I DO! I DO! -- Sweetly Sentimental
By Bob and Karen Isaacs
BOB: Down at Westport Playhouse, they are doing a lovely production of the Tom Jones - Harvey Schmidt musical I Do! I Do!
KAREN: You may remember that they wrote The Fantastiks. I Do! I Do! is the musical they wrote in 1966, a two character musical based on the play and film "The Fourposter." It tells the story of a marriage from the wedding day when the newlyweds move into the house until the day - 50 years or so later -- they leave the house having raised their children there. It's the story of a basically happy marriage
BOB: but with some ups and downs
KAREN: some disagreements and some problems. It starred on Broadway Mary Martin and Robert Preston. Here at Westport it stars Kate Baldwin who was nominated for a Tony award this past year and Lewis Cleale who has terrific credits.
BOB: A want to say straight out that the staging of this by Susan H. Schulman is terrific. One of the concerns Jones and Schmidt had when they were writing this show -- was how do you write a Broadway musical with just two people.
KAREN: No chorus, nothing. The two performers do everything -- they bring on and take off parts of the set, the props, they change costumes, they age
BOB: and it was done so smoothly.
KAREN: The big song from this -- which Ed Ames had a pop hit with was "My Cup Runneth Over With Love."
BOB: There are a lot of good songs that are beautifully presented. "I Love My Wife," "Love Isn't Everything."
KAREN: I thought Kate Baldwin was just terrific. Lewis Cleale, on the other hand, was quite good, very professional but he didn't have
BOB: the charisma. You saw Robert Preston in the role and he is a very hard act to follow.
KAREN: Right -- Cleale lacked the twinkle in the eye that Preston brought to the role.
BOB: But Cleale did a very good job.
KAREN: Another thing is that at intermission one of our friends say "Isn't this dated?" And my reply was "It was dated when it opened in 1966. When the original play opened in the early 50s it was dated."
BOB: Of course.
KAREN: It is dated
BOB: it's a 50-year marriage from the turn of the century til the 1950s
KAREN: it is sentimental, may be even sappy. But it is beautifully performed. It is delightful.
BOB: It will be at Westport Country Playhouse through August 28th. And we recommend you go see it.
This review appeared on WNHU-88.7 fm and www.wnhu.net