Director adds a queer voice to a popular T3 rom-com musical

RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer

Theatre Three is bringing a stage favorite back to its Theatre Too space on Jan. 18. The always-popular I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change will put some love in the air, but it will offer audiences a chance to give the show, a staple in T3’s catalog, a closer examination as a new director has decided to add some different flavors to this run.

Alejandro Saucedo is directing Theatre Three’s newest version of ‘I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change.’

Alejandro Saucedo is taking the charge for this year’s iteration of the fan favorite, and he said he is “excited for the opportunity to reimagine a Theatre Three classic and highlight different experiences in the 2024 production,” according to Theatre Three’s press release. “Romance, alongside the hope and hilarious disappointment that comes with it, is for everybody and that is my vision for bringing I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change to the new year. Join us for a celebration of all kinds of love.”

This is Saucedo’s first time directing a show in a professional union capacity, and he’s shaking things up in this normally heteronormative musical that explores relationships through music and humor.

“I think the show brings comfort to a lot of people, but there are changes in it now. The writers did give it some updates with some more inclusion, which was really cool,” Saucedo said.

But he felt those updates could have stretched a little more.

In last year’s production, with music by Jimmy Roberts, writer Joe DiPietro added a slight fluidity to the script. But blink and you’ll miss that change. DiPietro did, however, have the wherewithal to add certain freedoms into the show’s basic makeup — freedoms that Saucedo has leaned into.

“As the show becomes more canonized with other productions, we do get freedom in the script,” Saucedo said. “There are the suggested characters and tracks, but there is room to add. I wanted to change the tracks to be more queer, and that’s been exciting to play with and to open these relationships up.”

Saucedo, who is a fan of romantic comedies, says he never saw himself as a brown, queer person in those stories. The opportunity to direct this show has given him the chance to make a version in which he can change that.

“That started with casting, and to me, it’s so important that diverse casts exist. Plus, the story has no mention of [orientation or color],” he said. “I cast a lot of talented people of color who I’m also big fans of. I remember sometimes being the only one who looked like me in a room, and that takes away what theater presents itself to be — a free and creative space.”

The cast includes Kevin Solis, Samantha Padilla, Jonah Munroe, André Williams, Brett Warner and Jaclyn Gonzalez Stapp along with music direction by Cody Dry.

For the past year, Saucedo has been having a moment that’s extending into the new year. He’s more seen onstage now; in the past year, he displayed his acting talents in Circle Theatre’s The Other Josh Cohen, Theatre Three’s Next to Normal and Theatre Too’s Scrooge in Rouge, to name a few.

He’s also been putting on the director’s hat more and more lately — a challenge he set for himself.

“I have a strong passion for directing, and I’ve really lucked out that projects have lined up in the past year,” he said.

The 24-year-old served as assistant director for Stage West’s The Play That Goes Wrong and The Butterfly’s Evil Spell at Theatre Three. And he’s slated to serve as second director for Second Thought’s Heroes of the Fourth Turning this spring.

“Everything that I get to help with on those shows helps me create a strong artistic voice for myself,” Saucedo said. “That position of being inclusive comes from wanting to represent the area we live in. Theater aims to be a reflection of humanity, and the humanity around the DFW area is queer, BIPOC and found in abundance.”

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