For those looking for something more creative than flowers and chocolates on Valentine’s Day, Broadway actors Jarrod Spector and Kelli Bartlett offer a romantic homage to celebrity couples. Their 90-minute show, This is Dedicated: Music’s Greatest Marriages, comes to the Wharton Center Tuesday.
Jarrod Spector and Kelli Barrett married in 2014. While engaged, the pair decided to come up with a show that they could perform together. Inspired by musical legends Alan and Marilyn Bergman, the couple decided to build a show around famous musical marriages. The show spans several decades, including music by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Sonny and Cher and Jay-Z and Beyoncé.
“We were writing this as we were getting married,” Barrett said. “It became our passion project, our own exploration of marriage, and through it we’ve learned a lot.”
While doing their research, Barrett and Spector studied the relationships and tried to apply the traits of successful marriages to their own relationship. The couple describes their show as an extension of their marriage, depicting the strength of their lives together.
“It’s our collaboration, and we get to work together and have control in a way that we really don’t in any other area of our careers,” Spector said. “It’s our creation.”
The couple is still tweaking the show, and they hope to add original music in the future. Spector and Barrett have dabbled in writing but said they are intimidated by the idea of performing their own music after singing some of pop music’s greatest hits.
When asked what it’s like to be married while working on Broadway, the couple emphasized the importance of being ready for anything and embracing the unknown future.
“It’s a life of adventure and understanding,” Barrett said.
Even though the show is based around couples, Barrett and Spector said it was important to them that the show include relationships that, while professionally successful, ended badly. Barrett said the show was built to be relatable to both couples and single people.
“It’s not just for two people who are madly in love,” Barrett said. “We wouldn’t want people to stay away who are single or have lost someone. We think it could be cathartic for them, and we want everybody to know that there’s a piece in it for them.”
“It’s really a show about relationships,” Spector added. “We use musical couples, because that’s what we are, but it’s really about relationships in general. If you’re young and single or if you’re married for 75 years, there’s something in it for everybody.”
But Barrett admits that the romantic aspects of the show are ramped up around Valentine’s Day.
“It’s so perfectly fitted for that kind of an event,” Spector said. “Being able to be together and sing love songs to what I would imagine will be a lot of couples in the audience, that’s a pretty special Valentine’s Day for us.”
Jarrod Spector and Kelli Barrett This is Dedicated: Music’s Greatest Marriages
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14
Tickets start at $20.50/$18 students
750 E. Shaw Lane, East Lansing
(517) 432-2000, whartoncenter.com