Review: ‘She Loves Me’

  • Peterborough Players Tom Frey and Rebecca Brinkley as George and Amalia in "She Loves Me" Photo by Eric Rothhaus

  • Bridget Beirne and Joe Bigelow in the Peterborough Players production of “She Loves Me.” Photo by Eric Rothhaus

In the Reviewer’s Chair
Published: 8/4/2019 12:47:20 PM

Broadway has come to the Peterborough Players this summer with the comedic musical “She Loves Me,” directed by Players’ artistic director Gus Kaikkonen and starring Tom Frey and Rebecca Brinkley as the two accidental lovers Georg Nowack and Amalia Balash.

Love and adoration abound in this show! Merging just the right amount of loud comedy and gentle romance, “She Loves Me” tells a sweet story about what we desire, whether that be love – of a romantic nature or not – or respect, or simply acknowledgement for a job well done.

The musical is set in Budapest in the late 1930s and centers on Georg and Amalia. As members of a lonely hearts club they are writing letters to their anonymous partners, known only as ‘Dear Friend.’ Hilarity ensues, of course, over a case of mistaken identity and affections as they continuously butt heads and somehow miss every opportunity to see the other as their pen pal despite working at the same parfumerie.

While Georg and Amalia are carrying out their plot, their co-workers live through a whole array of their own problems. Clerks Ilona Ritter, played by Bridget Beirne, and Steven Kodaly, played by Joe Bigelow, deal with their tumultuous, but ultimately passionate relationship, leading Ilona to ask herself what she really wants out of life. Does she want to stay with Kodaly, who’s a charming womanizer, or will she set out to find someone who offers her more?

Georg’s confidant Sipos, played by Kraig Swartz, finds himself right in the middle of all this romantic nonsense as a voice of reason despite being somewhat of a fool himself. The owner of the parfumerie, a stern but ultimately delightful man called Maraczek, played by Greg Wood, deals with personal problems whilst preparing the shop for the Christmas holiday. The cast of 22 includes Players alums as well as Second Company members Hunter Michael Minor, Brad Baker and Thomas Short.

“She Loves Me” includes music from the pair behind “Fiddler On The Roof,” Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock. The book was written by Joe Masteroff, the playwright behind “Cabaret.” Together they created a show full of soaring musical numbers and beautiful orchestrations. Bill Burns, who choreographed “The Producers” at the Players in 2017, creates an incredible liveliness on stage to accompany these numbers.

The set takes you in right from the start; the costumes are simple, yet beautifully affective; and the ensemble, as always, is a captivating thrill to behold.

“She Loves Me” is chock full of brilliance, tenderness, and hilarity at every turn. Ultimately, this is a story about longing. It’s sweet, so very good, and I loved it just as much as Georg and Amalia love the words they write to each other.

The show opened Wednesday and runs through Aug. 11.

Cheyenne Heinselman is an actress and a playwright, a member of the International Thespian Society Troupe #7883, as well as an avid and opinionated supporter of the arts.


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