Georg, the manager of Maraczek's Parfumerie, is carrying on a romance by mail with a woman he's never met. Amalia, a newly-hired clerk at Maraczek's, is similarly romantically involved. And they can't stand each other. Or so it seems. Do they actually have more in common than they suspect? That's at the heart of She Loves Me (book by Joe Masteroff, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick), beginning its run (and the 34th Season) at Fort Worth's Stage West tonight, November 1.
While Georg and Amalia's relationship is the central theme around which the play is woven, there additional relationships providing a counterpoint to the unwitting romance of the lead characters. The crusty shop owner Maraczek takes his relationship with his wife for granted-but should he? Fellow shop clerks Ilona Ritter and Steven Kodaly are in a fading relationship, because she's realizing she really wants Mr. Right, and he's just Mr. Right Now. Only the older and wiser Sipos seems to have found contentment. Will love win the day all around, and lead to a happy ending in time for Christmas? Audiences are sure to have a grand time finding out, and will be humming the wonderful Bock & Harnick songs long after. This intelligent charmer is based on a play by Miklos Laszlo, and served as the source for the films The Shop Around the Corner, In the Good Old Summertime, and You've Got Mail.
In writing of the 1993 Broadway revival, Frank Rich said "…a continuously melodic evening of sheer enchantment and complete escape… "She Loves Me" is far less dated than many of the more successful musicals of its vintage because its unsentimental romantic emotions never age."
Joe Masteroff is best known as the book writer for the Tony Award-winning Cabaret. Coming to New York from Philadelphia after attending Temple University and serving in the U.S. Air Force, he has been represented in New York City by the play The Warm Peninsula, the libretto for an operatic version of Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms and the book and lyrics for a production of Six Wives at the York Theatre Company.
Jerry Bock was born in New Haven, Connecticut on November 23rd, 1928, and attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Sheldon Harnick was born April 30, 1924 in Chicago, earning a degree in music from Northwestern University School of Music in 1949. Bock and Harnick met in 1956; their celebrated collaboration yielded five scores in seven years: The Body Beautiful, Fiorello!, Tenderloin, She Loves Me, Fiddler on the Roof, The Apple Tree and The Rothschilds. Bock and Harnick were triply honored by being inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame, receiving the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Spirit of American Creativity Award from the Foundation for a Creative America. She Loves Me ran on Broadway in 1963 and again in 1993, receiving multiple Tony nominations; its London run in 1995 garnered several Olivier Awards.
She Loves Me is directed by Jim Covault, with musical direction by Aimee Hurst Bozarth. It will feature Cameron McElyea, applauded as Haskell in Stage West's The Immigrant, as Georg, and Alison Hodgson, recently seen as April in the Jubilee Theatre production of Company, as Amalia. Chelsea Coyne, whose roles include Jo in Little Women at Opera Fayetteville, will play Ilona, with Scott Sutton, most recently seen as Vince Fontaine in Casa Manana's Grease, as Kodaly. Stage West founder Jerry Russell will be seen as Mr. Maraczek, and Brian Mathis, last at Stage West as Gerard in Talking Pictures, will play Sipos. Peter DiCesare, just seen as The Young Thing in Hello Again for Uptown Players, will play the Head Waiter, while Joseph Keith Wilson, whose Aledo High School roles have included Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof, will play Arpad. And appearing as shoppers, cafe patrons, and carolers will be new faces Kylie Arnold, John Campione, Diane Powell, Zak Reynolds, Brad Stephens, and Julia VanderVeen, as well as Amy Mills, whose many Stage West roles include Dee in RolePlay.