Front Row Reviewers

Jun 9, 2024 | Reviews

“She Loves Me” and We Love Springville Playhouse!

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers

Review By Avery Dall-Hilton, Front Row Reviewers

A wonderful evening awaits you when you attend the musical comedy She Loves Me. As usual, our lovely friends at Springville Playhouse gave me a welcome and a spot on the front row. I even got the chance to participate a little in the show. No spoilers, but I would recommend sitting front and center if you can. It is always a delight attending shows on behalf of Front Row Reviewers and this production was no exception. Since my very first time watching this show—the 1979 BBC television version—this show has held a special place in my heart. With comical themes of mistaken identity, characters that go from enemies to lovers, and a touch of a romantic atmosphere, it’s no wonder this show has endured the test of time since its original release in 1963. You might be surprised to know you’ve likely seen alternate versions and adaptations of this play with movies like In the Good Old Summertime, The Shop Around the Corner, and You’ve Got Mail. The music is one of the most standout elements of this show from outstanding composer Jerry Bock and lyricist Sheldon Harnick.

Right off the bat we are dazzled as the curtain opens to reveal a gorgeous set, designed by the director Robinne Booth. Each set piece is so detailed and well thought out, it transports us into the world of the cozy perfumery and the lives of the characters. The entrance of each character is the perfect introduction to them as the story begins to unfold.

George Nowak (Jared Gaskil) is an instant presence on stage as his wit, charm, and hilarious nervous energy drive the plot forward. In the end, his Gene Kelly-esque energy not only wins him the girl of his dreams, but keeps the audience captivated on his journey from a self-centered man to a “man [we] like”. His calm counterpart is found in Trent Bates, playing the bumbling sidekick, Ladislav Sipos, who is desperate to keep the status quo. Another standout performance is Adam DeFord who takes on the role of the slimy Steven Kodaly. DeFord masters everything from the slippery tenor voice down to the very specific mannerisms of a clear charlatan. By contrast, Cristian Bastidas playing the role of Arpad is the epitome of endearing innocence as he grows from delivery boy to store clerk by the end of the show. Playhouse veteran Craig Gardner brings so much nuance and charm to the character of Mr. Maraczek. His character arc is beautiful and heartwarming as he navigates the difficulties of a broken marriage and the consequences of his actions.

Although there are only a few main female roles, the women do not disappoint as Amalia and Ilona bond over work and boys. Amalia is played by Allison Dean, whose lovely voice rings through the audience beautifully in such timeless numbers as “Vanilla Ice Cream” and “Will He Like Me”. Nicole Lundquist playing the role of Ilona is a trained and experienced dancer, and she floats around the stage as the ditzy receptionist, discovering herself and coming to terms with her mistakes. The ensemble women dazzle as well, particularly in “Sounds While Selling”, a tricky trio number that brings out the comedy very nicely.
Booth brings a clear vision for the show in her expert direction. I was so impressed with how she uses the spaces of the stage, whether large or small, including the floor level, right up close to the audience. The entire cast and crew are to be applauded for their diligence and skill in bringing to life this charming production.

Whether it’s an old favorite for you like it is for me, or if you’ve never even heard of it, She Loves Me is a must see at Merit Preparatory Academy this month. Don’t miss it!

Audiences are advised that this show contains talk of marital infidelity and some mild innuendos.

Springville Playhouse presents She Loves Me by Joe Masteroff (book), Jerry Bock (music), and Sheldon Harnik (lyrics).
Merit Preparatory Academy, 1440 W Center St, Springville, UT 84663
June 10, 13-15, 17, 20-22, 2024 7:30 PM
Tickets: $12-15
Springville Playhouse Facebook
Photos provided by Springville Playhouse.

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers


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