Timeless musical to hit stage

She Loves Me, the story of an accidental romance between two co-workers, begins its weekend run on April 9.

By Megan O’Connell

Some of the greatest love stories begin on paper, but She Loves Me also unfolds in song.

It may be the most charming musical ever written, according to Andrew Palermo, director of the Westminster College of the Arts production to be performed next weekend.

She Loves Me opens on a gorgeous summer day in an Eastern European city in the 1930s at a shop called Maraczek’s Parfumerie. Two of the shop’s employees, Georg Nowack (senior Nick Harden) and Ameila Balash (senior Allison Ball), who argue around the shop, get away from the stresses of work by writing to their anonymous pen pals. They arrange to meet their friends, unaware that their pen pals are each other.

“It’s full of heart, with each plot line centering on love that is being sought, lamented, won or lost,” Palmer said.

She Loves Me is based on the 1936 play Parfumerie by Miklos Laszlo. It has also been made into three movies, the most recent of which was You’ve Got Mail.

“When you see the musical, you will see and hear a beautiful, lyrical love story and very funny comedy which it involves,” musical director and Westminster professor Jay Kawarsky said.

Sophomore Zachary Schanne, who plays Arpad Laszlo, said the musical is a wonderful experience. He enjoys playing Arpad and called him “the funniest character I’ve ever known.”

“He simply captures almost every awkward moment of the show in the funniest way possible,” he said.

Schanne praised Palermo for his direction of the show.

“Andrew Palermo has found every facet of the writing and brought it out,” he said. “The show is full of humor, sarcasm, love and so much more.”

Kawarsky explained that this particular musical was chosen because it is “character-centered.” The musical is written by the authors of Fiddler on the Roof (Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick) and was written during “The Golden Age of Musicals.”

“It offers the students the opportunity to dig into their characters through words and music,” Kawarsky said.

The cast has been rehearsing since late January. Kawarsky found the rehearsals to be a discovery. Each song in the musical develops the characters. As the characters developed, the cast was given a chance to try out different stylings for the songs.

“The music is so wonderful. Many of the songs are very funny and intelligent and many are very moving,” Kawarsky said.

Palermo described She Loves Me as a demanding show with scenes and numbers that require a lot of practice.

“The beauty of She Loves Me is that it is truly a musical for everyone,” he said. “With humor, pathos, beautiful and sometimes quirky music, elegantly written dialogue and a bang-up cast, no one will walk away from She Loves Me un-entertained.”

She Loves Me will be performed on April 9 and 10 at 8 p.m. and April 11 at 3 p.m. at Princeton Regional Schools Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students. To call the box office: 609-921-2663.

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