|Lana Shumway and Ben Robbins|
photo: Allyson Van Patten
Click here for more information on this production that runs through November 12th.
".The charming and utterly romantic musical She Loves Me tells the story of two shop employees who can't stand each other, even though, unbeknownst to them, they are actually pen pals who are falling in love through the frequent heartfelt letters they exchange. Mesa Community College presents a beautiful, large scale production of this jewel of a musical with a fine cast, clear direction, and lovely creative elements. Set in 1934, the story centers on the co-workers of a Budapest parfumerie. Amalia Balash, the shop's newest sales clerk, has pinned her romantic hopes on the man she has been writing to for months, even though she has never met him or seen a picture of him. She constantly spars with her fellow clerk Georg Nowack, whom she finds bossy and somewhat rude. While Georg does occasionally lash out at Amalia, that is mostly due to her lateness or the fact that for some unknown reason Mr. Maraczek, the owner of the shop, has turned sour on Georg which has put him on edge. Little do Amalia and Georg know but they are each other's "Dear Friend"—the pen pal they have each been writing to....Sue Ann Lucius and Allyson Van Patten's co-direction turn this somewhat small and intimate musical into a large show with a big and beautiful revolving set design by Skye Bradsher and a large ensemble cast who are used effectively throughout. ...The MCC cast is quite good, with Ben Robbins and Lana Shumway delivering refined portrayals of Georg and Amalia. Both have good singing voices which achieve beautiful renditions of the score's touching solos and add nice moments to the numerous comical group numbers. Shumway does well in portraying the many layers of Amalia, which include frustration, fear and loneliness. Robbins' solid stage presence instills Georg with strength. Once Mr. Maraczek starts acting odd to Georg, Robbins' portrayal effortlessly changes from firm and sane to one full of confusion and anxiety....Aurelie Flores' costumes are as colorful, smart and bright as Skye Bradsher's stunning set...She Loves Me is a sweet concoction of a show with endearing characters and a beautiful score. With a beautiful set design, firm direction, and a fine cast, Mesa Community College's production is a very tasty treat. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)