Reston Community Players’ production of I Love You Because is delightful. A romantic and humorous homage to the dating scene in current day New York City, this show is full of witty observations about relationships and the rules for finding ‘Mr. or Ms. Right.’ I Love You Because had a successful stint Off-Broadway and the Reston production is the first one I have seen in the Washington DC area.
The show is very loosely based on the Jane Austen novel, Pride and Prejudice, and is sprinkled with references to that classic book, for example through the names of the characters – Austin Bennett, Marcy Fitzwilliams, Diana Bingley. The story follows the romantic relationships between two couples: (1) Austin, a set-in-his-ways greeting card writer intent in wooing back his ex-girlfriend Catherine, and Marcy, an adventurous and neurotic photographer and (2) Austen’s brother, Jeff, who is just out to have fun, and Marcy’s roommate Diana similarly seeks something casual as a detour to true love.
Marcy chooses to spend time with seeming ‘Mr. Wrong,’ Austin, while she waits out her requisite rebound time – so she can find ‘Mr. Right’ – while Austin is too focused on winning back his ex-girlfriend to notice his emerging feelings for Marcy. Meanwhile, Diana and Jeff both are expecting to have only a fling – but find that they can’t stay away from one another.
The fabulous number “The Actuary Song,” in which Diana musically describes a mathematical calculation for the appropriate amount of rebound time (‘RT’) before one is ready to embark on a new serious relationship after a failed one, is as insightful as it is tuneful. It is sung brilliantly by Evie Korovesis, who is a real scene stealer in this production.
The score is filled with other wonderful songs by Joshua Salzman and Ryan Cunningham, including “Coffee”, “Maybe We Just Made Love,” “Just Not Now,” “That’s What’s Gonna Happen,” and “Even Though.” Susanna Todd is also terrific as Marcy. She has a very strong singing voice and is very likable in the role. Joshua Redford and Tim Adams, as the brothers Bennett, and while not as vocally strong as their female counterparts, they are still both very appealing.
The ensemble, Terry Barr and Jolene Vettese, do a great job in numerous roles (including bartenders and a Chinese waiter), and the device of using them as a Chorus that provides witty commentary on the romantic developments between Austen and Marcy, is effective and very funny. All six actors, under the fine direction of Lisa Anne Bailey, make a winning ensemble and when they harmonize on a few of the songs, they sound great together.
The orchestra, under the musical direction of Elisa Rosman, does justice to the worthy score. The set by Michael Schlabach made up primarily of pieces of furniture, works well. The costumes by Sam Nystrom give authenticity to the characters and add to the humor.
If you are a romantic that likes a good funny musical, head over to Reston Community Players’ exuberant production of I Love You Because…because you’ll love it!
Running Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission.
I Love You Because plays through March 24, 2012 at CenterStage, at The Reston Community Center – 2310 Colts Neck Road, in Reston, VA. For tickets, call the box office at (703) 476-4500, or purchase them online.