“I Do! I Do!” Charms Us With The Story of Marriage

As you probably know by now, I’m a sucker for musicals and Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt write them like nobody else. “The Fantasticks” has always been my fave of all time and their look at marriage, “I Do! I Do!,” is a perennial listen on my car CD player. Dramatic License Productions brings us a charming rendition with two likable actors and the solid direction of Ron Gibbs.

Pamela Reckamp and Jeffrey Pruett in the Dramatic License Productions presentation of "I Do! I Do!"

The musical prologue brings us into the shaky beginning of the marriage which starts in 1898. Michael, a novelist and his wife, Agnes go through a 3-song cycle that shows both the anticipation, hesitancy and utter joy of beginning a life together. The birth of two children, possible affairs, falling out of and back into love, the marriage of children and old age are all covered in two hours with two actors and many, many musical numbers.

Jeffrey Pruett is perfect as Michael. From the exuberance of “I Love My Wife,” to the haughtiness of “It’s A Well Known Fact” and the explosive “The Father Of The Bride,” he brings a full range of emotions as befitting a man who has a 50 year-plus love affair with a wonderful woman. As that wonderful woman, Pamela Reckamp melts us with her stirring portrayal. Her touching “What Is A Woman?” and the raucous “Flaming Agnes” numbers would be reason enough to love this actress, but then the duets with Michael like the humorous “When The Kids Get Married” and the touching “My Cup Runneth Over” seal the deal. As in most productions, the most dominating songs of the evening are the two major “fight” scenes, “Nobody’s Perfect” and “The Honeymoon Is Over.”

Managing Director of Stages-St. Louis, Ron Gibbs, brings a heart-felt warmth to this production. It’s mainly a love story with rocky patches and loving moments along the way during the 50 years of marriage. It never gets schmaltzy or over-bearing- it’s rock solid all the way with sparkling choreography (also provided by Mr. Gibbs) and yeoman work as musical director and pianist by Justin Smolik.

Kudos as well to scenic and lighting designer, Sean Savoie and the delightful Jane Sullivan costumes. Utilizing the deep and narrow stage, the four-poster bed becomes a background piece and the downstage area becomes the main playing space.

This is the first attempt at a musical by Dramatic License (although they do two cabarets each year- at Valentines and a Holiday Show) but this should convince them that small musicals adapted to their stage should be a staple in their yearly repertoire. If you need any help, I’ve got dozens to recommend!

Join the fun and games of a beautiful marriage now through May 13th at their theatre at Chesterfield Mall as Dramatic License Productions presents “I Do! I Do!” Contact them at 636-220-7012 or http://www.dramaticlicenseproductions.org for tickets or more information.

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