Book by JOE MASTEROFF
Music by JERRY BOCK
Lyrics by SHELDON HARNICK
Based on a Play by Miklos Laszlo
Originally Directed on Broadway by Harold Prince
Originally Produced on Broadway by Harold Prince in Association with Lawrence N. Kasha and Philip C. McKenna
Original Orchestrations by Don Walker. Adapted by Frank Matosich, Jr.
Directors – Mel Hogan & Chloe Long
Music Director – Rich Ferraro
Georg Nowack, a quiet-living bachelor in Europe during the 1930s, is the manager of Maraczek’s Parfumerie, a small shop trying hard to stay afloat during difficult economic times. Georg is encouraged by Mr Maraczek, the shop’s owner, to find himself someone to love. Indeed it seems that love may be on the horizon as Georg is about to meet, for the first time, the anonymous penfriend with whom he has developed a romantic relationship by letter.
Amongst the employees the shop runs harmoniously, with the exception of an on-again off-again liaison between the impressionable Miss Ilona Ritter and smooth ladies’ man, Stephen Kodaly. Arpad the messenger boy dreams of being promoted to clerk, while Ladislav Sipos frets about the security of his job. The harmony starts to unravel, however, when Maraczek hires Miss Amalia Balash as a new shop assistant; Georg and Amalia are at odds with each other from the start and soon develop a mutual dislike. Curiously, Miss Balash also has a date to meet an anonymous penfriend with whom she has developed a romantic relationship by letter…
Mr Maraczek’s accustomed friendship towards Georg suddenly changes, apparently without reason. In fact, Maraczek has been tipped off by letter that one of his clerks is having an affair with his wife, and Georg is the obvious suspect. Georg is provoked into resigning his job.
Amalia waits in the Cafe Imperiale for her “Dear Friend” but when Georg arrives, to discover that the woman he loves is his feuding co-worker, he hides the truth from her and causes a scene.
Will Mr Maraczek discover the secret behind his wife’s affair? Will Ilona ever find an honorable man to love? And will Georg and Amalia finally discover their true feelings for each other?
She Loves Me is a perennial favorite among true devotees of musical theatre: It doesn’t enjoy a high recognition among audiences, but among connoisseurs, it is widely considered one of the best constructed musicals ever written. Why does this musical, which originally only ran a little over 300 performances, command so much respect?
There are songs by a partnership with a proven track record, and a story that is as universal and relevant as ever in this age of internet romances. Add a cast of credible, three-dimensional characters, each with their own foibles, music that flawlessly supports and colours, rather than imposes, and you have what has been described by others as the perfect musical – a show where the story-telling is the key.
The show’s obscurity is its greatest asset. It is a hidden gem, and all the more delightful when you discover it.