In case you haven't seen any of the iterations of this charming story, here are the basics. Two co-workers at a parfumerie in Budapest have such a contentious relationship that you know deep down they really like each other. As it turns out, they've both been writing to an unknown someone, connected via a "lonely hearts" ad in the paper. Georg finds out first that they've actually been writing to (and falling in love with) each other, which causes him to be a bit nicer to Amalia, so that when she finally learns the truth, she realizes she knew it all along. It's a sweet love story between two strong people who know what they want and won't settle for less. We the audience know that they're perfect for each other, which makes that final resolution so satisfying.*
|the Maraczek employees say "Good Morning!"
(photo by Sobbotka Photography)
On opening weekend, understudy Abby Covert performed the role of Amalia, and she's a delight. I'm not sure when she got the call that she would be going on, but you'd never know she was an understudy. She's completely believable as the character, fits in well with the cast, and has a lovely voice. As Georg, Thomas Friebe is perhaps a bit too youthful and giddy, but is charming nonetheless, and also has a lovely voice. The two make a believable pair, both when they're arguing and when they're in love. Other highlights in the cast include the adorable Adam Bloom as delivery boy Arpad, Ole Dack as the dashing but deplorable Kodaly, Josiah Fagerstrom as loyal clerk Sipos, Faith Winship with a nice turn as unlucky in love Ilona, and Christopher Taykalo as grumpy but sweet Mr. Maraczek. And everyone in this 16-person ensemble provides great support in the storytelling, filling out the world of the play.
|inside the shop (photo by Sobbotka Photography)
Lakeshore Players Theatre is billing She Loves Me as "the holiday** musical," but I've never thought of it as such, mainly because the previous productions I've seen have not been during the holiday season. Like Annie, or even RENT, She Loves Me is a musical for any season, that has one scene or song about Christmas. I understand that holiday shows are big business for #TCTheater companies (and I'm all for theaters making money during this time of the year to support theater year-round), so I'll let them have it. And if you're someone who needs all-Christmas-all-the-time in your December theater, this one definitely fits the bill. Conversely, if you're someone who may have already overdosed on Christmas cheer, there's only one song about Christmas so you should be safe with this one. Either way, this is a wonderful production of a gorgeous gem of a musical that deserves to be in regular rotation (but maybe not three times in one year again).
**Read about all of the holiday shows I've seen this year here, and listen to the Twin Cities Theater Bloggers holiday preview episode of our podcast Twin Cities Theater Chat here.