Abigail Roberts | Echo
Last weekend, Feb. 1-3, Taylor Theater presented a stunning adaption of the 1963 romantic comedy "She Loves Me."
It is a romantic pen-pal relationship: boy writes girl, girl writes boy, and among the dozens of exchanged letters, they fall in love. Strangers, destined by fate to one day meet, finally arrange a time, a place and a secret sign: a rose between the pages of Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina."
Young bachelor Georg Nowack, played by senior Steve Mantel, walks into a crowded Hungarian café with a rose carefully placed in his buttonhole, only to find the woman of his dreams to be none other than his despised coworker Amalia Balash, played by sophomore Madeline Logan.
However, as the plot progresses, Logan and Mantel's feelings for one another take a dramatic turn.
"If the passion of anger isn't there, the passion of love can't be there either," Logan said.
"She Loves Me" features a stunning score by songwriter Sheldon Harnick and award-winning composer Jerry Bock. Both of whom also collaborated on the timeless classic, "Fiddler on the Roof."
Originally a Hungarian play, "Parfumerie" written in 1937 by Miklós László has been adapted numerous times into other plays and movies like Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan's popular romantic comedy "You've Got Mail."
"I love this piece," said Musical Director and Professor of Music Patricia Robertson. "It's just joyous and has a lot of cheerful pieces in it . . . it's very 20th century."
Caught up in both the comedic storyline and a cloud of perfumed sweetness, audience members are transported to the 1930's thanks to costume design by senior Bradley Jensen and hair and makeup by sophomore Liz Carrier.
Butz-Carruth Recital Hall's small stage magically flips between Maraczek's Parfumerie, Balash's bedroom and a café run by a tireless maître d', played by junior Andrew Baker.
Uniquely, each principle actor was given their own chance to shine within the production. Delivery boy Arpad Laszlo, played by junior Andrew Wulf, delivers a solo plea for success in "Try Me." Work-driven clerk Sipos, played by senior Ty Kinter, clearly presents his life motto in "Perspective."
Senior Lauren Vock, playing love-singed cashier Ilona Ritter, and senior John Broda, playing lover-boy Steven Kodaly, also brilliantly dance out their wild love story to "Ilona."
Artistic director Conor Angell ('08) particularly has enjoyed the chance to work with other Taylor alum such as technical director Sara Bailey and lighting director Conner Reagan ('17).
"This is a good challenge," Angell said. "This space as well is not designed to be a theater space . . . it is hard to make scene changes. I like the ingenuity it requires."
The set, designed by Ryan Maloney ('13) features charming pastel façades complemented by an ornate stained-glass doorway. The background columns plastered with letters are a nice play on the musical's theme of correspondence.
Amidst the creative Perfumerie set design, each cast member shone, presenting a musical romantic comedy to remember.