She Loves Me, a '90s Hit for Roundabout, Gets Benefit Concert Dec. 5; Kelli O'Hara and Josh Radnor Star
By Kenneth Jones
Roundabout Theatre Company opens the music box of a dear friend on Dec. 5 with a benefit concert performance of She Loves Me, a title that ushered in Roundabout's expanded mission to include musicals back in 1993. Kelli O'Hara and TV's Josh Radnor star as feuding co-workers in a European perfume shop.
The 7:30 PM performance of the 1963 Broadway musical based on the Miklos Laszlo play Parfumerie, at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, stars three-time Tony nominee O'Hara (The Pajama Game, South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza) as Amalia Balash, Radnor ("How I Met Your Mother") as Georg, two-time Tony nominee Gavin Creel (Hair, Thoroughly Modern Millie) as Steven Kodaly, Tony Award winner Jane Krakowski (Nine, Grand Hotel) as Ilona Ritter, Peter Bartlett (The Frogs) as Headwaiter, Tony nominee Michael McGrath (Spamalot, Little Me, Born Yesterday) as Ladislav Sipos, Tony nominee Rory O'Malley (The Book of Mormon) as Arpad Laszlo and four-time Tony nominee Victor Garber (Sweeney Todd) as Mr. Maraczek, with Jane Brockman, Rachel de Benedet (Catch Me If You Can), Rebecca Eichenberger, Gina Ferrall, Rob Lorey, Jeffrey Schecter (A Chorus Line) as a clumsy Bus Boy, Jessica Vosk and Jim Walton (Merrily We Roll Along, Guys and Dolls).
Scott Ellis (Twelve Angry Men, Curtains) again directs the romantic musical comedy by Joe Masteroff (book), Jerry Bock (music) and Sheldon Harnick (lyrics). Paul Gemignani, a regular Roundabout artist, serves as musical director of a 15-member orchestra using the original orchestrations of Don Walker.
Proceeds from the concert benefit not-for-profit Roundabout Theatre Company and all its programs and activities.
Roundabout notes remind that the 1963 musical "follows Amalia (O'Hara) and Georg (Radnor), two feuding clerks in a European parfumerie during the 1930s who secretly find solace in their anonymous romantic pen pals, little knowing their respective correspondents are actually each other."
The charm-bomb score by Bock & Harnick includes "Dear Friend," "I Resolve," "Tonight at Eight," "Will He Like Me?," "Vanilla Ice Cream," "Days Gones By," "Grand Knowing You," "Try Me" and the title song, among other tunes. Barbara Cook originally played Amalia, and her soprano was preserved on an original cast album. Harold Prince directed and produced the original production, which was nominated for a 1964 Tony as Best Musical. Read the Playbill.com feature "Harnick on Harnick," in which lyricist Sheldon Harnick talks about his musicals, including She Loves Me.
Parfumerie also inspired the Jimmy Stewart-Margaret Sullavan film "The Shop Around the Corner," the M-G-M musical "In the Good Old Summertime" (starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson) and was the inspiration for the film comedy "You've Got Mail" (starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan).
Musical staging is by JoAnn M. Hunter (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever). The design team includes Derek McLane (sets), Jeff Mahshie (costumes), Peter Kaczorowski (lights) and Brian Ronan (sound).
The She Loves Me evening is billed as a celebration of Roundabout's 20th anniversary of producing on Broadway, which began in 1991 at the Criterion Center in Times Square. Roundabout's 1993 Broadway revival of She Loves Me began life at the Criterion Center and launched Roundabout's Musical Theatre program.
The 1993 revival production (which also spawned a cast album, featuring replacement Diane Fratantoni as Amalia) was nominated for nine Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Director and Best Choreography (Rob Marshall) and the four major acting awards. It also won the 1994 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revival.
With She Loves Me, Roundabout began the process of becoming a major producer of Broadway revivals, including Cabaret, 1776, Nine, Assassins, The Pajama Game, Sunday in the Park with George and the current 2011 Tony Award-winning production of Anything Goes. VIP, Premium and Reception tickets (ranging $1,000-$5,000 per person), which include admission to an exclusive cast party following the performance, are available. The co-chairs for the evening are Roundabout board member Michael T. Cohen and Amanda and Gary Wolf.
Tax-deductible benefit tickets are available by calling Roundabout's Development Office at (212) 719-9393.
Select orchestra and mezzanine tickets ($150-$500) are available to the general public by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300, visiting any Roundabout box office (Stephen Sondheim Theatre, American Airlines Theatre or the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre) or online at www.roundabouttheatre.org.
Roundabout Theatre Company is a not-for-profit theatre "dedicated to providing a nurturing artistic home for theatre artists at all stages of their careers where the widest possible audience can experience their work at affordable prices." Roundabout fulfills its mission each season "through the revival of classic plays and musicals; development and production of new works by established playwrights and emerging writers; educational initiatives that enrich the lives of children and adults; and a subscription model and audience outreach programs that cultivate loyal audiences."
Roundabout Theatre Company currently produces at five theatres — Off-Broadway at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, which houses the Laura Pels Theatre and Black Box Theatre; and on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre, Studio 54 and the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
For more information about Roundabout's programs, visit www.roundabouttheatre.org.
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