I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change

From left, Michelle Murray, Kayla Halfpap, Andy Swyter and Marc Murray rehearse for the Mason City Community Theatre performance of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.”

MASON CITY — Marc and Michelle Murray wear multiple hats in the musical that opens Thursday night at the Mason City Community Theatre.

The husband and wife duo not only direct “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” but also make up half of the cast.

“We did this show in Charles City in 2006,” Michelle Murray said.

They wanted to do it again after their sons were grown (their youngest is in high school), so they took on directing responsibilities as well.

“It’s fun to be in, fun to see,” Michelle said of the show, which is “about relationships in all different areas. We wanted to be in it – both or not at all.”

She said they have the “perfect people” in the cast — which includes Kayla Halfpap and Andy Swyter — and crew.

“It kind of came together. It’s so fun,” Michelle said.

She relies heavily on assistant director Lori Holthaus.

“If Lori wasn’t here we wouldn’t be able to do it,” she said.

“I’m kind of a theater newbie,” Holthaus said. “I’ve only been doing this five years.”

When she’s on stage, she’s always the first with lines memorized, Michelle said. For this show, “she can find anything.”

“I’m a good shopper,” Holthaus agreed.

Holthaus also has three nearly floor-to-ceiling pages filled with set changes and props.

For this show, each actor plays 15 characters, which requires quick costume and set changes.

“Each show has its own personality,” Michelle said. “In this show, you can’t get too attached to a character. In 15 seconds, you’re someone else.”

“One scene we’re dating,” Marc Murray said. “The next scene she’s my mom. In another scene, Kayla and I are married, and the next she’s my sister.”

The show touches on the different stages of life.

“There’s not a human being alive that couldn’t relate to the whole entire thing,” Holthaus said. “It’s touching but 80 percent funny. There’s no way you couldn’t laugh.”

Michelle cautioned that the show contains adult themes with “a little bit of language. It’s a little bit PG-13 plus.”

The actors are all veterans, although they haven’t all acted together previously.

Halfpap has been away from the stage for several years, and although the show is challenging, she’s enjoying it.

“It’s just been so much fun – and a stress reliever,” Halfpap said.

Murray said she wants the show to be “a valentine for North Iowa.”

Her co-director husband agreed.

“It will be a great date night.”

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