ALBANY – If your idea of holiday entertainment is a show involving nice people who end up in a happy situation – “She Loves Me” at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany is your cup of mulled wine.
Actually it more than a good time. It’s a terrific production of an extremely charming piece of theater. If you are looking for a pre-Christmas present for someone with whom you’d be happy to share a love story, “She Loves Me” continues through December 24.
“She Loves Me” is a charming musical with a pleasant score that is delightfully sung by an engaging cast. In many ways the show is actually a play with music. Because the songs are narrative in nature, it’s easy to take the sweet, sincere and revealing songs for granted. That would be a mistake, as the score is as important as is the plot.
This is probably a good time to explain that the plot revolves about Amelia and Georg who work together in a perfume shop. They get off to a bad start and things go downhill from there. They are always clashing at work and cannot wait until they get home and write their anonymous pen pals affectionate letters. Of course, unknown to each other, they are their secret pen pal.
To make what is today an overly familiar plot device work, you must want the couple to get together. And, boy does that happen in this Capital Rep production.
Both Julia Burrows as Amelia and Michael McCorry Rose as Georg are ingenuous as the two foes who love each other. You adore each character to the point that you’d be broken-hearted if they don’t get together.
You love the characters and admire them as actors. Burrows has a voice that is a revelation, indeed if there is a slight problem with her work it’s that her voice is almost too powerful for the intimate space at Capital Rep. Thankfully, the operative word is almost. She finds the beauty in songs like “Vanilla Ice Cream,” “Dear Friend,” and “Will He Like Me?” as she makes each an enchanting moment.
Rose also has a good voice that he uses to perfection as he creates a winning personality for Georg. His rendition of the title song is a show highlight and it solidifies the character as the man who deserves Amalia.
The entire cast has one thing in common, besides their exceptional talent. They understand that the lyrics of every song is critical to developing their characters and setting the situation. Bravo to music director Josh D. Smith who makes the score melodic and the lyrics literate.
The costumes by Evan Prizant are character perfect as they bring needed color and sophistication to the proceedings. The set design by Brian Prather is ideal as it expands the small stage and effectively converts into several locales.
It’s directed by Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill who is superb in bringing out the intimacy of the many small scenes. Yet her staging of the bigger moments like the nightclub is clever and fun inducing. Mancinelli-Cahill’s work with choreographer Freddy Ramirz makes so many moments fun, especially in the “Twelve Days to Christmas” number as they make the complicated look simple.
“She Loves Me” is a joy. It’s one of the most compete productions that Capital Rep has offered in several season and is a must see production. .
“She Loves Me,” at Capital Repertory Theatre, Albany. Through December io24. For tickets and schedule information call 518-445-7469 or go to capitalrep.org
Bob Goepfert is theater reviewer for the Troy Record.
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