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Smith: Funny thing about love
Red Carpet Reviews
Patty Maguire, Lenae Rose, Candace Parr, Matthew Tryall, Charles Swartout and Sean Blackwell - photo by Jessica Smith

Plunging into the universal and bottomless depths of love and relationships, the New Depot Players are staging “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” as their summer season production. The show written by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts is now Off-Broadway’s longest-running musical. Director Amy LeCates says the play’s tag line - “Everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit" - sums it up nicely.

Though a veteran actress, it’s LeCates’ first foray directing a musical. “I’m so pleased. I couldn’t ask for a better experience,” she said, “The cast is all so talented and will try anything.” In a vignette format, the six-member ensemble keeps a quick and energetic pace depicting a revolving roster of couples as the play migrates through the various stages of a relationship.

 Matthew Tryall and Candace Parr nail the awkward tension of a first date in “A Stud and a Babe,” setting a tone and bar maintained throughout the show. Parr exploits her gifts for both the uncomfortable and joyful moments in “He Called Me,” too; while Tryall’s heart and timing serve him well, especially as a widower in “Funerals are for Dating.”

NDP’s queen of comedic camp, Patty Maguire, shows up with her signature command and charm in tow, particularly in the “Marriage Tango.” This one is a humorous and all too real send-up of the daily threats to romance posed by child-rearing, bills and household chores. With boisterous charisma, her partner, Sean Blackwell, shines in his many incarnations.

Lenae Rose pulled double duty as the show’s musical director and as an engaging presence throughout.  In “The Men Who Talk and the Women Who Pretend They’re Listening,” she channels the nonchalant frustration of a bad date expert and uncertainty and the required courage take a relationship to the next level in “The Lasagna Incident.”

Rounding out the cast is Charles Swartout, who lends his comedic intensity to great effect in “Scared Straight.” Playing a cautionary tale convict, he tag teams with a seminar guru, Maguire, to convince hapless singles, Rose and Tryall, they’re perhaps being too selective, and it’s really in their best interest to hook up already.

It’s all set against a backdrop LeCates put her personal stamp on. Along with husband, Rich, LeCates projected, traced and painted a striking series of Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art cartoons. “This is my interpretation. I wanted something bright because the dialogue is so colorful, and Lichtenstein kept coming back to me – what he draws is all about men, women and relationships.” Accompanied by live music, the show features the sounds of violinist Steve Karp and pianist Jim Scarlett.

“It’s satirical, really funny, and there’s not a scene you can’t identify with… it runs through the whole gamut of relationships,” said LeCates.

 The show runs July 11 – 13, 18 – 20 and 25 – 27 at 8 p.m. and July 14, 21 and 28 at 3 p.m. at 910 Center St. in Conyers. Visit or call (678)374-3224 to purchase tickets. Adult tickets are $20, with a senior and student rate of $16.