TR Robertson — Scripps Ranch Theatre has gone back to the 1960’s in bringing to the stage “She Loves Me”, from a book by Joe Masteroff, music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. The musical premiered on Broadway in 1963 and garnered a Tony nomination for Best Author of a Musical for Masteroff. Masteroff has had productions on Broadway since 1953 and would eventually win a Tony for Best Musical in 1966 for “Cabaret”. Bock won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1959 for the musical “Fiorella!” and Harnick would team with Bock for the Tony Award winning musical “Fiddler on the Roof”.
This musical, though dated, still has appeal in the clever musical numbers, at times involving a series of different songs being sung at the same time, the silly behavior of the workers at the perfume store and the predictable, but happy, result that brings the final ending just in time for Christmas. The story revolves around a young woman and a young man trying to find out who they have been corresponding with in a series of romantic letters.
Photos by Ken Jacques
The SRT cast consists of a great many newcomers to the SRT stage. Playing the lead role of Georg Nowack is Luke Monday, who was in the critically acclaimed “Once” at Lamb’s Theatre. Luke was perfect as the young perfume salesman unable to full comprehend everything that was going on around him. Luke performs the most memorable song from this musical, “She Loves Me”. His love/hate interest, Amalia Balish, is played by Taylor Magee. Taylor played Amalia with a bit ditzy, a bit forceful attitude. Her booming voice shone thru on several numbers in the musical.
The entire cast was well chosen for their respective parts, making the audience feel like we were watching actual perfume store employees working their daily shifts, but with an occasional cast member breaking into song. Throughout the musical, a funny moment would occur as a customer was leaving the store and the entire group of shop workers would break into a “Thank you, Madam” number to escort the customer out of the store.
Playing shop owner Mr. Maraczek is Danny Campbell, a veteran of many regional theatre productions. Shop employee Ladislav Sipos is played by Joseph Grienenberger. Sipos seems to be the only shop worker that has a good understanding of all of the situations unfolding at the store. The sexy Ilona Ritter is played by Tara Sampson. Her love interest, Stephen Kodaly is played by Tanner Vidos. Tara’s witty back and forth banter with Stephen makes you wonder about the relationship these two have. Rounding out the workers at Maraczek’s Parfumerie is Arpad Laszio, played by Josh Bradford. Young Arpad desires to be part of the adult workers world and in his opening song of Act II, “Try Me”, he has a chance to convince Mr. Maraczek of his worth as an employee.
During one of the many set changes, a longer set change is associated with a well done Tango dance number, performed by Eden Young and Marc Caro-Willcox. Other cast members, playing many of the shoppers going in and out of the perfume store, include Cassie Bleher, Steve Lawrence, Kailey O’Donnell, Andrew Paiva, and Krista Wilford. Wilford and Lawrence team for a funny restaurant scene, trying to create a romantic atmosphere, only to have everything go wrong while Amalia is waiting for the man she has been writing to.
Ted Leib returns to Scripps Ranch Theatre as the director of the musical. His Production Team consists of Production Manager Allan Salkin, Stage Manager Charmine Reed, Choreographer Marc Caro-Willcox, Set Designer N. Dixon Fish, Set Construction Rogelio Rosales, Costume Designer Dawn Fuller-Korinex, Properties Sue Givens, Lighting Designer Matthew Novotny and Mitchell Simkovsky, and Wig Designer Kat Senior-Scott. The Music Director and playing the electric piano for the entire musical is Terry O’Donnell along with bassist Grant Clarkson.
“She Loves Me” is a fun, old school musical that will leave you smiling. The musical will be on the Scripps Ranch Theatre stage until December 16th. Tickets are available at www.scrippsranchthatre.org or call 858-578-7728. Up next for Scripps Ranch Theatre will be “Dancing Lessons” beginning January 25th.