‘She Loves Me’ to explore ‘commentary, humor, sentiment’

By Darian Rahnis, Staff Writer 

The musical “She Loves Me” will be performed in the Degenstein Center Theatre on Nov. 2-4 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 5 at 2:30 p.m.

“She Loves Me” follows Georg and Amalia, two European perfumery workers who do not see eye to eye during the 1930s.

After Georg and Amalia respond to a “lonely hearts advertisement” in the newspaper, they wait excitedly for responses to the love letters they frequently exchange with their respective secret admirers.

Working to discover the identity of these secret admirers, Georg and Amalia must withstand many twists and turns along the way.

The musical premiered on Broadway in 1963 and was revived in 2016, when it was the first Broadway show to be live-streamed.

Three cast members from the musical participated in “In Performance: A Student Musical Showcase” in Stretansky Concert Hall for Homecoming Weekend.

Juniors Caitlin Barnes and Daniel Reynolds and sophomore Katy Trunz performed three songs from the musical to give the audience a taste of the show.

In addition to Barnes, Reynolds and Trunz, there are 20 other cast members in the fall musical.

Reynolds, who was cast as the male lead Georg, is working opposite of Trunz, who is play- ing the female lead Amalia. The show is directed by adjunct professor of theater Aaron White.

Sophomore Lena Costello, who has different ensemble roles throughout the musical, said cast members have been hard at work during rehearsal.

“It’s a lot of work, but if you don’t leave rehearsal exhausted, you’re not doing it right,” Costello said.

According to Costello, there are many life lessons the audience can take away from the musical.

“The show showcases all sorts of different relationships through different ages and stages of life. There are romantic relationships, but there are also relationships between friends and colleagues, colleagues so close that you consider them family,” Costello said.

Costello also said that every member of the audience will be ale to relate to some aspect of the show, even though it is set in a different time and presents different mind sets, cultures and customs. White also praised the characters in the show and highlighted their wellroundedness and relatability to audience members.

“[She Loves Me] is a gem of musical theater that tells a charming love story with character-driven songs,” White said. “The show also offers wonderful roles for women, which are always in demand for our department.”

“‘She Loves Me’ is truly an ensemble piece where each of the principle characters are fully- drawn people,” White continued.

White also compared the musical to other well-known works that have been critically acclaimed in the theater industry.

“The roles are wonderful for actors because they’re so well-drawn,”White said. “The songs rival Stephen Sondheim and Lin-Manuel Miranda in how deftly they reveal character layer by layer.”

“They yank at the heart strings and are so satisfying to perform,” White added.

White also said that the musical is generally unknown, despite its success.

“Even after three successful runs on Broadway with many Tony nods, it seems that the general public [is] either unaware or surprised by the merits of the show,” White said.

White continued to say that the show explores gender, although it is an older work.

“It is a finely crafted and delicate piece of theater,” White said. “It is an older piece, but there are some interesting gender politics baked into the story.”

“Underestimated women who persevere, a predatory Lothario and our main couple embody the war of the sexes for majority of the first act,”

White said. “It’s interesting to hold it up to the mirror of the current moment in American social dynamics.”

“But I think we’re doing a good job striking the right balance between commentary, humor and sentiment,” White continued. “I suppose you never really know until it’s in front of an audience, but it’s a challenge and a joy to discover and embellish each facet.”

White added that the show has a sentimental aspect for him. “It was one of the first musicals I ever performed in outside of my high school as a teen and I was lucky enough to perform it as a professional as well,” White said.

White also praised the cast and their work on the show. “I’ve been blessed with a talented and warm group of folks who have a sharp sense of humor and playful spirits,” White said.

“Many of them are upperclassmen and are gaining skill and confidence in crafting a performance and I think that shines,” White continued.

“I am excited for the region to see the show,” White said. “It is my hope they will, as I have, fall in love with it.”

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