I Love You Because is a musical in two acts, reportedly inspired by Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice, with music by Joshua Salzman and book and lyrics by Ryan Cunningham. The pair met while attending NYU as graduate students in musical theater writing, and began writing the songs for this show while they were still students.
If you are familiar with the novel, you will recognize some of the character surnames, such as Austin and Jeff Bennet; Diana Bingley; and Marcy Fitzwilliams—but that might be all that you recognize from the original story. The musical is set in contemporary New York City, and the social hindrances that separate the couples are very much 21st century complications. The show was first performed off-Broadway at the Village Theatre in 2006, and Ryan Cunningham received a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Lyrics. The show has since been translated into five languages for over 100 productions around the globe.
While the musical's connection to the Austen novel is tenuous, the show itself might be just right for your Valentine's Day celebration. In an authors' note, Salzman and Cunningham wrote “...what remains of Pride and Prejudice is what attracted us to the story in the first place...in order to find love, you must move past your preconceived notions of what love is going to be... and embrace all of its surprises, both good and bad.”
I Love You Because is onstage at Welsbacher Theatre in the WSU Hughes Metropolitan Complex, February 14th through the 18th.