Dating and relationships are not always straightforward and easy. At times, it’s best to poke fun at these not-so-pleasant experiences and move forward. 

Six performers with Fort Wayne Civic Theatre will do just this when they present a handful of relationships through several vignettes in the PG-13-rated I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, running through five performances Sept. 9-17 at Arts United Center.

Quick hits

The show’s director and choreographer Doug King says the musical is like reading a “comic book about relationships, about love.”

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

Fort Wayne Civic Theatre
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9
2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10
7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16
2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17
Arts United Center
303 E. Main St., Fort Wayne
$22-$35 · (260) 424-5220

“Every single scene is just a different vignette, a different, short, quick story about people connecting, and then it moves on — you never see those characters again. 

“What’s fun about it is it’s only six actors. So, they keep changing and portraying new characters and different characters from setting to setting as they go from one right on to the next with quick changes and change of voices, change of look, and everything. But it’s fast-paced. It’s a lot of fun. It’s very unique in the way it’s set up.”

Stars of the show

He says the way the actors “bring it to life” stands out to him.

“The music is fun. The story lines are very fun,” he said. You might go away singing the theme song that they start and end the show with. But otherwise, it’s not necessarily that the music is the star, or the stories or the star. It’s really seeing how these six people move from one scene to the next that really makes it all come to life and gives all the fun to it.”

King says everyone in the audience can find something to relate to, and the show is set up to show the progression of dating and relationships. 

“It starts with kind of a spring, early young love, first-meeting type thing, and progresses through, you know, the summer — the dog days of dating — and then the humdrum of life or just getting through with family and kids and all, and then into the silver years,” he said. “But in all that, the audiences will find that there are at least several of the situations there that they can certainly relate to and would think that they’ve written that scene just for them as they sit and watch it.”

Actress Melissa Terhune agrees. 

“You’re going to laugh,” she said. “Everyone loves a fun evening. Even if you’re not sure, ‘Is this for me? Is it not?’ You’re going to have a fun time, I guarantee it. There’s so many funny tidbits in it. And then I think it just goes back to the relatability. You’re going to be able to find yourself in that show somewhere along the way. 

“Beyond that, the cast is just spectacular. Everyone says it, but it’s a small intimate cast, it’s a small, intimate show. I think that’s really special.”

Taking on new roles

Composed solely of vignettes, this is not a typical musical, and it presents some challenges for actors.

“Since you’re not playing a central character through the show, you really have to jump around a lot,” Terhune said. “And by that, I mean you can’t settle into one character. You become different people at different points in life. So, you have to give yourself permission to first, in the process, explore those characters, and really find out who they are. And then, I think you have to allow yourself to just have fun because these are such relatable characters. 

Terhune says that being in her mid-30s, she can relate to a handful of characters, but also has to act in situations she has not experienced. 

“I am playing an older woman in this show,” she said. “And so, finding those nuances that I can relate to, while also honoring a stage in life that I haven’t been to yet, has been challenging and a privilege.”

Terhune expressed that she believes I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is a “fantastic show” that fits into the local arts scene.

“I think that we have a lot of diverse art going on in Fort Wayne, and I think that this fits right in while also sticking out,” she said. 

“I just think everyone should get a chance to just let loose for a night and laugh. This is probably the inner dialogue that everybody has had around love and relationships, while also some of the outer dialogue people have had about relationships, so I think you’re in for a good time.”