‘Hate Mail’ wrings laughs from emails gone awry

It’s been proved: People will do things through email that they would not normally do in person.

They will use foul language. They will offer inappropriate photos or videos.

Sometimes, they even discuss extra-marital affairs.

And that can lead to divorce. Or perhaps to successful comedy.

“You’ve Got Hate Mail” was the product of both.

“This show came from my own divorce,” said playwright Jane Milmore. “And I read somewhere when I was going through that told me that I will laugh at this later, and I did.”

“Hate Mail” was created by Milmore and Billy Van Zandt, a prolific comedy team that has seen success Off Broadway (“Love, Sex, and the IRS”) on television, (“The Hughleys,” “Suddenly Susan,” “Newhart”) and on the big screen (“A Wake in Providence”).

With “Hate Mail,” the team tried to cover all the bases when it came to office situations where bad emails might cause mayhem, such as the offensive jokes or the people who pretend to be someone else when they are writing an email.

And women love Jane’s character, Van Zandt said.

“They say to me after ‘You were my favorite,’ and I say back, ‘Oh, you must be divorced,’” Milmore said.

“Hate Mail” has been described as a show with nonstop laughs.

The production highlights the danger zones of email romances with the plot revolving around a juicy email that is left open on a desktop screen.

This flub sets off a firestorm of hilarity, the frantic use of Blackberries and iPhones and, yes, a frenetic chase scene that’s become an audience favorite.

“There is something about email; you are going to do things you wouldn’t normally do in person,” Milmore said.

And people don’t think much at all before they hit the send button, Van Zandt said, adding, with tongue in cheek, “so we view this show as a public service.”

“You’ve Got Hate Mail” is being performed at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Conference Center at Comcast Arena, 2000 Hewitt Ave., Everett. The performance will be done in a cabaret style setting with drinks and dessert. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $40 VIP, which includes priority cabaret-style seating and parking, and $30 general audience cabaret-style seating. Call 866-332-8499 or go to www.comcastarenaeverett.com.

“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”: This show has been described as “Seinfeld set to music.”

The musical extends over the three stages of a relationship, from the courtship to the marriage to the children, as it tracks four actors who play more than 40 roles.

Highlights from the musical score by Jimmy Roberts include songs such as “A Stud and a Babe,” about knowing how to flirt, and “Marriage Tango,” a song about freezing leftovers.

“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” opens at 7:30 tonight at Seattle Musical Theatre (formerly Civic Light Opera), 7120 62nd Ave. NE, Seattle. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 20.

Tickets are $35 to $40 with special rates for seniors, students and group sales. Go to www.seattlemusicaltheatre.org or call the box office at 206-363-2809. If it were a movie, the production would be rated PG-13.

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424; goffredo@heraldnet.com.

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