She Loves Me Opens in a "Chamber" Treatment in Chicago; Rod Thomas, Ross Lehman, Jessie Mueller Sing

News   She Loves Me Opens in a "Chamber" Treatment in Chicago; Rod Thomas, Ross Lehman, Jessie Mueller Sing Writers' Theatre, the Chicago-area theatre that premiered the New York City-bound musical A Minister's Wife, opens a new chamber version of the 1963 musical valentine She Loves Me on Sept. 24.

Jessie Mueller
Jessie Mueller

Artistic director Michael Halberstam, who directs, will direct A Minister's Wife, based on George Bernard Shaw's Candida, at Lincoln Center Theater in spring 2011. The musical was Writers' Theatre's first full-length musical.

She Loves Me, the romantic musical comedy about anonymous pen pals who are co-workers in a parfumerie, plays the Glencoe, IL, company's Tudor Court home to Nov. 21. Previews began Sept. 14.

The cast includes Bernard Balbot (as Arpad), Andrew Goetten, Kevin Gudahl (as Sipos), Stephanie Herman, Heidi Kettenring (as Ilona), Ross Lehman (as Mr. Maraczek), Jessie Mueller (as Amalia), James Rank (as Kodaly), Jeremy Rill, Kelli Clevenger, Bethany Thomas and Rod Thomas (as Georg).

With book by Joe Masteroff, music by Jerry Bock with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, She Loves Me — consider by many to be one the best "book musicals" from Broadway's golden age — in a 1930s European perfumery where shop clerks Amalia and Georg don't get along. They unknowingly respond to each other's "lonely hearts" ads in the newspaper. Tension, comedy and romance follow.

Musical direction for this intimate chamber version of the show is by Ben Johnson. Director Halberstam said, "One of the great privileges of the Writers' Theatre experience is that of getting to explore great classics in intensely intimate environments. Our venues compel us to bring out the core values from the scripts we chose to bring to life. She Loves Me is no exception to this rule."

The creative team includes Jack Magaw (scenic), Keith Parham (lighting), Nan Zabriskie (costumes), Keith Parham (lighting), Jessica Redish (choreographer and assistant director), Alan Schmuckler (orchestral reductions), Maria Honigschnabel (assistant musical director and piano/conductor/contractor). The musicians are Nina Saito (violin), Margie Halinski (reeds) and Beth Anderson (cello).

For more information, visit www.writerstheatre.org.

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Writers' Theatre is a professional company "focusing on the Word and the Artist." Now in its 19th season, the company both revives classic scripts and cultivates new works and adaptations "while invigorating them with fresh energy in the intimacy of its venues." Founded in 1992, Writers' Theatre performed exclusively at Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon Avenue for the first 12 years. In the fall of 2003, the organization opened a new 108-seat performance venue at 325 Tudor Court. Writers' Theatre continues to produce in both spaces, maintaining an intimate theatrical experience for audiences.

Rod Thomas, Kelli Clevenger, James Rank, Bethany Thomas, Kevin Gudahl and Stephanie Herman
Rod Thomas, Kelli Clevenger, James Rank, Bethany Thomas, Kevin Gudahl and Stephanie Herman
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