Having opened the same weekend as New York City’s Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival, Theater UCF’s production of the beloved musical She Loves Me is entrancing Orlando audiences as much as Broadway is entrancing theirs.
In this “frivolous romantic comedy,” as defined by the show’s dramaturgs Colin Brooks and David Klein, Sunny Gay delivers a wonderful performance in the leading role of Amalia, a parfumerie clerk at the high-class boutique Marazek’s. Her beautiful soprano voice carried Theater UCF’s performance on Friday, March 18, both paying homage to the 1960s sound of the original Broadway staged version and providing the audience with a soft, joyful spirit perfect for a Spring musical.
As Amalia continues to work at the shoppe, she maintains a pen-pal relationship with an anonymous admirer (who happens to be her manager Georg, played by Terry Farley). The work relationship Amalia and Georg grows with frustration and hostility, perhaps sexual tension, but their written words are of a romance from the stars. Their co-workers see it all unravel as they deal with their own conflicts in the store.
The cheery dispositions of Allyson Rosenblum and Evan Jones, who play the roles of Ilona and Arpad, brought a unique comedic quality to the show as they fought to reclaim their dignities in relations to love and job promotions. Rosenblum also showcased a wide vocal range Theater UCF needs to showcase more of.
Audience favorites included Jarrett Poore, Joe D’Ambrosi, Daniel McCook and Julian Kazenas, all of who maintained their grand characters impressively.
Theatre UCF’s production of She Loves Me was overall excellent; however, the cast seemed to run out of steam as the show went on. Losing energy, the dancers in the second act moved rather shakily, lacking fluidity, and harmonies of the ensemble grew weak. The fact that Mr. Marazek (Poore)’s costume was identical to Georg’s was a questionable costume choice, as Marazek should dress with an obvious superior sense of fashion. The cast tended to mumble lines throughout the show as well.
Much commendation to the production team as the set was indeed beautiful, and the sound quality was consistent the entire Friday evening run.
Despite a few setbacks, the She Loves Me cast and crew delivers a fun and entertaining show.
Photo credit: Bernard Wilchusky