Culture

AQ Theatre presents a musical delight

PreviewPhoto

Josie Gonzalez, Zach Avery, Kaeleb Cogswell, and Bridgette Slezak rehearse for the show

Story by Yashowanto Ghosh, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of Sierra Mason

It ran off-Broadway for just over 5,000 performances.  Now it will play at the Performing Arts Center for five days only: The Aquinas College Theatre Program’s third show for the 2019–2020 season will be the musical “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” from Wednesday, Feb. 19 to Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 2:30 p.m.

The play is made of a large number of short scenes between different couples, like a compilation of the best moments of a large number of mutually unrelated relationships. Yet the scenes follow such a complete story arc—everything from first dates to funerals and beyond—that the show adds up to an account of love itself, the way it is experienced by all humans.

A well-received Hong Kong film adaptation released just last year cast different actors in different scenes, ending up with an ensemble cast of over 50.  The Aquinas show, in contrast, will use just four actors, just like the original off-Broadway production. The cast consists of Zach Avery, Kaeleb Cogswell, Josie Gonzalez, and Bridgette Slezak.  

Professor Carrie McNulty, the director, said the show grew out of a class on musical theatre she taught at Aquinas last spring—Randy Wyatt, who was Theatre Program Director at the time, liked what he saw McNulty’s class do with this play so much that he put it on this season’s schedule.  I watched one rehearsal, and I absolutely loved it.

First:  I already knew that this cast can act, but I had seen only Cogswell and Slezak in singing parts before (in “A Year with Frog and Toad”).  I found that all four actors are amazing singers too. They combine phenomenally with musical director Josh Keller, who accompanies all night—as well as with each other, of course—all but two of the numbers in the show have more than one actor singing.  But don’t take my word for it! You can check out the cast’s singing skills yourself—free of charge—at the Broadway Revue, which will take place at the Moose on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 9:30 p.m.

Second, the energy level of the cast was incredible.  The rehearsal I watched was on Friday night—the end of a whole week’s worth of classes, homework, and work. The number of people at the rehearsal was small—just 10 people, including myself, in the Black Box; yet the room felt filled with excitement.  I heard McNulty speak to the cast about enjoying each other, and I thought that aspect of the performance was almost material at the rehearsal.

Third, the play itself is beautiful.  Like love, it is both hilarious and heartbreaking; like both love and music, it has the power to make people happy.  Come watch the show, let it make you laugh, let it make you cry, and let it make you happy.

jasho2020Jasho is an alum (German ’11, Communication ’17, English ’19).  While it is true that he sometimes wears dark glasses indoors at night, he is not really from New Zealand.

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