She Loves Me
|She Loves Me|
Original Broadway Poster
|Basis||Miklos Laszlo's play
1964 West End
1993 Broadway revival
1994 West End revival
|Awards||1993 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival
1994 Olivier Award Best Musical Revival
The musical is the third adaptation of the play Parfumerie by Hungarian playwright Miklos Laszlo, following the 1940 James Stewart-Margaret Sullavan film The Shop around the Corner and the 1949 Judy Garland-Van Johnson musical version In the Good Old Summertime. It would surface yet again in 1998 as the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan feature You've Got Mail. The plot revolves around Budapest shop employees Georg Nowack and Amalia Balash who, despite being consistently at odds with each other at work, are unaware that each is the other's secret pen pal met through lonely-hearts ads.
The musical premiered on Broadway in 1963, and subsequently had productions in the West End in 1964 and award-winning revivals on each side of the Atlantic in the 1990s, as well as regional productions.
On a beautiful summer day in Budapest in the 1930s, the employees of Maraczek's Parfumerie arrive at work ("Good Morning, Good Day"). Working at the shop are Ladisov Sipos, a middle-aged salesman with a family; teenage delivery boy Arpad Laszlo; sexy and gullible thirty-something Ilona Ritter; Steven Kodaly, a suave ladies' man; and Georg Nowack, the shy manager. Mr. Maraczek arrives to open the store, and it is soon full of "Sounds While Selling". The clerks tell the customers, "Thank You, Madam". Georg has been exchanging letters with a "dear friend", and he shares today's romantic letter with Sipos. Maraczek advises Georg to get married and recalls being a bachelor ("Days Gone By").
Arpad begins stocking the shelves with a new musical cigarette case. Mr. Maraczek insists that they will manage to sell one within an hour. A nervous young woman, Amalia Balash, enters, hoping to obtain a job at the Parfumerie. When Georg tells her they are not hiring, she demands to speak with Maraczek. Amalia takes one of the cigarette cases and convinces a customer that it is really a musical candy box that plays each time it is opened to gently tell the owner "No More Candy". Maraczek is impressed and immediately hires Amalia.
Georg and Amalia constantly argue at work, finding solace in their anonymous romantic pen pals, not suspecting that their respective correspondents are none other than each other ("Three Letters"). At last, they arrange to meet their pen pals in person. Their fellow employees observe their bickering, and Sipos explains to Arpad that they argue because they unknowingly like each other very much. Arpad naively suggests they tell Georg and Amalia this, and Sipos retorts that they'd never believe it.
Maraczek is becoming harder to please, and he seems to be frustrated with Georg. On the morning of his date, Georg tells Sipos that "Tonight at Eight" he will finally meet his "dear friend". Meanwhile, Amalia explains to Ilona that even though she has not met her "dear friend" yet, she knows him very well from his letters ("I Don't Know His Name").
Mr. Maraczek and Georg argue, and when it becomes obvious that Maraczek is about to fire Georg, Sipos knocks over the stack of musical cigarette boxes to distract him. Maraczek reprimands Sipos and leaves. Sipos tells Georg that no replacement would treat him as well as Georg does ("Perspective"). Maraczek insists that everyone stay late to decorate for Christmas, but Amalia says she must leave early for her date. Georg asks to leave too, but Mr. Maraczek refuses to let him go. Georg angrily quits, and the other employees sadly say "Goodbye Georg". Amalia leaves clutching a copy of Anna Karenina with a rose in it so that her "dear friend" will be able to identify her. She wonders, "Will He Like Me?" Meanwhile, inside the shop, Kodaly begins seducing "Ilona". They make a date, but when Mr. Maraczek insists they must close the store early, Kodaly realizes that he has time for a 9:30 date that he previously scheduled. He postpones his date with Ilona, and she angrily declares that she will never fall for a man like him again ("I Resolve"). Georg is nervous and asks Sipos to give "dear friend" a note explaining that Georg could not come.
Mr. Maraczek's private investigator enters the shop and tells him that Kodaly is having an affair with his wife. Maraczek had assumed it was Georg. The investigator leaves, and Maraczek's wife calls to say she'll be out late. Maraczek points a gun at his head and pulls the trigger as Arpad enters the shop. Meanwhile, in the Cafe Imperiale, the head waiter is trying to maintain a "Romantic Atmosphere" as Amalia waits with her book and rose. Georg and Sipos enter and are shocked to realize that Amalia is Georg's date; however, Amalia does not know Georg is her "dear friend". Georg sits at Amalia's table and mocks her, singing a "Tango Tragique" about a woman who was murdered on a blind date. They argue, and Georg leaves. As the cafe closes, Amalia, still waiting, begs her "Dear Friend" not to abandon her.
The next day, Mr. Maraczek has survived his suicide attempt, and Arpad comes to visit him in the hospital. Maraczek is impressed with Arpad's hard work in his absence, and Arpad begs to be promoted to sales clerk ("Try Me"). Georg also stops by, and Maraczek apologizes and asks him to return to his job. Maraczek tells Georg to fire Kodaly and mentions that Amalia has called in sick.
Georg is worried about Amalia and visits her at her apartment. She fears he has come to spy on her and tell the others she is not really sick, so she attempts to get out of bed and get ready for work ("Where's My Shoe"). Georg, seeing she is truly sick, forces her back to bed and presents her with a gift: vanilla ice cream. He apologizes for his rudeness the previous night, but Amalia tells him that he was right about her date; if "dear friend" really loved her, he would have come. Georg, meaning well, makes up a story that he saw an older, bald, fat gentleman looking into the cafe. Georg says the man told him that he had to work and could not meet his date, and Georg surmises that he must be her "dear friend". Amalia is surprised to find she enjoys her conversation with Georg. After he leaves, she begins a letter to "dear friend" but can only think of Georg's kindness and his gift of "(Vanilla) Ice Cream".
Georg joyously decides that "She Loves Me". At Maraczek's, Ilona explains to Sipos that she has gotten over Kodaly; last night, she went on "A Trip To The Library" where she met Paul, a kindly optometrist. Kodaly bids everyone goodbye, stating it was "Grand Knowing You". With "Twelve Days to Christmas" left, the employees are busy helping last-minute shoppers, and Georg and Amalia enjoy each other's company. On Christmas Eve, Amalia tells Georg she has invited "dear friend" to spend the evening with her and her mother. She invites Georg as well, and he hesitatingly accepts. Mr. Maraczek returns to the shop for a happy reunion, and Ilona announces her plans to accept Paul's proposal that night, even though he does not know he is going to propose yet. Sipos leaves to join his family's Christmas party, and Maraczek takes Arpad for a night on the town.
Georg helps Amalia with her packages as she leaves the shop, and they accidentally drop one of the musical cigarette boxes. Amalia intends to give it to "dear friend", but Georg says he really would like it; it will remind him of the day he first met her. He admits that he always thought Amalia was the sort of girl he could fall in love with. Amalia confesses to having similar feelings, and Georg takes one of Amalia's letters to "dear friend" out of his pocket and begins reading it aloud. Amalia finally understands that Georg really is "dear friend" and they embrace.
Producer Lawrence Kasha brought the three writers together.
The musical premiered on Broadway on April 23, 1963 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, where it ran for 302 performances. The musical was directed by Harold Prince and choreographed by Carol Haney, with the cast that featured Daniel Massey as Georg Nowack, Barbara Cook as Amalia Balash, Barbara Baxley as Ilona Ritter, Jack Cassidy as Stephen Kodaly, Nathaniel Frey as Ladislav Sipos, Ralph Williams as Arpad Laszlo, and Ludwig Donath as Mr. Maraczek. The romantic, old fashioned show was short on big song and dance numbers, and the Eugene O'Neill Theatre was too small to generate a big profit. An original cast recording was released by MGM Records and subsequently re-released on CD on the Polydor label in 1987.
The West End production opened on April 29, 1964 at the Lyric Theatre, where it ran for 189 performances. The cast included Gary Raymond, Rita Moreno, Anne Rogers and Gary Miller. A London cast recording was released by Angel Records.
A limited run of concert performances was held in March 1977 at Town Hall in New York City, and featured Madeline Kahn as Amalia, Barry Bostwick as Georg, Rita Moreno as Ritter and Laurence Guittard as Kodaly.
The Roundabout Theatre Company produced a Broadway revival, directed by Scott Ellis and choreographed by Rob Marshall (assisted by his sister Kathleen). It opened on June 10, 1993 at the Criterion Center Stage Right and transferred on September 28, 1993 to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, closing on June 19, 1994, after a total of 354 performances and 42 previews. The cast included Boyd Gaines as Georg, Judy Kuhn (replaced by Diane Fratantoni when the show transferred) as Amalia, Sally Mayes as Ilona, Howard McGillin as Kodaly, Lee Wilkof as Ladislav, Brad Kane as Arpad, and Louis Zorich as Mr. Maraczek. A revival cast recording was released by Varèse Sarabande. The production was conducted by David Loud.
The West End revival, also directed by Ellis and choreographed by Marshall, opened on July 12, 1994 at the Savoy Theatre, where it ran for one year. The cast included John Gordon Sinclair as Georg, Ruthie Henshall as Amalia, and Tracie Bennett as Ilona. A revival cast recording was released on the First Night label.
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
|1964||Tony Award||Best Musical||Nominated|
|Best Author||Joe Masteroff||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical||Jack Cassidy||Won|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Harold Prince||Nominated|
|Best Producer of a Musical||Nominated|
1993 Broadway revival
|1994||Tony Award||Best Revival of a Musical||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||Boyd Gaines||Won|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical||Judy Kuhn||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical||Jonathan Freeman||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical||Sally Mayes||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Scott Ellis||Nominated|
|Best Choreography||Rob Marshall||Nominated|
|Best Scenic Design||Tony Walton||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||David Charles and Jane Greenwood||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Revival||Won|
|Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Boyd Gaines||Won|
|Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Sally Mayes||Nominated|
|Outstanding Director of a Musical||Scott Ellis||Nominated|
|Outstanding Choreography||Rob Marshall||Nominated|
1994 London revival
|1995||Laurence Olivier Award||Best Musical Revival||Won|
|Best Actor in a Musical||John Gordon Sinclair||Won|
|Best Actress in a Musical||Ruthie Henshall||Won|
|Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical||Tracie Bennett||Won|
|Best Director of a Musical||Scott Ellis||Won|
|Best Theatre Choreographer||Rob Marshall||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||David Charles and Jane Greenwood||Nominated|
|Critics Circle Award||Best Musical||Won|
-  mtishows.com
-  castalbumdb.com
- Listing broadwayworld.com
- "The Theater: In Love with Love"Time Magazine, April 11, 1977
- Eder, Richard. "Song Pushes Song In 'She Loves Me'". The New York Times, March 30, 1977, p. 65
- Rich, Frank."Reviving an Intimate Musical With Romantic Intentions"New York Times, June 11, 1993
-  castalbumdb.com
-  WSJ review
- She Loves Me at the Internet Broadway Database
- She Loves Me at the Music Theatre International website
- Information from the Musical Heaven website
- 1978 television adaptation of She Loves Me at the Internet Movie Database