FOREST LAKE — Anyone who's ever lamented their luck in love or found themselves frustrated with a significant other may see something familiar in Masquers Theatre's latest production, titled “I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.”
The show is a series of quirky scenes interspersed with musical numbers bemoaning the woes, struggles, confusion and (occasionally) the happier moments of dating and marriage. There are six actors who play various roles in the production, from nervous first-daters to judgmental parents to unhappy bachelors. The musical debuted Off Broadway in 1996 and is the second-longest running off-Broadway musical to date, stretching for a span of 12 years.
Four Forest Lake High School theater alumni will reunite after six years for this production: artistic director Vanessa Brooke Agnes, technical director Tricia Hofeld and actors Ian Lexvold and Jake Stendahl, who are two of the six cast members playing multiple parts each. Many of the cast and crew have been involved in previous Masquers Theatre productions. Masquers Theatre Company has been operating in the Forest Lake area for 40 years, and its mission is to present quality drama and related arts that enrich the community.
Director Agnes said that the winter shows allow Masquers to be a little more “edgy” in theme, as opposed to the summer shows, which are usually beloved crowd-pleasers, such as last summer's “Willy Wonka.”
Agnes, a Forest Lake native, has been involved in theater since elementary school, she said. She even participated in the Masquers children's program when she was young, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a degree in communication and theater. She currently works at Lakeshore Players in White Bear Lake as a production assistant, where she handles graphic design, social media and marketing. This show marks her directorial debut outside of her experience at school.
"What makes this show so special and funny is that it's relatable,” Agnes said. “We can think back to every moment we experience on the journey of a relationship, from being utterly single and wondering, 'Why are all of the good ones taken?' to finally meeting someone and wondering, 'Will they like me?' to experiencing true vulnerability, elation, and heartbreak."
Agnes has been involved with theater in some way or another for the last several years — this past year she played the sea witch Ursula in a production of “The Little Mermaid” at Rosetown Playhouse in Roseville.
“Whether it's performing or directing or behind the scenes, theater is something I'll always come back to,” she said. She's excited to kick-start her real world directorial experience with this production, thanks to the talent and enthusiasm of the cast and the relatable appeal of the show.
"From the belly laughs to the futile fights and everything in between, this show captures so many of those intimate and ridiculous moments that will not only make you laugh, but will also really cut to the core and touch your heart,” she said.
The show will run Dec. 2-18, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at the Forest Lake American Legion (355 Broadway Ave. W., Forest Lake). Tickets are $16 for adults, and $14 for students and seniors. This show is written for a mature audience and contains some material unsuitable for children. To purchase tickets or learn more, visit the Masquers website www.masquerstheatre.org/on-stage.
Jackie Bussjaeger can be reached at 651-407-1229 or at email@example.com.