Everyone's done it. Yes, what you're thinking, too. But every regular theatergoer has seen (or will see) I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.

Lyricist Joe DiPietro and musician Jimmy Roberts' 1996 battle-of-the-sexes musical comedy ran Off-Broadway for more than a decade and has been staged across the country.

Few companies I've seen have staged it with the same charm and comic aplomb as the production now running at the Walnut Street Theatre's Independence Studio on 3.

DiPietro's book pokes evenhanded, light fun at the courtship habits of two couples: Man 1 (Christopher Sutton), Woman 1 (Lyn Philistine), and Man 2 (Fran Prisco) and Woman 2 (Ellie Mooney).

All struggle to find love, affection, or a reprieve from disappointed parents or a spinster-haunted future. Mooney and Prisco delight as an aging widow and widower finding new love at a funeral, while in Philistine's touching performance, a returned phone call becomes a life-affirming event.

If phoning sounds a bit dated, it at least coheres with a handful of cliches and other decades-old references to Liz Taylor, video dating, personal ads, and anyone's desire to see Sharon Stone nude in a movie. The only constant from 1996 to now, other than Stallone and Schwarzenegger still starring in action films, lies in how ridiculous men and women look trying to go from strangers to lovers to married parents once again feeling like strangers.

Sutton's direction emphasizes the humor at every opportunity, and with this cast, I can't blame him. With a raised eyebrow and a sharp stare, Prisco transitions from disgruntled prison inmate to befuddled dad, Mooney's character turns fascinate, Sutton bristles with pitiable exasperation, and Philistine disarms with her "Who, me?" timing.

Roberts' music draws on a variety of styles, and though the cast sings each song with care, the production earns its recommendation from the comedy.

Chances are, if you're man or woman, you've already engaged in the behavior it pokes fun at. At the Walnut, you can enjoy being on the other side of the joke for once.

THEATER REVIEW

"I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change"

Through June 29 at the Walnut Independence Studio on 3, 825 Walnut St.

Tickets: $35-$45. Information: 215-574-3550 or www.walnutstreettheatre.org.

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