Who loves you? Galleria Theatre celebrates its twentieth birthday with I Love You extension

There's a reason I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change -- a gently musical that we dubbed "pure peach souffle" over a decade ago -- returned to the Garner Galleria Theatre earlier this year for a several-month run. It's the perfect show for dating couples, professionals looking for after-work relaxation, Denverites entertaining out of town visitors.

And also the perfect way for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Galleria, which opened twenty years ago today. As a gift to the city, the DCPA just announced that the Galleria is extending the run of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change by two months, to August 19.

Randy Weeks, who inaugurated the intimate performing space and is now Denver Center president and executive director of Denver Center Attractions, likes to think of the Galleria as a portal. "People come back and see certain shows multiple times," he says. "It's casual, they bring guests, they can sit and have a drink. And some of them end up saying, 'I've always thought about going to the symphony, so let's try that.'"

Galleria programming is a mixed bag, from the genuinely funny and edgy (Dixie's Tupperware Party, Blind Date) through the pleasantly forgettable to the groan-inducingly awful (Girls Only--the Secret Comedy of Women). One of Weeks's favorites was The Last Five Years, produced in 2008, a wistful two-person musical with an inventive structure and moments of unexpected emotional depth.

The Galleria plays a significant role in the ecology of Denver theater. Although it's a small venue and revenues fluctuate, it does contribute to the financial stability of the Denver Center complex, having turned a consistent profit over the past five years.

Perhaps more important, the theater has been a godsend for local actors. While the Denver Center Theatre Company has frequently been criticized for importing much of its talent, many area performers have found at the Galleria that rare and wonderful thing: a steady paycheck that can last for months, even years. Always Patsy Cline ran for almost four years and featured a local cast, as does (and did) I Love You (which also enjoyed a multi-year run in its first incarnation). Add to that honorable line-up The Taffetas and Five Course Love. And Girls Only, written and acted by two local women, has gone on to play some national venues -- a plus both for the creators and Denver Center Attractions.

"It's really nice to look back over twenty years and realize there has been enough activity that we now have a pool of very talented Front Range People," says Weeks. "And that we're able to do almost anything we need and cast it locally."

For tickets and more information about I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, call 303-893-4100 or go to www.denvercenter.org.

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