Show mixes musical theater and sitcom plot

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Photo by Marisa Lowe .

Six funny young adults attempt to discover themselves and find true love in New York City. This conventional sitcom plot inspired the new student musical “I Love You Because.”

The musical, which first premiered in New York in 2006, features a story written by Ryan Cunningham and music by Joshua Salzman. It premieres on Wednesday night in the Saybrook Underbrook Theater. Director Zina Ellis ’15 and producer Skyler Ross ’16 said they decided to stage the play because of its fun atmosphere, light humor and enjoyable contemporary musical theater soundtrack.

“[The musical has] a pretty collegiate sense of humor,” Ellis said, comparing the show’s humor to the one of a typical sitcom featuring young adults. She added that the way the characters are represented in the musical resembles the way adults are usually portrayed in sitcoms and romantic comedies.

Caroline Powers ’17, who plays the character Diana, also emphasized the element of humor as central to the show and compared its plot to TV shows such as “Friends” or “How I Met Your Mother.” .

“I think there are elements of awkwardness that are really relevant to our lives and are really prevalent in today’s dating world,” Powers said.

Ellis and Ross also said they think that the play’s New York setting will be relatable to Yale students because many are either from New York or will end up working there eventually. But Powers added that the play’s setting is not as important as the general theme of finding love in a big city. Ross said he thinks that one of the most interesting aspects of the plot is the fact that it follows a six-person cast in a city of more than 10 million people.

Members of the cast and crew explained that the Saybrook Underbrook’s small size initially posed a challenge to creating the appearance of a large city on set, but explained that set designer Jae Shin ’17 captured New York through a depiction of its distinctive skyline and Jackson Pollock-inspired splatter paintings reminiscent of the city’s constant movement. Powers added that the Underbrook’s intimate ambience fits well with the spirit of intimacy fostered by the show.

“I Love You Because” is the only production that will have a show during Bulldog Days, and the production held an open dress rehearsal for prefrosh on Tuesday night. Ellis said the show will allow visiting high school students to survey the Yale theater scene by watching an actual production.

“It’s exciting to have the potential to show them a final product and to potentially give them a little glimpse to what the process is like,” Ellis said.

“I Love You Because” will run through Friday.

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