“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.”

The second-longest running Off-Broadway musical is taking the stage at the Firehouse Brewing Theatre in downtown Rapid City the month of March. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change tackles the joys and difficulties of connecting with another person at almost every stage of a relationship. The tagline says it all by explaining the show as “everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives, and in-laws, but were always afraid to admit.”

Actress Leslie Hencke Villa says that even though she is married, a lot of the single scenes resurface the happy (and mortifying) phases of her life. Leslie explained, “The opening number we are all getting ready for a first date. And although we are filled with anticipation and hope, we’re also mildly annoyed that we have to do the first date process again. I have definitely spent ages getting ready for a date, only to have the guy not care or not be worth the effort!”

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Rehearsals have also been a “whirlwind” in the mere four weeks they’ve had practice, especially with only four people in the ensemble – two men and two women. This means some performers have had to take on more than 15 roles in one production.

Actor Ben Villa (who is married to Leslie) says this gives them definite range. “In one scene, I’m a guy boring his date, and in another, I’m an old man trying to pick up a date at a funeral,” he said.

The musical, written by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts, was nominated for the Outer Critics Circle Award as Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical in 1997. Songs like “A Stud and a Babe,” “Why? ‘Cause I’ m a Guy,” and “Always a Bridesmaid” are what drew actor Blake Benson to join the cast.

“There are great lyrics and harmonies in this production, and most of the songs are ridiculous and hilarious,” said Benson.

While a lot of the show is comical, the issues the cast covers are a rollercoaster of emotions.

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Photography: Elizabeth Lucille Photography