By Jake Checani[Special note: The Thursday, Feb. 11 showing is canceled. Ticket holders can exchange their tickets for another “I Do! I Do!” performance or other upcoming Regional Theatre of the Palouse production.]
The musical “I Do! I Do!” and its theme of love — with all its warts — shines through the vanity associated with its concurrent holiday, Valentine’s Day.
Quite simply, this production by the Regional Theatre of the Palouse in Pullman is about romantic relationships through the year’s 364 other days.
The two-act musical spans five decades of marriage between its only characters — Michael, played by Dennis McGreevy, and Agnes Snow, played by Tina McClure — and manages to cram two hours’ worth of song and dialogue into the sole setting of one bedroom.
Director John Rich said it’s a true musical, meaning there is a script and lyrics complete with musical accompaniment.
The play begins at the pair’s wedding and then traces the couple as they begin to build a family.
However, the scene titles for the two acts — from “My Cup Runneth Over” to “Flaming Agnes” — don’t always delineate major life events.
Instead, they deal in romance’s more tedious moments.
The lovestruck atmosphere between the two inevitably dilutes in time as Michael begins to estrange himself from their communion. In the words of McGreevy, Michael becomes pompous and “so full of himself he can hardly fit into the room.”
Still, Agnes manages to love Michael as he comes to terms with his rampant ego. McGreevy said Michael’s moments of self-discovery are the play’s sweetest moments.
“We’ve been rehearsing this dozens of times and I still get choked up at that moment,” he said.
There are multiple juxtapositions at work in this play, from tender and combative to incredibly funny and terribly sad.
“It feels real,” McClure said. “It feels like the ups and downs that you face as a married couple.”
Regardless of whether or not you are well into a marriage, McClure said, the different relationship milestones built into the play make it relevant across generations.
It’s charm is universal and has even put McGreevy’s kids in stitches.
“Maybe that’s just seeing me as a total pompous ass,” McGreevy said. “Hopefully they don’t say, ‘Dad, you’re so type-cast.’ ”
Another relationship that gives “I Do! I Do!” and its intimacy traction is that between the two actors.
Both of Moscow, they have acted together before in several musicals, including “The Sound of Music” and “Annie Get Your Gun.” Mostly notably, they played leading roles in the musical “White Christmas.”
There is a comfort level between the two, one that McGreevy believes is indispensable in this deeply personal play.
“I don’t know if that would happen with somebody else,” McGreevy said.
If You Go
What: “I Do! I Do!”
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12, 18 and 19; and 1:30 p.m. Feb. 13, 14, 20 and 21
Where: Regional Theatre of the Palouse, 122 N. Grand Ave., Pullman
Cost: $20 for adults, $12 for children 12 and younger.