Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Lovely Jane Powell Please in "I Do" at Musicarnival

Cleveland Press July 28, 1970

"I Do! I Do!" which opened at Musicarnival last night, is an ode to married love that is a mixture of almost equal parts of laughs and songs.

It is diminutive Jane Powell, for the moment pregnant, waddling across the stage to John Ericson as her husband who is suffering in bed with labor pains.

It is the warm sentiment of a married couple dueling "My Cup Runneth Over" as they sing of an excess of love.

The show that originally starred, both in New York and on the road, Mary Martin and Robert Preston seemed at the time pretty much a vehicle for these two and too slim an item to turn loose without them.

NOW THE SHOW is making its way around the summer circuit and is proving that it has some decided virtues of its own. It also is a reminder that the talent pool in the American theater is deep and well filled.

Miss Powell is not Mary Martin and doesn't pretend to be. She has a nice flair for comedy, acts more than well enough and has a clear and beautiful voice that didn't need the microphones thickly placed above the stage.

And heaven bless her good looks and trim figure -- she appears as young and vibrant as she did in those MGM musicals made in Hollywood's more innocent years. Best of all, she looks like a newlywed.

JOHN ERICSON is an actor lately come to musical comedy if one is to believe the program notes although he appeared to be an old hand at it. He, more than Miss Powell, did need the microphones when singing but it was real singing, not talk-singing.

"I Do! I Do!" is a musical based on Jan de Hartog's "Fourposter" which in years past was successful both as play and movie. There are only two characters, a married couple, and the setting is their bedroom, though this is no bedroom comedy.

THE STORY TRACES their 40 years of marriage, the arrival of their children their near breakup, the emptiness of a big house when the children are gone and finally their old age that sees them leaving their home and their bed to someone younger.

The music is both tuneful and very much part of the story. "I Love My Wife" has a bit of astonishment about it while in "Nobody's Perfect" the two fight it out with insults.

"Where Are The Snows" is a nostalgic look backwards and "My Daughter Is Marrying an Idiot" speaks for itself. "What Is a Woman?" is movingly plaintive.

"I DO! I DO!" lends itself better to presentation on Musicarnival's round stage than anything staged there this year.

The simple set and the two-performer cast helped but aside from that the action was planned well enough to give everyone a pretty good look at it. Some off stage business in the aisles might have proved cumbersome but the actors went at it with good cheer.

There have been better shows around but few more pleasant than "I Do! I Do!"