When Center Players asked me to direct I Do! I Do!, I immediately thought of choreographer, Monica Vermeulen. In the early eighties, she and I were two of the original founders of the Macallister Playhouse in Jackson, New Jersey. We met while doing CABARET at Tiny’s Dinner Theatre in Point Pleasant (what was then The Pentacle Theatre Company.) We did one show on the Boardwalk before the restaurant was closed to make way for condos on the beach. But a new bond was formed. In the optimistic vein of the old Andy Hardy/Judy Garland movies, the group decided to “put on a show” and then worry about finding a venue.
It was our own “Field of Dream,” as we were convinced that if we created it “they will come.” So GODSPELL, with its flexible production properties, was chosen. This actually led to the founding of the Playhouse. An old movie theatre, part of a strip mall, was available. The group prepared both the building and the musical within a month; then premiered with their show.
In the whirlwind of revamping this unique venue, the season that would follow wasn’t even in the planning stages. But with a successful run of GODSPELL, we quickly realized that we needed a new show for the following month. What would be an entertaining musical with a small orchestra and limited cast which relied on a unit set that could use costumes for its visual interest? And could be produced on the proceeds from the last show and with a short rehearsal process while being funny, nostalgic, and universal. The answer: I DO! I DO!
This February, the month of romance, we are once again revisiting this timeless musical about love and marriage. I like it because of its insights and emphasis on the evolution of a relationship that includes the acceptance of its partner’s idiosyncrasies while allowing for change in the dynamics of the partnership.
I think it’s a lot like the partnership between director and choreographer - and this director and choreographer have been working together for over thirty years in a variety of venues. And, like the marriage of “true minds,” our partnership is based on trust, mutual respect, affection, dedication, and a sense of humor. We are both very grateful that Center Players has allowed us to revisit a show which we first collaborated on as young women - a show which has stood the test of time - just as we have.
Janet Lynn Spahr
Director of Center Players’ I Do! I Do!
“I Do! I Do!” premiers at Center Playhouse, located at 35 South Street in downtown Freehold, February 1st and runs through February 24th, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM. Tickets are $25 for Adults and $23 for Seniors & Students and include gourmet desserts and refreshments. Group rates for parties of ten or more are available. Seating is extremely limited so call the box office at (732) 462-9093 to reserve your seats or visit us online at www.CenterPlayers.org.