Oregon Cabaret Theatre gives something warm and fuzzy to musical lovers this holiday season.
"She Loves Me," from the same writing team that created "Fiddler on the Roof," previews Thursday, Nov. 16, opens Friday, Nov. 17, and runs through Dec. 31 at OCT, First and Hargadine streets, Ashland.
Based on the 1937 Hungarian play "Parfumerie," adapted for the 1940 film "The Shop Around the Corner" and the 1949 movie musical "Good Old Summertime," "She Loves Me" tells the story of two perfume shop co-workers who are constantly at odds with each other. Yet Georg and Amalia carry on a romance as pen pals, unaware of each other's identity until they decide to meet.
"You've Got Mail," a 1998 romantic comedy starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, directed by Nora Ephron, also is based on the story. The film is about two people in an online romance who are unaware that they are also business rivals.
“I think there’s a reason this tale gets told and re-told so many times," says OCT director Valerie Rachelle. "It’s just such a beautiful, universal love story. The audience is in on the secret from the beginning and watch Georg and Amalia stumble against obstacles to find their way to love. Add its holiday setting and enchanting score, and it’s the perfect confection for the holiday season.”
Evening performances of "She Loves Me" are at 8 p.m. Matinee performances are at 1 p.m. Reservations are required for pre-show dinner or brunch. Appetizers, beverages and desserts are available without reservations.
Tickets are $25 for the preview; $25 or $39 for all other performances. A 20 percent discount is available for groups of 10 or more. Student rush tickets are $10 and can be purchased 30 minutes before curtain. Call 541-488-2902 or see oregoncabaret.com.
"She Loves Me," with book Joe Masteroff, music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, premiered in 1963 on Broadway and subsequently had productions in 1964 in London's West End. The musical was revived again in 2016 on Broadway, and the production became the first to be live-streamed.
Patrick Massey and Lauren Wright make their OCT debuts as the unsuspecting couple. Mimi Klipstein, Reese Rush and Peter Wickliffe also make debuts in the OCT production.
Cabaret favorites Tony Carter ("Baskerville," "Rocky Horror"), John Lambie ("Cabaret," "Pine Mountain Lodge"), Nathan Monks ("Bat Boy," "Rocky Horror"), Jessica Blaszak ("Dames at Sea," "Pine Mountain Lodge" and many others), Kristen Calvin ("Bat Boy," "Rocky Horror"), and Haley Forsyth ("Noises Off") round out the cast.
Carter plays the lothario Steven Kodaly, Lambie plays shop owner Zoltan Maraczek, Mimi Klipstein is Ilona Ritter and Reese Rush is Arpad Laszlo, while Blaszak, Forsyth and Calvin make up most of the ensemble.
Director Rachelle holds a master's in directing from the University of California at Irvine and a bachelor's in performance from the California Institute of the Arts. Along with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, she's worked with PCPA Theaterfest, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Syracuse Opera, Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater, Fresno Grand Opera, Summer Repertory Theater, Morgan Wixson Theater and others.
To her credit, she has directed "The Winter Wonderettes," "It's a Wonderful Life," "Dames at Sea," "Musical of Musicals," "Cabaret," "A Christmas Carol," "Ring of Fire," "The Rocky Horror Show," "Pine Mountain Lodge" and "Noises Off" at OCT.
The technical and design team includes choreographer Galloway Stevens, musical director Sarah Wussow, set designer Alan Schwanke, costume designer Claudia Everett, wig designer Virginia Hudson, lighting designer Chris Wood, sound designer Mike Kunkel and properties designer G. Andrew Bangs.