I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

Rated 4.0 The Delta King Theatre’s new show is a revue with an irresistible title: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. The New York production has been running off Broadway for years. The Delta King’s version brings a most likeable, energetic local cast together with the ear-friendly if occasionally lightweight situations and songs by writer Joe DiPietro and composer Jimmy Roberts. Plotwise, it’s a smooth ride from flirtation through marriage to late autumn love. Musically, it’s a hopscotch through pop and tango to country and boogie-woogie.

The good news: The Delta King’s version is a slickly staged acoustic show—always enjoyable to watch. And it’s good to hear “natural” singing, without amplification. Director Ken Figeroid, recently an actor in Sympathetic Magic at River Stage, does a rather remarkable job of bringing everything together, with clever visuals and quick transitions between numbers.

The cast is led by Equity actor Eric Wheeler, who was a solid leading man in last year’s drama Gunfighter, also at River Stage and one of 2002’s best shows. Here, Wheeler sings and does comedy quite successfully. After all, he did participate in several Music Circus shows years ago.

The show also features Gina Green, who has professional credits. Don’t overlook the contributions of younger cast members Kristen Heitman and Jeremiah Lowder; ditto for pianist Graham Sobelman. This is a team effort, including the set with a Tower Bridge motif, by Jonathan Williams.

The so-so part: The songs by DiPietro and Roberts are hummable hymns about everyday middle-class life. There’s truth in the content, but there’s not a lot of searching spirit. Everyone can identify, but it sometimes gets predictable, with plenty of pop-sensible rhymes that stop well short of poetry.

The show’s first half deals with dating; the second half is about kids, divorce and death, with renewed dating and remarriage as rejuvenating themes. All are treated with upbeat humor, a buoyant outlook and lots of major chords.

Enjoyable? I had fun throughout. Art? In a clear-eyed view, this one’s more of an audience pleaser. Good box office? My hunch is that it’ll do quite well; it’s certainly well-rehearsed and well-staged. Further proof that the Delta King has emerged as a recognized venue for entertaining shows—comedies, October ghost stories, holiday offerings and now musicals—in a part of town previously reserved for tourists, wedding anniversaries and prom nights? You got it. —Jeff Hudson

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday; show-only tickets are $18-$22, and meal-and-show packages are $38-$49, with dinner at 5:30 or 6 p.m., or Sunday brunch. Onboard the Delta King, moored at 1000 Front Street, 995-5464. Through March 8.