Citadel Theatre Announces Cast and Creative Team For Holiday Musical Production of SHE LOVES ME

The production will open on November 17.

By: Sep. 29, 2023
Citadel Theatre Announces Cast and Creative Team For Holiday Musical Production of SHE LOVES ME

Citadel Theatre Announces Cast and Creative Team For Holiday Musical Production of SHE LOVES ME Citadel Theatre has announced the full cast and crew for its production of the much-loved musical SHE LOVES ME, by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, songwriters of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. SHE LOVES ME premiered on Broadway in 1963 and has been revived on Broadway twice since then. It follows the story of two quarrelling co-workers in a Budapest perfumery. Unaware that they are anonymous pen pals, they have fallen in love with each other through their letters. Will they share their truths and find love in time for Christmas? The musical is based on a Hungarian play that was also adapted into the films THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME, and YOU'VE GOT MAIL. Matthew Silar, director of Citadel's 2022 LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, returns to Citadel to helm this holiday musical. SHE LOVES ME will open on November 17, 2023 (following previews on November 15 and 16) and play through December 17, 2023. Single tickets are now on sale at the link below.

Matthew Silar, who directed Citadel's well-received LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS in the fall of 2022, returns to Citadel to direct SHE LOVES ME and is thrilled with cast's impressive credits at the Chicago area's Equity-affiliated musical theaters.  Leading his cast as the anonymous pen pals are Hannah Louise Fernandes as Amalia Balash and Travis Ascione as Georg Nowack. Fernandes appeared as Cinderella in Paramount Theatre's INTO THE WOODS earlier this year. Ascione played Picasso in Citadel's PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE and since then has appeared in key roles with the Texas Shakespeare Festival and the touring company Shakespeare and Co.
The brash and egotistical shop salesman Steven Kodaly will be played by Jeffrey Charles, who earlier this year appeared in I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE at Glenview's Oil Lamp Theatre. Kodaly's secret paramour Ilona Ritter will be played by Kaitlin Feely, coming straight from her role as Holly in THE WEDDING SINGER with Chicago's Surging Films and Theatrics. The gruff owner of the perfumery, Mr. Maraczek, will be performed by Geoff Isaac, last seen at Citadel in LIGHT UP THE SKY.  Darian Goulding of Paramount's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and INTO THE WOODS has been cast as the sympathetic co-worker Ladislav Sipos. Brody Tyner, who played Friedrich in THE SOUND OF MUSIC this past year at both the Paramount and the Marriott Theatres, will appear as the naïve and eager assistant Arpad Laszlo. Also in the cast are Laura Brennan, Jake Busse, Jill Iverson, Abbey Loria, Trey Mendlik, Natalie Stahl, and Adam Thatcher.

Leading the creative and production team for SHE LOVES ME, in addition to Silar as stage director, are Music Director David Zizic and Choreographer Amanda Schmidt. The design team includes Jeff Award-winner Eric Luchen (Set Designer), Danielle Reinhardt (Costume Designer), Jodi Williams (Lighting Designer), Kurt Ottinger (Sound Designer), Nicholas Bartleson (Properties Designer), and Courtney Abbott (Intimacy Director). Rounding out the production team are Jason Clark (Master Carpenter), Alex Trinh (Sound Board Operator), Erin Galvin (Run Crew). Jessica Greenhoe is Stage Manager, and Scott Phelps and Ellen Phelps are Production Managers.
Citadel Theatre is in residence in the West Campus of the Lake Forest School District at 300 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest. Further information and ticketing is available on the company's website at the link below or by phone at 847-735-8554, ext. 1


Music by Jerry Bock, Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, Book by Joe Masteroff
Based on a play by Miklós László
Directed by Matthew Silar
Choreography by Amanda Schmidt
Music Direction by David Zizic

Friday, November 17 – Sunday, December 17, 2023

(Previews November 15-16 @ 7:30 pm) Press Opening Friday, November 17 at 7:30 pm
Thursdays*, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sunday matinees at 3 pm. Wednesday matinees at 1 pm on November 22 and December 6.

* No shows on Thursdays November 23 (Thanksgiving Day) or December 7.
Preview ticket prices $20. Regular run prices Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays $40; Saturdays and Sundays $45.00. Discounts available for groups, seniors and students.

Citadel Theatre is located in the West Campus building of the Lake Forest School District, 300 S. Waukegan Rd., Lake Forest, IL.

Tickets available online at the link below or by phone at 847-735-8554, ext. 1
In a 1930s European perfumery, clerks Amalia and Georg rarely see eye to eye. After both respond to a "lonely hearts advertisement" in the newspaper, they now live for the love letters that they exchange, but the identity of their admirers remains unknown until all is revealed on Christmas Eve. Based on the play PARFUMERIE, which was also the basis for the films THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME, and YOU'VE GOT MAIL.


Matthew Silar (Director)  is a Chicago-based, Texas-loving, California born theatre artist and educator. He returns to Citadel after directing last season's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS in fall 2022. Matthew has worked professionally as a college audition coach, director, AEA stage manager and actor in both the Chicagoland and DFW theatre communities. He is the co-founder of 24 HR Musical, a non-profit that partnered with charitable organizations to create global change through the arts. His theatre company, Awaken Theatre, opened its inaugural production in June of 2021.

Jerry Bock (Composer) and Sheldon Harnick (Lyricist). Though best known for their score for FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, the songwriting team of Bock and Harnick wrote scores for eight Broadway musicals, in addition to their contributions to several other shows.  Although their first joint venture, THE BODY BEAUTIFUL, failed to charm the critics, its score caught the attention of director George Abbott and producer Hal Prince. They hired the team to compose a musical biography of former New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia. FIORELLO! (1959) earned Bock and Harnick the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical, Tony Award for Best Musical (tied with the team from The Sound of Music) and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Their additional collaborations include TENDERLOIN (1960), MAN IN THE MOON (1963), SHE LOVES ME (1963), FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (1964), THE APPLE TREE (1966), and THE ROTHSCHILDS (1970), as well as contributions to NEVER TOO LATE (1962), BAKER STREET (1965), HER FIRST ROMAN (1968), and THE MADWOMAN OF CENTRAL PARK WEST (1979).

Both Bock and Harnick had connections to the Midwest. Harnick, who passed away on June 23 of this year, was born in Chicago, grew up in the Portage Park neighborhood, and graduated from Northwestern University in 1949.  Bock was a student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he wrote huis first show.

Joe Masteroff (Librettist). Masteroff's most enduring work as a musical theater librettists was his book for the musical Cabaret, which he adapted from John Van Druten's play I AM A CAMERA and THE BERLIN STORIES by Christopher Isherwood. His book for SHE LOVES ME earned him a Tony Award nomination for Best Author of a Musical. With music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, CABARET opened on Broadway in November 1966 and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. Masteroff's next and final Broadway project was 70, GIRLS, 70, again with music and lyrics by Kander and Ebb.
Scott Phelps (Artistic Director) is in his 22nd year as the Artistic Director at Citadel. He's acted in and directed dozens of Citadel productions over the two decades since founding this North Shore theatre in 2002 with his friend and lifelong companion, Ellen. Earlier in 2023, he starred in the leading role of Pastor Paul in THE CHRISTIANS. He has acted/directed in NYC, and in his home state of California, trained as an actor at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria, CA, received his BFA from the University of Utah, and did an apprenticeship at The Actors Theatre of Louisville in KY. For 18 years Scott worked for a promotional company and raised his three daughters and his son in Lake Forest. Recently he has been taking on the next chapter of his life — the role of “Beepa” to his grandchildren. Although he is unsure if he is old enough to play that part, he's been enjoying the challenge.
Citadel Theatre is one of Chicagoland's premier live theatres, producing hundreds of performances annually and inspiring audiences for nearly 22 years. Founded by Scott and Ellen Phelps in 2002, Citadel Theatre is comprised of its Main Stage performances and its theatre acting classes for children. A proud member of the League of Chicago Theatres and the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff ArtsLink, Citadel Theatre offers a unique intimate theatre experience that transports you to another setting and leaves you feeling exhilarated and wanting more. A recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Citadel can accept tax-deductible donations. For more information, ticketing, and to donate, please visit Citadel online at Click Here or call 847.735.8554.

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