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Big doings at the Little Theatre and Fast Times in Greensboro

by Mark Burger

The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem’s production of the hit musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change will open Friday, marking the first mainstage production to be presented in the newly renovated Arts Council Theatre (610 Coliseum Drive, W-S). Written by award-winning playwright Joe DiPietro (Over the River and Through the Woods, Babes in Arms), this sometimes-racy romp is a series of vignettes that take a humorous, yet often perceptive, look at the details of romance and relationships, from first date to marriage to child-rearing… and everything in between.

The titles of the songs hint at the whole story: “A Stud and a Babe,” “Single Man Drought,” “I Will Be Loved Tonight,” “On the Highway to Love” and the title tune. As of 2008, the original off-Broadway production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change had run for 12 consecutive years — making it the longest-running off- Broadway show. It closed last July after more than 5,000 performances, and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. Gene Johnson is directing this show, with Steve Bradford providing music direction. Due to adult content, this show is not recommended for children under 16. This marks the Little Theatre’s 74 th season, making it one of the most successful (and sustaining) community theaters in the entire nation. During the pre-show champagne reception, the announcement regarding a name change will take place. There will also be more champagne and cake served at intermission. Performances are 8 p.m. Jan. 30-31 and Feb. 5-7, and 2 p.m. Feb. 1 and Feb. 8. Tickets are $22, $20 (senior citizens) and $18 (students). Reservations are suggested. There will also be a “sneak preview” performance this Thursday at 8 p.m. All seats are $10. Next up for the Little Theatre is the classic Agatha Christie mystery Spider’s Web, which will open in April. For tickets or more information, call 336.725.4731 or see www.littletheatreonline.com ••• Fast Times at Ridgemont High is undoubtedly one of the quintessential movies of the 1980s. I was a high school student in the 1980s and I can attest that it was just like in the movie. Except I had nuns to deal with, which was a nightmare. In a salute to the heady daze … errr, days, of yesteryear, the Mixed Tape Film Series will present special screenings of the film on Wednesday, Feb. 4 at the Carousel Luxury Cinemas (1305 Battleground Ave., Greensboro). Based on Cameron Crowe’s non-fiction best-seller, the film’s young cast is a veritable “Who’s Who” of future stars, headed by Sean Penn in a classic performance as the always-stoned surfer dude, Jeff Spicoli. There’s also Jennifer Jason Leigh (I’ve always dug her, big-time), Phoebe Cates, Judge Reinhold, Brian Backer, Robert Romanus and the late, great Ray Walston as everyone’s favorite history teacher, Mr. Hand. (“Aloha!”)

Adding to the festive nature of the night, audiences are encouraged to dust off their favorite ’80s duds. (I’m ashamed to admit I still have some in my closet, including almost every necktie I ever wore in high school.) Those with the best outfits will be eligible for free prize giveaways. The film is rated R — for very good reason, and for just about every reason that made the ’80s the great decade it was: sex, drugs, profanity and, yes indeed, even some adult situations. (Originally, the MPAA actually slapped it with an X rating until director Amy Heckerling trimmed some of the more graphic bits.) Showtimes are 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Admission is $4 ($2 if you’ve got a college ID), with $1 pizza and $1 beer. At 10 p.m., there there will be an ’80s dance party at the Flatiron (221 Summit Ave., Greensboro), featuring DJ Jack Bonney. There’s no cover charge. It’s pretty wild to think that the young cast would boast a trio of future Oscar-winning best actors: Sean Penn, Forest Whitaker (in his screen debut, as football star Charles Jefferson) and Nicolas Cage, who can briefly be glimpsed in a scene with Reinhold. Also on hand: Eric Stoltz, Anthony Edwards, James Russo, Heart’s Nancy Wilson (Mrs. Cameron Crowe in real life) and Pamela Springsteen, brother of “the Boss.” For more information, see themovieshow.blogspot.com/2009/01/fast-times-at-ridgemont-high-screening. html.

To comment on this story, e-mail Mark Burger at marksburger@yahoo.com.

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