Curtain Call: ‘I Do! I Do!’ Then, reality sets in
TheatreWorks, New Milford: Once those two little words uttered so sweetly at a marriage ceremony are spoken, the journey of a lifetime begins. It starts with “I Do,” but often includes a lot of “I Don’ts” along the way. In this beautiful musical written by Tom Jones of “The Fantasticks” fame, a couple passionately in love faces the realities of life and aging in TheatreWorks’ stunning production of “I Do! I Do!”
Since director Bradford Blake is synonymous for picture perfect and insightful productions, audiences will know immediately that they are in for a treat with his latest masterly stroke. The set design by Blake and James Hipp, which features an elaborate four poster bed placed center stage (the play was based on Hartog’s “The Four Poster”) quickly and efficiently establishes the his and hers section of the bedroom. His section includes a strong wing back chair with a top hat sitting squarely in the middle, hers a delicate settee with a bridal veil dangling on its edge.
Singing proudly how much he loves his wife, Jonathan Jacobson as Michael fits this role as surely as a shiny new wedding ring fits a gentleman’s finger. However, it doesn’t take long before that ring begins to feel too tight. Carey Van Hollen as wife Agnes sparkles in the role. Her voice and poise seem too perfect to be real, but real they are as she delivers a near perfect rendering of a woman from the late 1800s to early twentieth century. Her eyes and lips capture her mood with a smirk or smile. And after bearing two children, and going through the worry of raising kids, she is deeply wounded when her husband declares that she is going to pot. He, on the other hand vainly pronounces that he is more handsome, successful, and appealing to women than ever before. Trouble brews thickly.
As they move from year to year and through problems ranging from raising teens to marital infidelity, this couple teeters closer and closer to divorce. Songs such as: “My Cup Runneth Over,” “Nobody’s Perfect,” and “The Honeymoon is Over” escort the plot and action with fine musicality. Music director Charles Smith makes this musical a smooth and delightful harmony.
Leif Smith’s lighting design keeps the gas lamps burning brightly, while a revolving set makes the move from external to internal settings more easily accomplished. Peter Fragola’s peachy painting of the set not only lends itself to the era, but to the mood of the play as well.
Overall, this is a truly fine production. Romantics should rush to see this. Anyone who is considering marriage or is married needs to see this. All will enjoy TheatreWorks superior rendering of what marriage can really be like.