Ashmanskas Has a Date With She Loves Me This Summer; Baldwin Is Amalia
By Kenneth Jones
Tony Award nominee Brooks Ashmanskas, known for his noodle-spined character acting in Broadway's The Ritz and Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, gets a choice leading-man role this summer in the musical, She Loves Me, co-produced by Huntington Theatre Company and Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts.
Playbill.com has learned that Ashmanskas (Tony-nommed as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Fame Becomes Me) will play earnest Georg, the parfumerie clerk who falls for a co-worker, Amalia, via anonymous love letters. Amalia will be played by Kate Baldwin, who is currently getting solid reviews for playing the ruefully comic Charlotte in A Little Night Music at Baltimore's Centerstage.
Ashmanskas' Broadway credits include Gypsy in 2003, The Producers (a Carmen Ghia replacement), Little Me in 1998, Dream in 1997 and How to Succeed… in 1996 (he was the Bud Frump replacement). He was also Drama Desk-nominated for his work in Fame Becomes Me.
Baldwin is a Helen Hayes Award nominee for playing Nellie in Arena Stage's South Pacific, and appeared in the Rosemary Clooney-created role in the Walter Bobbie-directed White Christmas in San Francisco, Detroit and Toronto. Her Broadway credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Full Monty and Wonderful Town.
She Loves Me — the 1963 jewelbox romantic musical comedy by Joe Masteroff, Sheldon Harnick and Jerome Bock — is the first major musical production by the Huntington in six years, and the final directing assignment for Martin in his role as artistic director. He's the new artistic director of Williamstown.
The musical will play Huntington in Boston May 16-June 15 and then move to Williamstown for a June 28-July 13 run.
Here's how Huntington characterizes it: "She Loves Me is the perfect musical — warm and funny, with what's considered one of the most beautiful scores in the American theatre. Acclaimed since its 1963 premiere and rediscovered in a hit 1993 Broadway revival, She Loves Me has captivated audiences for decades. This romantic comedy is the story of two lovesick, anonymous pen pals who work together during the day, blissfully unaware that they are writing to each other at night. An endearing tale of unlikely sweethearts and the eccentric colleagues who aid and abet them, She Loves Me is based on Parfumerie, the [Miklos Laszlo] play that also inspired the Jimmy Stewart classic 'The Shop Around the Corner,' and the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film 'You've Got Mail.'"
The play also inspired the M-G-M musical picture, "In the Good Old Summertime."
Bock and Harnick are best known for writing the score to Fiddler on the Roof. Their work also includes the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fiorello! as well as The Apple Tree, Tenderloin and The Rothschilds.
Masteroff wrote the book for the Kander and Ebb musical, Cabaret.
Additional casting will be announced at a later date. For more information visit www.huntingtontheatre.org or www.wtfestival.org.
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