She Loves Me

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She Loves Me
Original Broadway Poster
Music Jerry Bock
Lyrics Sheldon Harnick
Book Joe Masteroff
Basis Miklos Laszlo's play
Productions 1963 Broadway
1964 West End
1993 Broadway revival
1994 West End revival
2016 Broadway revival
Awards 1993 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival
1994 Olivier Award Best Musical Revival

She Loves Me is a musical with a book by Joe Masteroff, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and music by Jerry Bock.

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.


Act One[edit]

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.

Act Two[edit]

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.[citation needed] 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.[1] A London cast recording was released by Angel Records.[2]

1993 Broadway revival logo

A limited run of concert performances was held in March 1977 at Town Hall in New York City,[3] and featured Madeline Kahn as Amalia, Barry Bostwick as Georg, Rita Moreno as Ritter and Laurence Guittard as Kodaly.[4][5]

A slightly abridged BBC-TV production was made in 1978 starring Gemma Craven as Amalia and Robin Ellis as Georg.

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[6] 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.[7]

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, in Ashland, Oregon, staged a production as part of its 2010 season, running from February through October in the Angus Bowmer Theater. [8]

Roundabout Theatre Company is presenting another revival, again directed by Scott Ellis, which will open at Studio 54 on March 17, 2016, following previews from February 19, in a limited engagement to June 5. It will star Laura Benanti as Amalia, Zachary Levi as Georg, Jane Krakowski as Ilona, Gavin Creel as Kodaly, René Auberjonois as Maraczek, and Michael McGrath as Sipos.[9][10] On December 2, 2015 it was announced that Byron Jennings will play the role of Maraczek, replacing René Auberjonois.[11]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
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[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
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[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
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


  1. ^ She Loves Me
  2. ^ She Loves Me
  3. ^ Listing
  4. ^ "The Theater: In Love with Love"Time Magazine, April 11, 1977
  5. ^ Eder, Richard. "Song Pushes Song In 'She Loves Me'". The New York Times, March 30, 1977, p. 65
  6. ^ Rich, Frank."Reviving an Intimate Musical With Romantic Intentions" New York Times, June 11, 1993
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Teachout, Terry. Review Wall Street Journal, 2010
  9. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Zachary Levi Replaces Josh Radnor in Upcoming Broadway Revival of 'She Loves Me'" Playbill, September 1, 2015
  10. ^ Viagas, Robert. "Broadway Revival of 'She Loves Me' Sets New Preview and Opening Dates" Playbill, October 23, 2015
  11. ^ Clement, Olivia. "Byron Jennings Replaces René Auberjonois in Upcoming Broadway Revival of She Loves Me", December 2, 2015

External links[edit]