Theater in Chicago: Writers' Theatre Presents She Loves Me.

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She Loves Me.
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Least we forget or never knew, 1932 is nothing like 2010.   That’s why we have theater–to explore our past, imagine our future and understand the world and ourselves a little better.  Writers’ Theatre’s opening production for the 2010-11 season, “She Loves Me” takes the audience back to a time that was very different from today in dress, manners and communication but not so different in matters of the heart.

“She Loves Me,” the old-fashioned musical comedy that takes place in a posh 1930’s Budapest, Hungary perfumery may not be everyone’s favorite scent–but it has a delightful quality that lingers. Performed as an intimate chamber musical on Writers’ Theatre Tudor Court stage, we are introduced to shop clerks, Amalia (Jessie Mueller) and Georg (Rod Thomas), who more often that not, don’t see eye to eye.  After both respond to a “Lonely Hearts” advertisement in the newspaper, they now live for the love letters they exchange—while the “identity” of their admirers remains unknown.

Writer’s Theatre has gained National acclaim for its highly recommended productions (most recently, “Streetcar Named Desire”) from a host of publications including critics for the New

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York Times and the Wall St. Journal.  The current production, once again, showcases, Writer’s attention to detail from the highly respected Artistic Director Michael Halberstam to the intelligently selected and highly qualified cast that includes respected actors Ross Lehman as Mr. Maraczek and Heidi Kettenring as Ilona Ritter along with a picture perfect set. 

Then and Now.
“She Loves Me” is based on Hungarian playwright Miklos Laszio’s play “Parfumerie” and has been adapted into various films including: the 1940 version, “The Shop Around the Corner” with Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan; the 1949 musical version “In the Good Old Summertime” starring Judy Garland and the 1998 Internet version, “You’ve Got Mail,” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

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As these adaptations prove, the story is timeless.  The show has been called the “perfect”  musical by aficionados and is ranked number 28 by the American Film Institute on their “100 Years…100 Passions” list that includes such shows as “Casablanca” and “Gone With the Wind.”  What Writer’s has done is taken the story back to its roots–featuring the original location and time.   Each customer is greeted politely by the salesperson as they enter the perfumery and upon leaving the entire staff serenades them with the catchy and quaint “Thank you, madam. Please call again, Do call again, Madam.”  A little different than today’s repetitive “Have a Nice Day.”

Overall, Writers’ Theatre’s “She Loves Me” does what it does well offering an delightful evening of live music and entertainment as the story draws you in and sneaks up on you capturing your heart and imagination.

Performances continue through November 21, 2010. Curtain times are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. There will be no 6:00 p.m. performances on October 17 or November 21.  Wednesday matinees will be performed at 2:00 p.m. on October 13 and November 17.  Tickets are $45-$70 and are available at the Box Office, 376 Park Avenue, Glencoe. By phone at 847-242-6000 or online.

Tweet seats.
Follow Writers’ Theatre on Twitter ( and everyday by 3pm, Writers’ will Tweet a code that can be used to purchase remaining seats for that day’s performance at a discount. Tweet Seats are available for purchase only through the Writers’ Theatre website.   

Writers’ Wednesdays.
Post-show discussions will be held every Wednesday evening as part of the Audience Enrichment Program. Join the artistic staff and actors from the production after the performance for an in-depth conversation.

Up Next at Writers.
“Travels With My Aunt”–November 9, 2010 through March 27, 2011–an ambitious production featuring more than 25 characters portrayed by just four actors who switch identities, nationalities, ages and genders.  Adapted from the Graham Green novel “Travels With My Aunt.”

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