Watch the “She Loves Me” video above and meet the cast!
Chatham, New York
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a romantic comedy fan. I’ll never watch a movie starring Jennifer Aniston and once I had to sit in a doctor’s waiting room during the holiday season, and was forced to watch the Hallmark Channel. I left the the doctor’s office sicker than when I arrived!
However, I have never seen a bad production at the Mac-Haydn Theatre, so, I thought, why not?
Xander James and Kelly Gabrielle Murphy Photo:Ann Kielbasa
The sets and costumes are always phenomenal. The cast is always super-talented. After every show, I walk away thinking, ‘how do they accomplish all of this within two weeks? And have another show ready to go right after?’
She Loves Me is another excellent Mac-Haydn production. I’m always amazed that there’s so much musical theater in Columbia County, just about twenty minutes outside of the City of Hudson.
She Loves Me is about dating, but in a totally different era. People wore satin pajamas to bed, which seem more formal than what most people wear to work today. People wrote letters to one another – actual physical pieces of paper that you would hand-write in a cursive font and put in an envelope with a stamp and drop in a box. You could not just swipe left or right and move onto the next person within your radius. You had to get to know someone, and make an effort.
Anthony Velez Photo: Ann Kielbasa
There was also room for error – mistaken identities, and with no gps, you could be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
A friend watched an episode of Three’s Company recently with his seventeen-year-old niece. At the end of the episode of misunderstandings, sexual innuendos, and mayhem, she looked at him and said, “This could have all been resolved with ONE text message.”
She Loves Me happens prior to text messaging. Stores had customer service employees who were available and knowledgeable about the products. One employee, Arpad Laszlo, played wonderfully by Anthony Velez, did a literal song and dance for the boss to try to convince him to give him a sales clerk position. He was eager to put on a suit and tie everyday and sell perfume over a counter for the next fifteen years, like the other sales clerks…
She Loves Me is from a different era.
But, it holds up. I do wonder how these plays are going to stand the test of time. Would Ibsen’s Nora Helmer from the Dollhouse tweet #metoo today?
Kelly Gabrielle Murphy Photo: Ann Kielbasa
She Loves Me‘s main character, Amalia Balash, is no shrinking violet and pokes Georg about his “male pride”. The actress who plays Ms. Balash, Kelly Gabrielle Murphy, has a beautiful melodic voice, like a songbird, and I could listen to her for hours. The main “male pride” character, Georg Nowack, played brilliantly by Xander James, reminds us that even the ultimate bachelor has hope of falling in love.
That’s what this romantic comedy is about – hope. There’s hope of love and hope for a better life. Gabe Belyeu, playing the character Mr. Maraczek, gives the advice to “find yourself one person to dance with.”
There’s hope, except maybe for the character, Ladislav Sipos (played by William Taitel). He has a brief monologue about being but one sales clerk in a city of stores, in a country of cities, in a world, within the cosmos, etc. He ponders the meaning of his existence, putting a little bit of existential nihilism within a romantic comedy. Even though this play was the basis for the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film, You’ve Got Mail, it has Hungarian roots, written as a play, The Parfumerie in 1937 by Miklós László. Who outside of Eastern Europe brings a copy of Anna Karenina on a first date? For all we know, The Parfumerie was the Three’s Company of 1930’s Budapest.
Tell them Trixie sent you!
Xander James and Kelly Gabrielle Murphy Photo: Ann Kielbasa