BY ANNE SOLLIEN
The classic musical I Do! I Do!, created by Schmidt and Jones in 1966, tells the story of Michael and Agnes Snow, following the couple from the sweet bloom of young marriage through the warm glow of old age. The delight of the witty writing and lovely music will have the audience laughing, crying and rolling their eyes on this journey with Michael and Agnes.
Traditionally performed with one couple for the entire show, Shoestring Theatre in Lake Helen is putting a different spin on its production by having four couples perform each night.
The director, Anne Sollien, felt skeptical at first; however, after having seen the four couples together, she is delighted by the novelty. All of the performers bring a perfect quality to the couple they portray.
Eli Lemoine (Agnes 1) and Joshua Freeman (Michael 1) play the newlyweds and carry the marriage “football” through the birth of their second child.
Agnes, expecting her first child, sings the lovely ballad “Something Has Happened” and Michael, the catchy tune of “I Love My Wife.” Michael, an aspiring author, and Agnes, a stay-at-home mom, also perform the best-known ballad from the show, “My Cup Runneth Over.” Many duets with clever and touching lyrics carry the story forward to our next couple, appearing 10 or so years later.
Enter Andrea O’Reilly (Agnes 2) and Matt Williams (Michael 2). As may happen in a marriage, an uneven distribution of attention and appreciation has occurred, and the sweet relationship has begun to fray.
Michael, always a bit full of himself, has become a successful writer and chauvinist with a huge ego, and reveals this by singing “It’s a Well-Known Fact.” Agnes has been spending her efforts on the children and home, and the couple have lost touch with each other. The funny and poignant songs “Nobody’s Perfect” and the “Honeymoon Is Over” aptly illustrate the trials their marriage is experiencing. Couple No. 2 continues its part of the journey to intermission.
When the curtain opens on Act 2, another span of 10 or 15 years has passed. We meet Kelly Elisabeth Fagan (Agnes 3) and David Santiago (Michael 3) celebrating a New Year’s Eve in bed, with Michael sound asleep. With their children almost out of the house, they find themselves facing a new incarnation of their marriage in songs “When the Kids Get Married” and “Father of the Bride.”
After their daughter marries, Agnes finds herself at a crossroads and struggles with her identity in “What Is a Woman?” The third couple overcomes every obstacle and leads us after 10 or 15 years to the final couple, Anne Miller Sollien (Old Agnes) and Robert K. Sollien (Old Michael).
Thus, we find Michael and Agnes dancing together and then transforming into the old married couple, who have sold their home and are moving to an apartment. “Roll Up the Ribbons” and “This House” present the touching numbers that sum up so much of their lives in the home they have built and have loved together.
Anne Sollien performed this show more than 30 years ago at Shoestring, and feels absolutely thrilled to return to the stage with her real-life husband, Bob Sollien, as the Old Couple.
The fabulously talented Cynthia Hansen renders amazing support at the piano, with some assistance from Anne. Lori Lemoine, the incomparable stage manager, presides over the backstage challenges.
I Do! I Do!, a wonderfully warm celebration of marriage, will provide a special treat for the entire family. The Shoe cannot wait to share it with you!
The show dates have changed! I Do! I Do! opens Friday, April 21, and runs for two weekends only. With show dates April 21-23 and April 28-30, curtain times stand at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are available online at shoestringtheatre.net, or by calling the box office and leaving a detailed message at 386-228-3777. Adult tickets cost $22, tickets for senior citizens $20, and tickets for students $15. Student tickets are only available through the box office.
We are excited to see this play. We sing in choir at St.Peter and know Kelly Fagan and Davis Santiago really well, having sung in choir with them! They are both very talented vocalists.
What is also exciting, is that our 53 rd wedding anniversary is April 25th the week of the play I Do! I Do! at Shoestring Theater. As we renew our vows this coming week and say “I Do! I Do!” we look forward to seeing this play. Best of luck to all the actors!
Conrad & Glenda Armandi, DeLand