Southeast Missouri State University student publication

“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change:” A musical that explores the stages of romance

Sunday, March 7, 2021

The Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theater and Dance production of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” was a musical that celebrates the complex facets of romantic relationships.

Kenneth Stilson, conservatory chair of the Holland College of Arts and Media, directed the musical, which ran March 3-7 in the Wendy Kurka Rust Flexible Theater on Southeast’s River Campus.

Stilson said the romanticized scenes of the musical are diverse because love is universal.

“The whole play is a series of vignettes that is about one of the most powerful subjects on earth, and that is love and relationships,” he said. “The thing that really makes this musical work is the fact that it is really very funny, and yet it has moments of real poignancy.”

The genres of music performed at the show ranged from country-western, jazz, hip-hop, traditional ballads and reggae. The performance styles of the romanticized scenes included absurd comedies, farcical, poignant and realism.

According to the River Campus website, “The play is a celebration of a mating game that takes on truths and myths behind the contemporary conundrum known as the relationship. Act l explores the journey from dating and waiting to love and marriage, while Act ll reveals the agonies and triumphs of in-laws and newborns, trips in the family car and pick-up techniques of the geriatric set.”

Stilson explained showing an uplifting musical was important because of the uncertain times we are living in.

“This musical is just a heartwarming comedy that is there to entertain and let people escape the pandemic,” he said. “Love is a topic that is common to anybody and everybody. It’s romantic escapism, and it’s just a really nice evening of theater.”

The cast of 12, as well as the costume designer, sound designer, scenic and projection designer, lighting designer, and choreographer, consisted of students of Dobbins Conservatory.

Arlo Ehly, the music director and Stilson were the only faculty directors that worked on this production.

Laughter, tears and many rounds of applause were heard throughout the audience after the performance on March 4. Audience member Matthew Hosafros was moved by the performance.

“The cast and crew did a phenomenal job,” Hosafros said. “Watching the performance, I felt a range of emotions that made me think back to my own experiences with love.”

The audience was limited to 27 because of COVID-19; however, there was an option to stream it online.

The next event premiering at the River Campus is “Mozart and More” March 9. Students are able to purchase tickets at the box office for $3 by showing their student ID.