BWW Reviews: SHE LOVES ME at Hale Centre Theatre West Valley is a Heartfelt Love Letter
SHE LOVES ME at Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley is a heartfelt love letter to old-fashioned musicals and romance.
SHE LOVES ME (book by Joe Masteroff, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick) is based on a Hungarian play by Miklos Laszlo that was the source material of beloved Hollywood films THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME, and YOU'VE GOT MAIL. The 1963 musical tells the tale of all the co-workers at a perfume shop, including a man and woman who despise each other at work but, unbeknownst to them, have fallen in love with one another through their anonymous letters.
David Smith as Georg Nowack (double cast with Derek Smith) is a true delight. His comic sensibilities are at once zany and reserved, and he has a lovable everyman quality about him while still commanding the stage as the leading man.
Rachel Woodward Hansen as Amalia Balash (double cast with Amy Shreeve Keeler) fits her character like a glove and has a pitch perfect voice for the score. She is to be applauded for the truly professional manner in which she dealt with the sound problems that affected her throughout the reviewed performance. She never missed a beat.
The acting of the supporting cast is exceptionally strong. Every single one is positively believable as their character and brings the audience on the journey with them. Their singing is also mostly great, although the difficult score leads to the occasional missed note.
The supporting cast includes Nick Gledhill as Arpad Laszlo (double cast with Harrison Young), Suzie Jacobsen Balser as Ilona Ritter (double cast with Megan Heaps), Zac Zumbrunnen as Mr. Maraczek (double cast with David Weekes), Nick Grossaint as Ladislov Sipos (double cast with Jeff Thompson), and Benjamin Henderson as Steven Kodaly (double cast with David Martin).
Cameron Asay (double cast with Jacob Squire) also deserves special mention for his wonderful cameo as the waiter.
Although often understated, the set design by Kacey Udy is at times breathtaking as usual, as is the detailed, complementary properties design by Michelle Jensen. The costume design by Amanda Reiser and Peggy Willis is especially lovely in this production, especially when paired with the hair and makeup design by Krissa Lent.
If you are a fan of classic musicals and are unfamiliar with this show, take a chance on it and you may be rewarded with a new favorite.
SHE LOVES ME plays through September 27, 2014. For tickets, call the box office at 801-984-9000 or visit www.halecentretheatre.org.
Photo Credit: L-R David Smith (Georg Nowack) and Rachel Woodward Hansen (Amalia Balash)