Theater Review: The Pines says ‘I Do! I Do!’ to 10th anniversary
It’s déjà vu at The Pines Dinner Theatre for the beginning of its 10th anniversary season with “I Do! I Do!,” the same show it opened with back in 2010. The show continues through March 24. The Feb. 15 performance was seen for this review.
“I Do! I Do!” opened on Broadway in 1966. It received seven Tony Award nominations, in nearly every category including best musical and best lyricist and composer, and received one Tony as leading actor in a musical for Robert Preston.
The musical, based on the Jan de Hartog play, “The Fourposter,” has book and lyrics are by Tom Jones, and music by Harvey Schmidt, the team that created “The “Fantasticks!,” the world’s longest-running musical.
A musical with heart and an understanding of the human experience, it is perfect fare for The Pines.
The show features a cast of only two, Agnes and Michael, and a plot that spans 50 years of their married life from 1895-1945. Featuring 19 songs, including the popular “My Cup Runneth Over,” the show opens on the couple’s wedding day.
Michael, played sensitively by Michael Lee, promises to love his bride for the rest of his life. “I Love My Wife” he proudly boasts.
Suzanne Odgen is appealing as Agnes, who says she is afraid because she has never seen a man undressed. “You really haven’t missed much,” Michael quips.
The couple’s relationship evolves from “Together Forever,” though the strain of two pregnancies and into midlife crises.
Michael becomes self-absorbed with his successful writing career. Agnes resents being treated as a domestic, and she fantasizes in “Flaming Agnes” what life could be like if she were a divorcee. “If I’m going to pot, this pot is going to be hot,” she proclaims. “My whole life I have been a mother and a wife, and now I have no idea who I am.”
The show’s co-producer and director Oliver Blatt gets the most out of the insightful script and the highly-professional cast. The minimal set design has a large wooden bed flanked by a dressing table and writing desk. There’s enough space in front of the bed for an occasional dance or soliloquy.
Music director Stacy Bechtel accompanies on keyboard, with Beth McElroy on percussion. It is a nice change from a recorded score.
“I Do! I Do!” is a tuneful production with lively songs. Beneath the laughter and the music are thoughtful messages about the fragility of relationships, unfulfilled dreams, disappointments and the loss and return of love.
Tickets: Pines Dinner Theatre box office, 448 N. 17th St., Allentown; pinesdinnertheatre.com; 610-433-2333