True Romance

By Darcie J. Flansburg

Posted May 12, 2011 in Arts & Culture

Mia Mercado-Bennett has been performing on stage for over 20 years, but only recently came into directing.

Mercado-Bennett has been seen at the Redlands Footlighters, Redlands Shakespeare Festival, Grove Theatre, Redlands Theatre Festival, Yucaipa Little Theatre and many more venues in and around the area. But when she was asked to direct I Love, You You’re Perfect, Now Change for the Catch A Star Theatrical players, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

“They asked me to direct, I read the script and immediately knew I wanted to do it,” Mercado-Bennett says.

The cast, is small, but mighty; the actors wear many hats and yield many a prop.

“The cast includes six of the coolest, most talented people,” Mercado-Bennett says. “They play many parts with ease, honesty, and hilarity.”

The cast includes Chris Chardi, Pete Bennett, Cash Morgan, Annalise Staudt, Rosslynn Medina, and Cathy DeBrule.

The hilarious, adult-oriented revue had one of the longest off-Broadway runs in history.
Presented as a series of vignettes, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is connected by the central theme of love and relationships.

The play’s tagline is “Everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit.”

According to the synopsis, “with few exceptions, the scenes stand independent of the others, but progress in a fashion designed to suggest an overall arc to relationships throughout the course of one’s life. A first date, for example, comes before scenes dealing with marriage, and scenes dealing with marriage come before those dealing with child rearing.”

But even with such a large number of characters, this show is typically put on by a small cast. The original off-Broadway production made use of a case of four.

Songs include “The Lasagna Incident,” “I Will Be Loved Tonight,” “Always a Bridesmaid” and “He Called Me,” among many others.

But like relationships, theatrical productions take work and patience.

“This has been an exhausting experience and just like relationships the road isn’t paved with gold,” Mercado-Bennett says. “It’s a lot of work and isn’t always easy, but you work it out and learn to laugh a lot along the way.

Though the process may have been a challenge, Mercado-Bennett knows the audience will find humor and honesty in this classic and clever production.

“The audience will laugh often. There are so many relatable characters and plenty of sight gags to boot,” she says.

Mercado-Bennett will be directing On the Radio at Yucaipa Little Theatre in fall 2011, as well as performing for her fifth summer with the Redlands Theatre Festival this year.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change by Catch A Star Theatrical (CAST) Players at Beaumont Women’s Club, 306 E. Euclid Ave, Beaumont, (951) 315-4253; Thru May 21. General admission $12.


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