She Loves Me: A Spot of Romance

Jonathan Verge is a self-described "musical theater geek." It’s a good thing, as he is directing She Loves Me, a production by Lebanon High School's Wet Paint Players, at the Lebanon Opera House  on November 29 through December 1.

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It is a departure from last year's thoroughly modern, still-evolvingYeast Nation, which earned a visit at its opening night performance from one of the playwrights, Greg Kotis (Urinetown). By contrast, She Loves Me is from Broadway's Golden Age, a year (1963) that saw the launch of Hello, Dolly!, Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, The King and I, and Funny Girl.

She Loves Me is just a bit more obscure, but you already know the plot. It was borrowed by filmmakers and turned into You've Got Mail with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks (1998), which itself was a remake of The Shop Around the Corner with Jimmy Stewart (1940). This story revolves around Budapest shop employees Amalia Balash and Georg Nowack, who snipe at each other throughout the workday, and are unaware that each is the other's lonely and secret pen-pal. Consider this the analog version of the Ryan-Hanks romance, set in a time when people wrote love letters on paper rather than on electronic screens.

Not that the play’s age and setting mean it’s dusty.  Its latest revival (of many) was on Broadway in 2016, where it became the first Broadway show ever to be live-streamed.

It's winter, and dark, and the political news is still wearing. A little romance, in a cozy 1930s perfume shop in Hungary, is what you need.

Tickets, times, and dates:  November 29, 30 and December 1 at 7:00 p.m., also a matinee on December 1 at 2:00 p.m., (a good option if you’re planning on attending Lebanon's Downtown Holiday Celebration on the same afternoon.) $2 for the general public, free for ages 65+ and SAU 88 students and staff. Tickets are available at the door, cash or check.

(Top photo courtesy of Jonathan Verge. Keenan Leuthauser (as Arpad Lazlo) Sneha Magadi (as Ilona Ritter) Emily Cheevers (as Amalia Balash) and Ryan Hart (as Georg Nowack)

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