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Rom-com production explores complexities of love

Set in Budapest, Hungary, 1937, “She Loves Me” is a romantic comedy musical that explores the complex subject of love. Put on by Good Company Players, the production features talented performers and alluring musical numbers. Without a doubt, the play excelled in comedic temperament while also touching on the emotional realities of human longing.

Emily Passano

“She Loves Me” explores the complex subject of love, Nov. 10. The production goes above and beyond expectations.

As the dimmed lights break into a softened glow, performers emerge to take their places on stage just outside Maraczek’s Parfumerie. Dusting off a bench to sit, a man is soon interrupted from his newspaper reading with an ecstatic “Good morning!” from a young man on a bike. Thus begins the first musical number which captivates viewers into a series of melodic story-telling with a humorous heart and soul. 

From the start of the play, the main characters Amelia Balash (Emily Pessano), and George Nowak (Teddy Maldonado) share bitter contempt for one another as they work side by side at a parfumerie.

Through the fog of endless bickering, it is difficult to see how both characters could fall head over heels in love with one another. But destiny laughs in the face of unlikely love, and intervenes in the shape of pen and paper. 

Influenced by a “lonely hearts” ad in the news, George and Amelia begin to write love letters to an unknown special friend. As the story progresses, they finally decide to meet their pen pals and set up a date at a romantic cafe – agreeing to carry objects as a symbol of their identity. Amelia a book and George a rose.

Amelia arrives just minutes before her new acquaintance, who later shuffles into the restaurant. Noticing the book on Amelia’s table, George discovers his true love to be an all too familiar rival. I leave it to the reader to imagine what happens next or, better yet, find out by watching the performance in person.

Located at 2nd Space Theatre and directed by Elizabeth Fiester, Good Company Players puts on a remarkable performance reaching above and beyond the call of duty.

Emily Passano

Emily Pessano reveals character expression through her operatic voice. Her role as Amelia Balash proved very convincing from start to finish.

After watching “She Loves Me”, I was blown away by the professional acting. In particular, I found the performance of Emily Pessano especially convincing. From her hysterical act in “No More Candy” to a show-stopping solo in “Vanilla Ice Cream”, Pessano delivers a sweet surprise to viewers in every song. Vocally balanced in sopranic smoothness, she reaches musical notes that soar far over comprehension.  

Teddy Maldonado poured depth into his character George as well, capturing the true essence of a person genuinely excited about the prospect of a meaningful relationship.  Maldonado seemed to jump straight into character, beginning in the first number “Good Morning, Good Day”, along with other accomplished actors.

Background performers carried out strength in stamina, as they waltzed across the stage in a number called “Romantic Atmosphere”.  Many audience members were struck by the nearly flawless routine and applauded one member’s major contrast in dancing skills and character role, playing a nervous bus boy.

My initial thoughts on the story line reminded me of a similar romantic comedy film. “You’ve Got Mail,” starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, consists of a matching theme in a modern day plot line. Though unique in their own way, the main characters in both productions share similar misconceptions of each, other resulting in relational tension.

Notions of love generated by the characters do not correspond with their first impressions of each other as they take into account what their potential partner may look like. This drives the individuals into a whirl of romantic priorities.

Emily Passano

Background performers carried out strength in stamina, as they waltzed across the stage, in a number called “Romantic Atmosphere”.

Though the duets and solos of the main characters never failed to satisfy, I would have loved to hear more numbers of the cast singing as a group. In “Sounds of Selling”, parfumerie management chimed and waved customers farewell while exiting the store. While a simple addition to the play, I believe this melodic collaboration emphasized the atmosphere of the overall production. 

I recommend this play to anyone who enjoys wholesome romantic comedies.“She Loves Me” is a great play to attend with friends and family. It came as a surprise that I was equally entertained by this musical as I would be with a modern film.

At the cost of only $20 for general admission and $18 for students and seniors, the show attests well worth the price. 2nd Space is by no means grand in size, but from the performance in “She Loves Me,” it carries grand talent. 

For those who plan on attending a production or future musical at 2nd Space, I recommend to bring a pillow for the back of the chair. Toward the second act, I had to shift around a lot to find a comfortable position.

Catch a viewing of “She Loves Me” at 2nd Space Theatre at various times through Dec. 22. With the Christmas season just around the corner, Good Company Players will also showcase the musical “Elf” at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theatre from Nov. 14-Jan. 12. Be sure to go out and support this local theatre group!

For another theatre review, check out Driving Miss Daisy entertains audiences via friendship story. For another article, read World Kindness Day: Improve community goodwill, health, personal value, Nov.13

Jewel Chandler can be reached via email and Twitter.

The following slideshow includes images from the romantic comedy play, “She Loves Me”, Nov. 10.

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