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'I Love You Because' Plays at Spreckels Theatre

Celebrating the angst of dating, the show will make you laugh out loud.

Sex is funny.

Dating can be awful.

Life is hard.

But you can get through it with good friends.

So, suck it up, get back out there and get ready for that amazing new person to walk through the door, rock your world and sweep you off your feet.

Those are the themes of the latest musical, "I Love You Because," at Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park. Judging by the audience response, the themes hit home.

The line that drew the most laughter from the audience Thursday night was delivered by the character "Marcy," proclaiming during an explosion of frustration with her boyfriend (who still can't get over his ex): "You're... you're just an idiot, stuffed-shirt Republican!" This followed her boyfriend Austin's laundry list of her own faults including being ditzy and changeable. The two then looked each other fair and square in the eyes, locked lips and had the passionate embrace they'd never had.

Another funny moment is when the character "Jeff" puts his back out while trying to make out with his girlfriend on the sofa.

"I Love You Because" is a modern day love story set in New York. It aims to show that sometimes things turn out as they're meant to but exactly the opposite of what you expect.

The four main characters are two women and two young men trying to get over former lovers and find new dates. They are played by Dominic Williams, Zac Schuman, Taylor Bartolucci DeGuilio and LC Smith.

The main point is that people who are very different—who even annoy and upset each other—can actually be good mates if they can love each other not just in spite of their differences but actually because of them.

After Thursday night's performance, DeGuilio told Patch that it has been really fun seeing which lines are most appreciated by various audiences and also to see how well some audiences connect with the characters and themes. At one performance, an audience member hissed at one of the players, she said.

DeGuilio is co-founder of Lucky Penny Productions with Barry Martin, director. The two theater partners co-produced this, their first musical, with Gene Abravaya. He's the executive director of the Spreckels and is credited by cast for bringing musicals back to the intimate theater owned the city of Rohnert Park.

"The city budget was cut considerably about two years ago," he told Patch at the performance. "But we've pulled ourselves back again. That's what most people enjoy—musical theater. We want to give people what they want again."

So far this season, the theater also has hosted "Lion in Winter," "Wizard of Oz" and "Camelot."

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" is scheduled there in February 2013 and "Young Frankenstein" in May.

Music for "I Love You Because" is provided by Lucas Sherman and Chris Alexander on piano, Abe Newman on bass and Mateo Dillaway on drums.

Alexander told Patch after the show that the intimate venue of the Spreckels Experimental Theatre is designed so that musicians can easily see the characters and that helps with musical timing, which seemed spot on during the show.

"It isn't like that at all places," he said. The theater seats up to 125 people. The larger theater in the arts center seats up to 550.

Alise Girard and John Quinn round out the cast, appearing as a variety of characters.

"I Love You Because" runs through Nov. 18, with performances Thursday through Saturday evenings and a Sunday matinee.

Tickets are $26, $22, $20. To order them online, click here or call the Box Office at 707 588-3400. Box Office hours are Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. and one hour before showtime. The performing arts center is at 5409 Snyder Lane.

Stephan Stubbins November 12, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Great review of the show Julie, well done!!

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