Bickering coworkers who can’t get enough of each other. Penpals who become smitten with each other sight unseen. Could they be one and the same? Is this how love worked before dating came with profile pics? According to She Loves Me, the next musical to headline Super Summer Theatre, the answer is a delightful and resounding yes.
“It’s likely considered the most charming musical of all time,” says director and producer Joe Hynes. His company, Hynes-Sight Entertainment, produced last year’s sold-out The Wedding Singer. Unlike that schlocky ’80s comedy, Hynes describes She Loves Me as “a lovely, intimate story of people who want the simplest of things: They want employment and love.”
Hynes says that when She Loves Me debuted on Broadway in 1963 it was overshadowed by the more bombastic plays of its time, like Hello, Dolly! Thanks to two off-Broadway revivals, a new generation has had an opportunity to fall in love with She Loves Me. And there’s a lot to love. “It has absolutely gorgeous music and a wonderful charming book full of 18 great characters,” Hynes says. His production includes a 14-piece live orchestra. “It’s a lovely jewel-box musical.”
If the love story seems familiar, that’s because it is. The source material for She Loves Me—a 1937 Hungarian play—also inspired three hit movies: 1940’s The Shop Around The Corner with Jimmy Stewart, Judy Garland’s 1949 musical In the Good Old Summertime and 1998’s You’ve Got Mail, with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. She Loves Me, which takes place in a ’30s-era Budapest parfumerie, is refreshingly free of AOL chat rooms.
Actor Alex Cheney has been waiting for a chance to reprise the lead role of Georg since he last performed it in college. “I was super green, a complete novice,” Cheney says, sounding excited to play the role again as a more mature performer. “It’s been really interesting to see how my own personal journey has helped me shape this role in a different way. I’m giving so much more to the character than I did 24 years ago.”
“We’ve got a phenomenal show, the cast is amazing and we’re having a great time in rehearsals,” Cheney says. “I think it’s one of best written musicals out there. I’m really ready to show it off to people.”
Lauren Ashlea Fraser plays love interest/work rival Amalia. The classically trained opera singer loves the challenge of the musical score, which requires a “real soprano repertoire.” She says, “They’re beautiful songs; the story is beautiful. It’s real life; they’re real characters.”
She also gets to enjoy working with her co-star: “The funnest thing is that Alex and I spend most of the time onstage arguing with one another,” Fraser says. “Our characters pretty much fight the whole time.”
SHE LOVES ME June 27-July 14, 8:05 p.m., $15. Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, 702-579-7529.