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Left of Center

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On the West Bank, the Jefferson
Performing Arts Society
presents cutting-edge theater

There is so much going on in the performing arts scene in New Orleans
proper that sometimes we forget about the top-quality productions being
put on in the surrounding areas. A few years back, New Orleans Living
interviewed Dennis Assaf about the fine work and the expansion plans
of the Jefferson Performing Arts Society, which Assaf co-founded and
for which he serves as executive and artistic director. It seemed high time
to check in with the organization and learn about the JPAS’s next fun
production: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Since premiering in New
York in 1996, it has been a smash hit and has enjoyed success on the road
as well. I interviewed Anna Toujas Rosenberg, JPAS’s director of marketing
and public relations, about the show, which will be on the JPAS Westwego
stage from February 4–20.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change has been around for a while. Is
this the first time the JPAS has presented it?

Yes, this is the first time JPAS will be doing this production.

Can you describe the show for our readers?
I Love You, You’re Perfect is, at its core, a musical revue that takes you
through the ups and downs of dating and marriage and everything in
between. The songs are connected by little vignettes, and the actors take
on many different roles to portray the different situations in the modern
relationship. It is a comedy, but it also sheds light on some of the low points
of relationships. That makes this show dynamic as well as entertaining.

What drew the JPAS to the show?
The great music and lyrics along with witty dialogue chronicling the modern-day mating game makes this show a fun, challenging and relevant
work. You could set this show in any location, and the situations and
relationships would still ring true. We are actually setting the show in New
Orleans, so hopefully it will hit even closer to home for our audiences!
The show itself is just good theater. It’s a comedy, but it also has some real
heartwarming and heart-wrenching moments.

Does your production feature local talent? Who are some of the people to
look out for?

The cast consists of four wonderfully talented actors: Matias Grau III,
Katherine McClain, Wendy Miklovic and Cliff Thompson. They are all
local actors who’ve been seen on many stages throughout the city. They were
chosen for their amazing vocal and singing abilities but also for their strong
acting skills. This is definitely a powerhouse cast of some of the most vibrant
and talented actors on the New Orleans stage now! The show is directed by
Andrew Crusse and choreographed by Alicia Grubb, with musical direction
by Jonne Dedinger.

For those who don’t frequent Westwego, what can they expect? Are there
any good restaurants nearby, and is there on-site parking?

The show is at Teatro Wego Theatre at 177 Sala Ave. from February 4 to
20, with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2
p.m. It is about a 15-minute drive from the foot of the Huey P. Long Bridge!
The theater has an adjacent lighted parking lot—parking is free!—and is
handicapped accessible. There is a great café directly across the street from
the theater, Lazy River Cafe, which serves dinner and lunch. It also caters a
Sunday Champagne Brunch before each matinee performance in the theater.
The cost is an additional $18 for adults, and you can make reservations by
calling the JPAS box office or adding I Love You, You’re Perfect… Buffet to your
cart online.

How do people get tickets, and how much does the show cost?
Tickets are $30 for adults, $27 for seniors and $20 for students (with valid
ID) and are available by calling 504-885-2000 or online at jpas.org. JPAS also
has great group discounts for groups of 10 or more.

The JPAS has a diverse, busy calendar. What’s up next?
Next, JPAS is thrilled to present Rogers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of
Music on stage in Metairie at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center, 400
Phlox St., from March 19 to April 3, onstage at the Northshore Harbor
Center in Slidell on April 9, and at the Temple Theater in Meridian,
Mississippi, on April 10! For tickets and more information, visit jpas.org.

Is there anything else readers should know about the February production?
I Love You, You’re Perfect is one to leave the kids at home for, as the humor
at times addresses issues of an adult nature—we are taking an honest look
at dating here! Also, please come out and support local theater, especially
if you’ve never visited the JPAS Westwego Theatres! There are some great
performances and art going on in the community, and we hope your readers
will venture out and see some great shows in 2011!