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Review: SHE LOVES ME At the Public Theatre San Antonio at The Public Theatre San Antonio

Running now through June 19th

Review: SHE LOVES ME At the Public Theatre San Antonio at The Public Theatre San Antonio She Loves Me is one of my favorite musicals and getting to see it live, locally, was a treat. Honestly, if it weren't for the rigors of teaching life I may have considered auditioning myself because I love it so much. The story centers on a man, Georg Nowack, played by Grant Bryan, and a woman, Amalia Balash, played by Lauren Esquivel who have been falling in love through their letter correspondence. They were distance lovers before email, text messages, or Tinder. Their feelings are put to the test when Ms. Balash enters Maraczek's Purfumerie to inquire about a job. The two despised each other in person without realizing the other is their pen pal love.

Lauren Esquivel's performance is a beautiful balance of sweet and fierce. Her moments of love brilliantly counter her moments of hostility toward her frustrating coworker. All the while she effortlessly glides from her lower range to her higher range in the beast of a song Vanilla Ice Cream. Grant Bryan's performance is equally erratic bouncing between love-struck and contempt. Ultimately, the two love birds end up together which is a win for everyone. But, as if love were not enough, scandal, mistaken identities, and self-realizations make this musical comedy a masterwork.

Mr. Maraczek played by DuWayne Greene believes that Georg is having an affair with his wife. Mr. Greene's performance was delightfully light when it needed to be and absolutely heartbreaking at one of the darkest moments in the musical. All and all he was a pleasure to watch on stage but what his character didn't realize is that his wife was sleeping with another clerk, Steven Kodaly, played by Rick Sanchez. His performance was equally comedic and seductive. You could tell right from the start that Mr. Kodaly loved the ladies and they loved him. His banter with Ilona Ritter played by Paige Berry was delightful and made their silences even more impactful. begins the play pining after Mr. Kodaly finds new love at a library of all places. Her interpretation of "A Trip to the Library" was not only musically intriguing but comedically on point. The piece in and of itself is difficult to sing and act and Ms. Berry nailed it leaving the audience chuckling well into the next scene.
Completing the cast of supporting roles is Ladislav Sipos played by Kirk Kelso, who kept the audience laughing throughout the piece, and Arpad Laszlo played by Jeremy Marmolejo whose charm had you rooting for him from the start.

The real standouts in this piece are the ensemble made up of Isidro Medina III, Laurel Neuhaus, Jillian Sainz, and Rebekah Williams. Mr. Medina's comedic, physical acting skills got their own spotlight in "A Romantic Atmosphere" where he hysterically flounced about the stage making sure that everything was perfectly placed for all manners of secret rendevous. While he took the spotlight in this number Ms. Neuhaus, Ms. Sainz, and Ms. Williams acted as all patrons of the restaurant with costumes designed by Michael Ciaramitaro that were half dress and half suit. This made for a comedic mess of love affairs on stage that was brilliantly staged by Director Laura Michelle Wolfe Hoadly and Choreographer Scott Conway. It was a joy to watch!

All in all She Loves Me at The Public Theatre San Antonio is the little show that could. Having survived a delayed opening due to COVID, a change in Director mid-rehearsal, and a smaller ensemble than usually utilized it provided a wonderful evening of entertainment.

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From This Author - Bryan Stanton

Bryan Stanton is a theatre educator in San Antonio,TX. Prior to jumping into the classroom he worked as an Event and Show Producer for both SeaWorld San Antonio and SeaWorld San Diego. While in San... (read more about this author)

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