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Highly Recommended: An Old-fashioned Love Story

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, Tinder, OkCupid, friends of friends, booty-calling, even singles bowling are all ways to try and land a date in the modern dating world. However, whatever happened to meeting someone by chance or even connecting through love letters? In the charming musical, SHE LOVES ME we find out what happens when you fall in love with someone through their words without ever knowing who they are!

Calling All Lonely Hearts Anonymous

For a small perfume shop, there is no such thing as a drama free day. Relationships develop and dwindle between all the salesclerks in Maraczek’s parfumerie - particularly between the store manager, Georg Nowack, and the persistent Amalia Balash. Both are hardheaded and irritate each other to no end. They also both have a softer side as they write love letters to an anonymous “friend.”

No spoilers here if you’re familiar with the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan classic romantic comedy, You’ve Got Mail, or the original play by Miklos Laszlo, Parfumerie. Unbeknownst to Amalia and Georg, their anonymous pen pals are actually each other! Complemented by their cast of fellow workers in the shop, this musical follows the ups and downs of their relationship as they all find their way in love!

Broadway Talent on the Marriott Stage

SHE LOVES ME is a perfectly scaled Broadway musical fit to the arena stage at the Marriott. The square stage outlined with the skeleton of a shop and the detailed shop counters inside (designed by Jeffrey D. Kmiec) makes us feel like we’re in looking into a small boutique parfumerie.

Thanks to the writing of Joe Masteroff, SHE LOVES ME has a character list where no two are alike. The cast has incredible singing talents all across the board. The way they portray these emotions behind their characters makes us feel everything they’re feeling right along with them. Each of the skilled actors in this production create these vibrant characters in such a way that makes us feel welcomed and a part of their world.

James Earl Jones II plays Ladislav Sipos as a friend to all within the shop while watching his own back to make sure he stays in a job. Jones is fun to watch as he bounces between the wise best friend offering sage advice to running behind a frantic Georg trying to get him to calm down. He has the perfect amount of sass and comedic charm.

Jessica Naimy plays the trying-to-find-love-in-all-the-wrong-places salesclerk Ilona with a vulnerability as she realizes she’s having her heart broken over and over again by the same guy. Her signature song, “I Resolve”, packs a punch as she is determined not to fall into the same mistakes again.

Special props to Steven Strafford who plays the head waiter at the Cafe Imperial desperately trying to maintain a romantic atmosphere. His frustration is palpable, but nonetheless we can’t help laughing at his fruitless attempts to keep his guests under control.

And of course the two stars of the show, Alex Goodrich and Elizabeth Telford playing Georg and Amalia, stand out in their own spotlights.

When Amalia is left waiting at the Cafe Imperial, we’re struck with the same heartbreak as Telford is, but feel endlessly happy when she is realizing perhaps Georg isn’t such an unlikable guy after all.

And when Georg is alone during “She Loves Me”, Goodrich is delightfully cute and playful. We’re smiling right along with him and gleefully watch as he jumps around for joy.

SHE LOVES ME is a nostalgic and heart-warming show. Though perhaps not quite the same dating scene as we have in 2017 (would we really fall in love with someone from an anonymous letter?), it still lets us sit back and enjoy this good old fashioned way of finding love in the most unexpected places.