What better way can you imagine to spend an evening than to enjoy a theatrical show? Well, I can’t think of many things I’d rather do. Time, money and health are prohibit me and many people about visiting the Great White Way and that’s why I was absolutely delighted to watch the live-stream of She Loves Me from Broadway HD. If I could pick one show and Broadway that I could see live, it would be She Loves Me! I had such high expectations after seeing and hearing clips and samples for months. Could the show be as magical as I hoped it be after seeing it on the Tony Awards?
The charming book of She Loves Me (by Joe Masteroff) based on the classic play Parfumerie (same basis for You’ve Got Mail, In the Good Old Summertime, The Shop Around the Corner) is witty, sharp without being acerbic and filled with moments of heart-melting sweetness. The lyrics by Sheldon Harnick express the characters hearts beautifully and in the case “Where’s My Shoes” of will leave you laughing. The melodies from Jerry Bock will live in your head for days, in the good way, and I haven’t stopped singing them in my head since last night. Director Scott Ellis succeeds in delivering a show that while firmly set in the past has a refreshing dash of modern relevance. There were a few bits of adult humor in the choreography that were too bawdy for my taste, but thankfully they were not very numerous.
She Loves Me featured performances so endearing, so open and so genuine that I completely fell in love with the cast. Laura Benanti could break your heart, make you cheer or roar with laughter as the lovely Amalia. Is it possible to find an actor more charming than Zachary Levi? His performance as Georg showcased his ability to sing, cartwheel and balance both irrepressible mugging and thoughtful dialogue. Jane Krakowski showcased in her performance of Ilona not only her capacity to make audiences laugh but also some amazing splits and dancing. Gavin Creel was lecherously oily and unflappable as Kodaly. Tom McGowan (a Fraiser fave) brought a wonderful contemporary feel to the character of Sipos. Byron Jennings (Maraczek), Nicholas Barasch (Arpad), Peter Barlett (Head Waiter), as well as the ensemble helped to take the audience on a thrilling journey through a little corner of Budapest.
I don’t think that I’ve ever wanted a wardrobe from a show more than I would love copies of everything that Amalia wears. Her coats, dresses, hats, shoes- everything is darling and perfect. Can Jeff Mahshie please make my fall wardrobe? The sets, designed by David Rockwell, are sumptuous and elegant. I wish that I could actually shop at Maraczek’s! It’s truly amazing to watch the sets contort to shape the café, the shop and the street.
We let G watch She Loves Me with us and it was so exciting to think that he was getting to watch his first Broadway show. He loves theater, dance and music and he adored the show too.
I’m so thankful to Broadway HD, The Roundabout Theater Company and the cast and crew of She Loves Me for last night! Thank you for your time, your talent and for making it possible. Please do more live-stream shows- the audiences will be there. And please fellow audience members, support theater both on Broadway and in your community.
Now if you’ll excuse me I think I’ll fix up another mocktail from our She Loves Me Viewing Party Recipes post last night and kick off the 4th of July weekend!
Kari Liked: She Loves Me was beautiful, magical, made me laugh and cry. Laura Benanti singing “Vanilla Ice Cream,” Zachary Levi singing “She Loves Me,” I could go on and on….
Kari Didn’t Like: The small amount of bawdy humor.
Last night theater history was made when She Loves Me was streamed live over the Internet. As cool as that one sentence is, was the show any good? Was it worth the $9.99 it cost to see it on your own computer screen? I am happy to report the answer to all of these questions is a resounding yes!
I really enjoyed the cast’s performance on the Tony Awards this year, so when I heard they were streaming this show live, I started looking forward to it immediately. Jerry Bock’s music and Sheldon Harnick’s lyrics are still a wonderful match, and provide the light heart that make this show so great. The story that’s been seen many times on screen (most recently in You’ve Got Mail) is still relevant and cute and sweet. I got swept up with and away by the delightful songs, with my hands down favorites being “Vanilla Ice Cream” and the title song “She Loves Me.”
The performances in this show were just incredible. It would be so easy to fall back onto previous great performances of this story, but the cast makes each part their own. Laura Benanti plays the part of Amalia Balash as animated, delightful and quirky, but quite unlike Judy Garland’s performance in The Good Old Summertime. Zachary Levi excels at the nervous and capable Georg in a way that isn’t in any way a carbon copy of Jimmy Stewart’s turn at the character in The Shop Around the Corner. While all the performances were great, these two were above the rest, and their interplay was such a joy to see. The faces Benanti and Levi exchange when they don’t like each other is just brilliant. Jane Krakowski’s performance as Ilona Ritter, which includes some great dancing and some very emotional singing is a standout as well.
Overall, this show was a joy to watch and a great change of pace from the current crop of very serious theater fair. This fun light romantic comedy from before it became a cliché is such a great little treat. I can sum it all up very simply by saying He Loves It!
RJ Liked: the great music and interplay between Georg and Amalia
RJ Didn’t Like: There was some choreography in the song “A Romantic Atmosphere” that I found a little too blue and distasteful.
You can watch She Loves Me on Broadway HD through July 7th (click here) and catch it in person at Studio 54 in New York City (click here) until July 10th. If you plan on watching it in your home make sure to check out our She Loves Me viewing party recipes!
(All images from broadway.com)