The cast of â€œShe Loves Meâ€ is hard at work rehearsing for Opening Night on Nov. 9. â€œShe Loves Meâ€ runs at Scripps Ranch Theatre through Dec. 16. (photo by Ted Leib)
SR Theatre opens ‘She Loves Me’
Scripps Ranch Theatre (SRT) will ease playgoers into a holiday mood with its second play of the season, “She Loves Me,” running Nov. 9 through Dec. 16.
Described on the SRT website as “perhaps the most charming musical ever written,” “She Loves Me” is a romantic comedy featuring music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, the same songwriting team behind “Fiddler on the Roof.”
“[‘She Loves Me’] is a love story but it also has a holiday theme to it, so it fits in perfectly with a November-December time slot,” director Tim Leib said. “The play takes place in a perfume shop around the holiday season. There’s even a big number called ‘12 Days to Christmas’ that counts down the days left to finish holiday shopping.”
The main story in the play is about Georg [yes, that’s how it’s spelled] and Amalia, two people who work in the same shop, but do not get along with each other. Both have a pen pal who they’re devoted to writing to each week and look forward to reading the letters sent to them. As the letters go on, both Georg and Amalia fall in love with their pen pals, even though they’ve never met.
If that story sounds familiar, it’s because this play, based on the 1937 Hungarian play by Miklos Laslo, is the story upon which the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie “You’ve Got Mail” is based. The story was also the basis for a 1939 Jimmy Stewart film titled “The Shop Around the Corner.”
Subplots of the play include another couple working in the shop who have a different view on love, and the shop’s owner who is starting to think his wife of 30 years has been unfaithful.
“This show is a unique piece. A lot of people think this is the best score from the ’60s,” Leib said. “It is such a beautiful piece. I don’t know anyone who has seen a decent production of it who doesn’t love it.”
While written by the same team behind “Fiddler,” the songs of “She Loves Me” have a very different sound and feel from that play, featuring more of a classical musical theater style, according to Leib.
“The music is absolutely gorgeous. Some of the songs people likely would have heard before, like ‘Vanilla Ice Cream,’ the title song ‘She Loves Me,’ a beautiful tune called ‘Will He Like Me?’ and a song called ‘Ilona,’ which has a nice bossa nova feel to it,” he said.
Leib reported that the show is a favorite among theater actors and that fact prompted an enthusiastic response to the casting call.
“It’s not a show that’s done that often, but it’s something that a lot of musical actors know by reputation or experience,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun for the actors to perform and hopefully for the audience as well.”
The cast includes Taylor Magee, making her debut at SRT, in the role of Amalia; and Luke Monday as Georg. Tara Brown-Sampson makes her SRT debut as Ilona and Tanner Vidos plays Steven.
“This cast is energetic. They love one another. Everybody’s so excited to be putting this show on, and I think that’s going to translate to the audience,” Leib said.
The show on Friday, Nov. 9 is considered a soft opening, with Saturday, Nov. 10 being the official opening night. As is tradition at SRT, opening night will include a post-show reception that provides anyone who attended the show with the opportunity to meet the cast, directors and others who help put on the show.
Scripps Ranch Theatre is on the campus of Alliant International University, 9783 Avenue of Nations. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit scrippsranchtheatre.org.