In A Minister's Wife, GableStage's musical comedy of manners, mores, and marriage at the turn of the 19th Century, Christian Vandepas played the show's unorthodox disrupter: a shy, retiring poet named Eugene Marchbanks, who falls madly in love with Laura Hodos' title character. Fighting her blustery husband (Jim Ballard) for her cosseted affections, Vandepas embodied Marchbanks as the sensitive beta to Ballard's barrel-chested alpha male. Conjuring, at first, the sort of awkward loners Crispin Glover used to play in cult movies, Vandepas's contribution deepened along with Marchbanks' love. It was a performance of smitten effervescence, a catalog of reverential gazes and lost-puppy affectation, commanding our attention even when he wasn't saying anything. More than anyone else onstage, he transcended the show's problematic operetta parts, which often felt like they were intruding on a great play. He may have been the naive boy to Ballard's towering man, but music proved the gateway to this poet's romantic soul. Audiences left the theater a little lovelier after hearing him reveal it.