By Andy Dillehay
She Loves Me opened with a packed house at The Stage Theatre in Hickman. This charming and sweet musical was a true delight. Reminiscent of old Hollywood romances, She Loves Me is an expertly executed gem.
Set in 1930s Budapest, She Loves Me centers around Georg Nowack and Amalia Balash, employees at Maraczek’s Parfumerie, who seemingly rub one another the wrong way. As the musical unfolds, the audience learns that the two are actually loving pen-pals, having written anonymous letters to one another through a lonely-hearts club.
Arica Worsham’s performance as Amalia Balash is astounding; she’s the total package. Her incredible voice combined with her complex character work is marvelous. Although every number she’s in is a joy to watch, I particularly enjoyed her interpretation of “Vanilla Ice Cream” in the second act. It was filled with nuance, an incredible vocal range, and a heartwarming performance.
Connor Dudley’s Georg Nowack was a treat. The audience yearned for him as the story progressed. Dudley had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. In a role that easily could have been flat, Dudley was charismatic and magnetic.
Soren Tobey’s effervescent Ilona Ritter was a standout. Her timing was impeccable. The energy shifted every time she hit the stage. She left the audience wanting more, which was no easy feat among this excellent cast.
Other notable performances include Michael J. Corner’s garish Steven Kodaly, Christian Cardona’s spirited Ladislov Sipos, Stuart Richey’s exuberant Arpad Laszlo, and Bob Marshall’s gruff, yet heartfelt Mr. Maraczek.
The splendid ensemble provided a great foundation for this stunning production. Their exuberance was palpable. Between their performances in musical numbers, to bit roles, to moving the scenery, they were fully committed and a pure joy to watch.
Amelia Barrett was the cherry on top of a delicious sundae. Her sardonic Maitre D’ was a knockout. Although her time on the stage was brief, she made use of every single second.
Director/designer/man of many hats, Robert Wamsley, is an enigma. How one person possesses so much talent in many different areas is a divine gift. His attention to detail is exquisite. Between the excellent use of the space, the fantastic costumes, the utterly beautiful set, he is a master of his craft.
Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to this endearing and enchanting musical. The only thing missing was the grainy silver screen.
If you go: She Loves Me runs Nov. 29 – Dec. 2 & 6 – 9, 2018. The STAGE Theater is located at 225 Locust Street in Hickman, Nebraska. Tickets are available online or by calling the box office at 402-512-1808.