Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Las Vegas

She Loves Me
Hynes-Sight Entertainment/Super Summer Theatre
Review by Mary LaFrance


Lauren Ashlea Fraser and Alex Cheney
Photo by Teresa Isgriggs
She Loves Me is a musical theatre gem. Based on the 1937 play Parfumerie by Miklos Laszlo (which also inspired three Hollywood films: The Shop Around the Corner, In the Good Old Summertime, and You've Got Mail), She Loves Me tells the tale of two co-workers who can't seem to get along, not realizing that they are also one another's anonymous pen pals after connecting through a "lonely hearts" ad. As adapted by bookwriter Joe Masteroff, this is a more than sufficient plot device for a musical comedy. Add to that a host of lovely songs with music by Jerry Bock and clever lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and the result is a delightful chamber musical.

It's a show that requires legitimate voices in order to shine, and shine it does in Hynes-Sight's fine production at the Super Summer Theatre. In a cast that has no weak links, either in acting or singing, some of the most beautiful voices belong to Lauren Ashlea Fraser as Amalia (one half of the sparring couple), Michael Vojvodich as workplace lothario Kodaly, and Joshua Meltzer as their clumsy but goodhearted colleague Ladislav. Other noteworthy performances include Alex Cheney as Georg (Amalia's co-worker and secret correspondent), Monica Johns as the hot-to-trot yet vulnerable Ilona, Joshua Smithline as the ambitious delivery boy Arpad, and Glenn Heath as shop owner Maraczek.

Choreographer Teresa Isgriggs and the singing/dancing ensemble do impressive work as well. In a restaurant that specializes in clandestine assignations, the ensemble performs a spirited number ("Romantic Atmosphere") with their faces completely hidden behind menus. This seems like a risky approach to dance, but it works. (Lithe dancer Laurence Hoshino has some nice moments as the busboy.) The seductive "Ilona" allows Vojvodich and Johns to show off their ballroom dancing skills. In the penultimate number, "Twelve Days to Christmas," the ensemble are panicked Christmas shoppers who swarm the store and strip the shelves like frenzied locusts; it is beautifully orchestrated chaos.

The lush musicality of Bock's score is enhanced by a 14-piece live orchestra, conducted by musical director Toby McEvoy. Although the musicians are hidden from view, their presence is a credit to Hynes-Sight's production values.

The show's pleasing musicality is enough to make for a fine evening. The production could be improved, however, with faster pacing and higher energy levels in the book scenes. While all of the actors are capable and convincing, only Vojvodich brings the same energy to his acting as he does to his singing. Director Joe Hynes sometimes allows "dead air" on stage, especially at the conclusion of scenes, as when characters take too long to exit. Add to this the time spent moving set pieces (unavoidable with limited stage technology), and show feels about 10 minutes too long.

Cassie Lentz's modular set design is pleasing to the eye, as are the period costumes by Daniella Toscano. Unfortunately, Andy Killion's lighting design is unsubtle and, at times, downright garish. The sound design (uncredited) could be improved as well; in "Sounds While Selling," the tantalizing snippets of conversations between customers and clerks are sometimes hard to decipher, despite careful enunciation by the singers.

Despite these flaws, She Loves Me is a stylish and winning production, with melodies that will keep you humming on your drive home from the canyon.

She Loves Me, through July 14, 2018, (Wednesday-Saturday at 8:05 pm) at the Super Summer Theatre at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, 6375 Highway 158, Blue Diamond NV. For tickets ($15) or other information, go to www.supersummertheatre.org.

Cast:
Georg Nowak: Alex Cheney
Amalia Balash: Lauren Ashlea Fraser
Steven Kodaly: Micheal Vojvodich
Ilona Ritter: Monica Johns
Ladislav Sipos: Joshua Meltzer
Mr. Maraczek: Glenn Heath
Arpad: Joshua Smithline
The Waiter: Michael Brown
The Busboy: Laurence Hoshino


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