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FABULOUS CAST, CHOREOGRAPHY AND MUSIC HELP `I DO! I DO!’ MARCH DOWN AISLE IN GRAND STYLE

SHARE FABULOUS CAST, CHOREOGRAPHY AND MUSIC HELP `I DO! I DO!’ MARCH DOWN AISLE IN GRAND STYLE

So you're looking for one good reason to get out of the house instead of suffering through interminable TV reruns or the only first-run program you can find, "The International Tractor Pull Championships"?

Only one? I can give you . . .TEN GOOD REASONS FOR SEEING "I DO! I DO!"

1. The entire cast.

Both of them.

Gary Neilson and Mary Parker Williams as Michael and Agnes, singing, dancing and cavorting through 50-odd years of marriage.

Williams is sensational. Granted, she doesn't have a voice like Kiri Te Kanawa, but she has an impeccable sense of comedy timing and is simply one of the area's best stage comediennes.

Neilson, too, is perfect as Michael. He's got a great voice and a face that mirrors every kind of emotion - awestruck one moment, joyous the next, then hilariously deadpan.

2. William Sargent's skillful direction. In the wrong hands, this could become a maudlin mess or sink into mere slapstick farce. Instead, it's a tender, sweet (sometimes bittersweet) look at an old-fashioned, traditional marriage.

3. Tom Jones' script and lyrics (based on Jan de Hartog's novel and play, "The Fourposter"). It's an insightful, humorous look at the ups and downs of one couple's marriage, from the nervousness of their wedding day and honeymoon, through rearing a family (the old "a boy for him, a girl for her" scenario), until their declining years, when it's time to move out of the big, memory-filled home.

4. Harvey Schmidt's music. It has that nostalgic "The Fantasticks" feel, which is entirely understandable. Jones & Schmidt wrote that off-Broadway hit, too. And there are wonderful tunes: Michael's exuberant "I Love My Wife"; the lovely duet, "My Cup Runneth Over"; "Flaming Agnes," an ode to women's independence; "Where are the Snows," a sweet song of reminiscence, and "When the Kids Get Married," a jaunty song about the joys of life without the offspring in tow.

5. Brent Fotheringham's interpretation of Schmidt's music. This talented director/arranger's six-piece band is right on the mark. There are 21 songs and very little letup for dialogue. The combo never comes on too strong.

6. Marilyn Montgomery's choreography. With only two characters, Montgomery doesn't have to manipulate a stageful of dancers (like the intricate planning for Hale Center Theater's recent "Brigadoon"). Instead, we have two hours of Fred & Ginger. Sometimes they waltz. Sometimes they're cutting a rug to celebrate the high points in their life together. But it's never intrusive.

7. Marnie Sears' scenery. There's just one set: a magnificent bedroom with a big four-poster bed in the center. But it constantly reflects the changes across half a century of marriage.

8. Other technical support: Nicholas Cavallaro's excellent lighting effects, Bruce Bredeson's delightful period costumes, Libby Hunter's props (toys for the kids, an heirloom pillow, etc.), and stage manager Ray Carlson's directing traffic back stage (making sure Neilson and Williams get all the right cues coming and going).

9. The Broadway Stage itself - an intimate theater with most comfortable seats in town.

10. Besides that, it's June. You're supposed to be in love during June, and "I Do! I Do!" is the kind of musical that should reinforce the romance in family's lives.