Although I repeatedly lectured myself to be openminded, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to like Angelwalk Theatre's production of I LOVE YOU BECAUSE.
I didn't think it would be a bad production, quite the contrary actually; however I associate any show (be it theatrical, TV or film) that deals with romantic relationships, to be improbable, sugary goo that is geared more towards women (because only through true love will we find happiness and self-realization!) in a dumbed-down fantasy that not only sets up unrealistic expectations of relationships, but is seriously offensive to both my intellect and wit. I also find it difficult to set this bias aside.
I tried REALLY hard before I LOVE YOU BECAUSE's opening night, but wasn't sure how successful I had been.
When the show started I actually felt my insides brace for the unintelligent cheese that I'd love for musical theatre to banish .... but the cheese never came.
Ok, yes it did. The opening number is dripping with musical theatre corny-ness - but it seemed like
I LOVE YOU BECUASE got that out of their system in the opening number (and further eradicated it in a few lines of dialogue during the first act) and continued on to create a show that was heartfelt and sincere in it's approach to the idea of contemporary romantic relationships. And I found myself laughing, and enjoying (gasp!) in spite of my strict bias.
I LOVE YOU BECAUSE, while not totally modern in it's stories of romance, (where was the gay romance? One of the supporting NYC man/woman characters could easily have been gay), put in a great effort to showcase the fears and anxieties that come along with delving into a new relationship from the perspective of both genders. I saw women with their own careers and ideas who weren't willing to sacrifice themselves to find "Mr. Right", and who viewed sex as something that wasn't an emotional precurser to marriage, but something they could participate in just for the sake of it, and didn't have to feel bad about afterwards because it doesn't make them a slut.
I saw men who weren't some real-life impersonation of a Disney Prince Charming, nor a douchebag frat boy-turned- nice-guy-dreamboat, but who were flawed with hilarious crassness and uptight personalities, and who were, refreshingly, just as vulnerable as the women.
The performances were funny, endearing and I found myself rooting for each ot them not only despite their flaws, but because of them.
This is a sweet, funny, often insightful show that has creative direction and choreography and a talented cast. It's worth the trek to North York.
I LOVE YOU BECAUSE is on now until April 15 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, Studio Theatre (5040 Yonge St.). For tix click here or call: 1-855-985-5000.
1. Another new musical from Angelwalk theatre starring you! Tell us about this one.
Thanks! I am thrilled to be working for this company. I Love You Because is a modern musical love story told through the eyes of six New Yorkers. It is your classic romantic comedy about mismatched couples falling in and out of love... kind of like "When Harry Met Sally" the musical!
2. Who is your character in the show and what part does she play in the story?
I play Diana- the pivotal "best friend" character. In every romantic comedy there is always a best friend or side kick who always seems to get the hero into some kind of trouble. In my case, I am an actuary who, while helping my best friend get over her ex, tells her to find a guy that is completely wrong for her... and decides to try this theory out for herself too. Obviously these oh-so wrong guys end up being the ones we fall for and Diana is forced to take a closer look at herself and how she lives her life.
3. A beef I have long held against a lot of love stories is that they present an unrealistic interpretatoin/ideal of love and relationships. How does I Love You Because present love and relationships?
I agree! What I love about this show is that there is no love at first sight and there is no grandiose romance. The love that forms in this show is based on real people. Of course these people are heightened slightly... I mean come on- this is a musical after all, but I think everyone can relate to these characters which doesn't always happen in these types of stories.
4. Learning to love someone's faults isn't easy; can you share a time when you learned to love someone's faults or someone learned to love yours (assuming you've got some!)
Well, in my past relationships I have dated musicians... pretty much exclusively. I guess that's what bonded us right away which is why it worked at first but they were never really right for me. My current boyfriend is a sports guy. I'm not saying that being a sports guy and not a musician is a fault, but I certainly learned that he balanced me out so much better than anyone else I had ever dated. And he has taught me so much about the truly important things in life. And we have been together for almost 2 years! Imagine that! As for my faults... Come on, everyone knows I am perfect. :)
5. If you could write a greeting card message about love, what would it be?
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I can't actually express how I feel about you on a card so just come here and kiss me.
6. What's next for you in the world of musical theatre?
Well, I am returning to Drayton Entertainment for my third season to be in their productions of The Sound of Music and Perfect Wedding. That will take me to August. After that, it's up to the Theatre Gods!
I Love You Because opens tonight and runs until April 15 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, Studio Theatre (5040 Yonge St.) For tix, click here or call: 1-855-985-5000.