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Off-Broadway Series South Preview: Maybe Baby, It's You! Hilariously Lampoons the Search for the Perfect "Soul Mate"

October 26, 2002 - Raleigh, NC:


Still looking for "Mr. Right" or "Ms. Right"? Still believe that there is a perfect "soul mate" out there for you somewhere? Then check out Off-Broadway Series South's upcoming production of Charlie Shanian and Shari Simpson's decidedly offbeat but definitely inspired romantic comedy Maybe Baby, It's You! This rib-tickling and eye-opening Off-Broadway hit, which unfolds in a series of 11 two-character vignettes, will play Oct. 29-Nov. 3 in the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater.

The show's producer is Entertainment Events Inc., whose first big hit was Late Nite Catechism by Chicago playwrights Vicki Quade and Maripat Donovan. (Late Nite Catechism [http://www.latenitecatechism.com/] was a highlight of last season's Off-Broadway Series South program.)

Maybe Baby, It's You! covers romance from A to Z, from puppy love to late-life romance among the golden girls and guys. It opens with a man and a woman each describing their ideal "mate," and radically pruning their romantic "Wish List" as an audible clock ticks faster and faster. In the end, they admit, they would settle for someone who "just loves me" (i.e., a warm body, preferably with a pulse).

In one scene, two antisocial teenage nerds swap scathing insults in biology class before realizing that they are perfect for each other. In another scene, a couple in a bar discover that real-life men and women never quite measure up to their dream dates.

There is a hilarious film-noir spoof in which a man and a woman can only communicate in what one critic calls "hard-edged metaphors." (Example: "We smooched like starving beggars whose favorite meal is lips.")

There is a stressful scene in which a middle-aged couple begins to fear that they are not really soul mates. And, finally, there is a scene in which an elderly divorced couple from the suburbs meet while watching their grandson play soccer, and discover that love just may be eternal after all.

Charlie Shanian and Shari Simpson, who honed their comedic craft with Gotham City Improv troupe (http://www.gothamcityimprov.com/ [inactive 9/04]) in New York City, also played all the characters in the initial productions of Maybe Baby, It's You! The show also employs prerecorded man-on-the-street style interviews about relationships in general, and soul mates in particular, to smooth the transition between scenes.

"The most brilliant sketch," claims Donald Lyons of the New York Post, "presents Paul, a nice guy waiting in a restaurant for a blind date, who turns out to be … Medea, in a fright wig and screaming to Zeus such curses as 'Let the sun scorch before I make small talk.'

Lyons adds, "Paul's gentle imperturbability magically chills her out and wins her over. It's a gem."

In TimeOut, Julie McHale reports, "Anyone who has ever wished for that perfect companion, found one or lost one will understand these episodes. Anyone who has experienced the ecstasy and befuddlement of falling in love or felt the crushing blow of disillusionment should go and reserve a ticket right now, for these perceptive, touching pieces will speak to you. You will laugh and cry with moments of recognition, I guarantee."

Off-Broadway Series South presents Maybe Baby, It's You! Tuesday-Friday, Oct. 29-Nov. 1, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 2, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 3, at 2 and 7 p.m. in the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in the BTI Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina. $21-$38. 919/834-4000 or 919/231-4575 (group discounts). http://www.broadwayseriessouth.com/2002-2003/offbroadway.html#maybebaby [inactive 4/04] or http://www.maybebabyitsyou.net/mby.html.