Photo by Don Kellogg

Thursday, March 3, 2016

She Loves Me

Roundabout Theatre Company has taken a musical theater gem, polished it up in a new, delightful production, and is presently dazzling audiences nightly over at Studio 54 with a star-studded cast.

Scott Ellis helms this Broadway gem for the second time, actually.  In Roundabout's first musical undertaking in 1993 was his one of his first shows too.  In a fresh, new production staring the indomitable Laura Bennati (Amalia Balash), the dashingly handsome Zachary Levi (Georg Nowack) and the bombshell Jane Krakowski (Ilona Ritter) and the delightfully debonaire Gavin Creel (Steven Kodaly) we are witness to pure musical comedy genius.

In typical Roundabout style, the sets, a 1934 Budapest Parfumerie and ancillary apartment rooms, are simply divine - dripping with color and panache (David Rockwell).  Costumes were period perfect (Jeff Mashie).

Ms. Benanti is perfectly cast as a brash young women who bursts into the store seeking a job.  Mr. Levi surprised all with his pitch-perfect deep, baratone voice as Ms. Benanti's shy young (and secret) love interest.  Ms. Krakowski plays the musical comedy bird-brain and Mr. Creel plays the greasy and slick both to the hilt.  Being surrounded by a supporting cast of old-timers only adds to the enjoyment of the evening - Michael McGrath (Ladislav Sipos), Byron Jennings (Mr. Maraczek), and a one-scene wonder, Peter Bartlett (Headwaiter). As a special note, I saw the delightfully adorable and talented understudy for Arpad Lazlo (Justin Bowen) and I couldn't have enjoyed him more.

Opposites attract is the theme.  We watch our young lovers meet, argue to exasperation, and eventually fall deep in love once their secret letter writing relationship is confirmed.  At 2 hours and 30 minutes, it's a full evening - Act I being a tad bit longer than Act II.  It's old fashioned, silly, frivolous, and delightful and I could not think of a better way to pass an evening in the theatre than with these talented actors.