word of mouth from patrons- but this is an under represented art form in our area that is the bread and butter of larger cities . Simply put, people crave escapism, and music has a way of transporting in a way that is universal. (Okay, yes I am a musical theatre nerd, but I stand by my statements.)
Director Nathanael Fisher smartly chose this cozy off-Broadway hit (about the stages of relationships from dating to marriage to dating again) and cast it with young, appealing actors with powerful vocal prowess (Led by musical director Mary Jeter and accompanied-perfectly balanced-by pianist Celia Villacres).The staging is uncomplicated (it is not the type of show that calls for elaborate dance numbers) and polished. In fact, polished is a word that I would say perfectly sums up this well paced gem.
The four person ensemble is uniformly strong- there is not one weak link. Marcellis Cutler has charisma to spare, and his voice is rich and inviting. The winsome Hope Golds has a lovely emotional take on the moving I Will Be Loved Tonight. Brian Hilario plays the put upon straight man for well earned laughs and blends beautifully in harmonies with Mckenzie Pollock who is a comic revelation with Always a Bridesmaid.
The characters are broad, the timing impeccable, but the thing that puts it over the top are the voices. I definitely look forward into this theatre's future endeavors in musicals. What a lovely addition to this already strong repertoire .
It definitely left me hungry for more.
Stephen LaDow is an actor , author, blogger, and reviewer living outside of Atlanta, GA. Follow him on his website, unfiltered-ness.com
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