The first play to inaugurate The Old Globe's new Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre (formerly the Cassius Carter) is the musical "I Do! I Do!" A tight classic that quickly journey's through 50 years of a couple's marriage, "I Do! I Do!" stars real-life married couple Paige Davis and Patrick Page and runs until Dec. 20.
Beginning in the late 1800s, the play opens with Agnes and Michael in full wedding attire who descend on their bedroom with gaiety and a song or two. Michael is beyond buoyant while dancing around the room and singing "I Love My Wife." Agnes, acting shy and reserved – an appropriate demeanor for a bride in those days – is slowly realizing there are now expectations about her new situation. Davis effectively demonstrates this with her lovely voice in "Something Has Happened."
This theater arena has always turned a challenge of staging a play without changing sets or scenery into creative and alluring productions. The new intimate 250-seat arena-style theatre with its fully-trapped stage also has a small area near the stage that can be used as a small orchestra pit. For "I Do! I Do!" the addition of piano player Ben Toth and Tim Christensen performing the music to the many songs throughout the show enhanced the great performances.
Based on "The Fourposter" by Jan de Hartog, "I Do! I Do!" with book and lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt (creators of The Fantasticks), enjoyed a 560-performance run on Broadway. Staring some iconic performers – Mary Martin, Robert Preston, Carol Burnett, Rock Hudson – during its run the play received seven Tony Award nominations.
Paige Davis and Patrick Page hit every nuance of their 50-year relationship perfectly. Page has exhibited a wonderful bravo performance in many productions including Cyrano in "Cyrano de Bergerac" and Malvolio in "Twelfth Night" in the Globe's 2009 Shakespeare Festival, as well as many Broadway credits including "The Lion King," and "Julius Caesar." Whether gasping as the children slowly arrive, defending his career as a romance writer, or being temped to see if the grass is really greener on the other side, Page amuses and entertains every moment on stage.
Davis is a delight as she changes personalities with the change of her hat. From always watching her husband get the spotlight while she does the womanly work in a marriage, Davis brings exceptional career skills to her role. Her Broadway credits include "Boeing-Boeing," "Chicago," and light opera performances in "The Sound of Music" among others. Creating an imaginative show with the challenges of a small stage seems effortless for Davis and Page whose 15 years of married life probably helps in creating their roller-coaster character arcs.
Direction by Richard Jay-Alexander and choreography by James Kinney are essentially seamless with this caliber of stars and do not disappoint. Realistically touching on passion, trust, expectations and all the elements of married life, "I Do! I Do!" will appeal to musical fans and anyone married or considering such a luxury.