The Actors Co-op warms audiences this holiday season with a refreshing and vibrant production of “She Loves Me,” directed by Cate Caplin. 

She Loves Me” transports audiences from the Los Angeles heat and sunshine to winter in Budapest in 1934, where characters work together at  Maraczek’s parfumerie during the holiday season. Amidst the madness of its sales, the parfumerie’s employees welcome each customer with a smiling face and give their thanks at the end of a client’s visit by singing them out the door.

The plot focuses around Georg Nowack (Kevin Shewey) and Amalia Balash (Claire Adams) and the enchanting, yet incredibly confusing, romance they desire in one another. The two employees write secret love letters to each other, yet both are completely afraid of the anxieties of love and the idea of just what might happen if one of them makes a move. They are guided by the fellow members of the parfumerie: Steven Kodaly (Darren Bluestone), Arpad Laszlo (Current USC student Tyler Joseph Ellis), Ilona Ritter (Avrielle Corti), Ladislov Sipos (Tim Hodgin), and the store’s owner, Mr. Maraczek (Greg Martin). Through patience and persuasion, Amalia gets over her fear of meeting the man who has been writing these letters, and Georg gains the confidence to tell Amalia that he has been writing the letters all this time.

The lighthearted nature of the show lets the director and the actors work to create, as Caplin writes, a “charming jewel box of a romantic comedy” that audiences can thoroughly enjoy.
The story is brilliantly crafted by Joe Masteroff, letting us peek into the window of the parfumerie. Songs like “Vanilla Ice Cream” and “Twelve Days to Christmas” keep audiences interested and excited in the music and lyrics that Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick so beautifully composed. Although not all of the music rises to the level as the show’s most iconic songs, Anthony Lucca and his orchestra let Bock and Harnick’s writing work beautifully in tandem with Masteroff’s book.

“She Loves Me” is wonderfully human – it explores each crook and cranny of the idiosyncrasies of love. Stephen Gifford’s scenic design, Lori Berg’s property design, Luke Moyer’s lighting design, and Adam R. Macias’ sound design all compliment Caplin’s directorial vision and work with each other beautifully.

At times it was a bit difficult to hear the actors or figure out where to look, but as a whole, the design elements all helped contribute to a successful production. It is a wonderful revival of the 1963 classic and pays homage to Miklos Laszlo’s 1937 play “Parfumerie” and timeless romantic comedies such as “The Shop Around the Corner” and “You’ve Got Mail”.

“She Loves Me” is entertaining from start to finish, and keeps audiences engaged and excited about the lives of each of the individuals that work at Maraczek’s.

She Loves Me runs now until December 16 at the David Schall Theatre, located at 1760 N. Gower St. For tickets, please visit www.actorsco-op.org or call the ticket office at (323) 462 – 8460. Run time is 2 hours and 7 minutes with one intermission. Please note the sound of gunfire is used in the performance.