She Loves Me
Produced by Arena Stage
Reviewed by Ronnie Ruff
Revivals of Broadway musicals are huge nowadays and there is little doubt that to be successful, everything needs to click: a good book, a strong score, characters we can care for and good performances. She Loves Me, the Christmas card sent to us this year from Arena Stage and Molly Smith, has all of those things and for me an extra bit of meaning. You see, I will be meeting a young lady I have been corresponding with from the UK at the end of this month. We have been exchanging email for the last three months or so much in much the same way two of the characters in She Loves Me exchange old fashioned snail mail. This kind of fairytale love story mixed with the magic of Christmas that touched me and I think will touch you if you choose to get your ticket to this fantastic production.
Our story takes place in a perfume shop in 1930’s
There are two performance standouts in this gem of a musical. Brynn O’Malley makes her
Additional standout performances are Clifton Guterman as the delivery boy who longs to be a salesman and Sebastian La Cause as the cad. The fact is everyone involved in this production from an acting standpoint deliver fine performances.
Technical aspects of this show are in keeping with Arena’s longstanding ability to put a quality product on stage. The costumes by Nan Cibula-Jenkins are stunning and perfectly tailored. The set design is a good mix of simplicity and detail. Special touches are perfume counters that rise from the stage as needed and a number of things falling from the sky. Kate Edmunds makes good use of the Fichandler’s “in the round” space by moving the action from corner to corner. Nancy Schertler’s lighting works well with many of the costume color schemes to produce a colorful visual palette.
As with any musical, the music and the orchestrations are a major part of its success or failure. She Loves Me offers a few really fantastic songs (She Loves Me, Vanilla Ice Cream, A Romantic Atmosphere), composed by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler On The Roof) these tunes vary in tempo but maintain a wonderful sense of stylistic integrity. The fourteen piece orchestra is top notch and does not disappoint at any time.
While She Loves Me will never be considered one of the best Broadway musicals ever it is none the less a gem of a show and Arena’s revival is just the thing to bring a little joy to your holiday season. A charming story, Good songs, a beautiful set, elegant costumes, soaring voices and fine acting, what more do you need under your theatre Christmas tree?