SHE LOVES ME

She Loves Me Studio 54 Cast List: Laura Benanti, Zachary Levi, Jane Krakowski, René Auberjonois, Gavin Creel, Nicholas Barasch, Peter Bartlett, Michael McGrath, Cameron Adams, Alison Cimmet, Justin Bowen, Preston Truman Boyd, Benjamin Eakeley, Sara Edwards, Michael Fatica, Gina Ferrall, Jenifer Foote, Andrew Kober, Laura Shoop, Jim Walton Production Credits: Scott Ellis (director) David Rockwell (scenic design) Jeff Mahshie (costume design) Donald Holder (lighting design) Jon Weston (sound design) Larry Hochman (orchestrations) David Krane (dance arrangements and incidental music) Other Credits: Lyrics by: Sheldon Harnick Music by: Jerry Bock Book by Joe Masteroff -

SHE LOVES ME is based on the film “The Shop Around The Corner” which was also the inspiration for Nora Ephron’s “You’ve Got Mail.”  Although I can watch “..Mail” endlessly and feel the same flood of joy every time Meg Ryan says “I was hoping it was you,”  I can barely stomach the treacly musical SHE LOVES ME.  This may be due to my intimate knowledge of the show.  I was Head of Properties at Playwrights Horizons in 1980 when we did SHE LOVES ME in their Queens satellite theater.  Back then, after multiple viewings, I said “how can Amalia be so stupid as to take what Georg says at face value and how can Georg be so wishy-washy about everything! Plus the first 1/4 of the show is just quaint, old-fashioned blandness.”

My opinion has not mellowed with age.  The score is split between Hungarian melodies and unabashed 1960’s show tunes and I find the clash of these warring elements peculiarly unsettling.  It’s the same with the book; one minute we are bound by customs and propriety, the next we are all about sex.  I was hoping this production would use these opposing poles to create something with a new attitude that might give them a reason for being in the same show.  Instead, we get a blind eye on the problems, the jokes are punched up, the romance oversold and the result gave me a sugar headache.

Don’t blame the cast.  They are wonderful, each one of them shines.  The set is gorgeous, the costumes divine.  If you have a higher tolerance for cloying sap than I, you will love this show.

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