Mark Ludmon is charmed by Broadway hit She Loves Me from the comfort of his living room through BroadwayHD.com
She Loves Me
With eight Tony Award nominations and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical, She Loves Me was one of the biggest hits on Broadway in 2016. It also has the distinction of being the first Broadway shows to be live streamed and, for those of us unable to pop over to New York City to see it at Studio 54, this broadcast from two years ago is among shows available to watch on demand on BroadwayHD.com.
Nothing beats going to the theatre to see a live show but, when that’s not possible, watching it on film is the next best thing. And it adds much more than you could ever experience at the theatre. She Loves Me opens with a camera sweeping down from the circle, taking us up close to capture expressions and details that many audience members would have missed. This heart-warming, often hilarious musical follows the lives of the people working at Maraczek’s, a perfume shop in 1930s Budapest, focusing on two sparring colleagues Georg and Amalia who are unwittingly corresponding with each other anonymously following a lonelyhearts ad.
With a book by Joe Masteroff and music and lyrics by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, it is a familiar tale based on a play by Miklos Laszlo that inspired the classic 1940 film The Shop Around the Corner as well as the more recent You’ve Got Mail. While the romantic ending is inevitable, the joy is in the characters and a delightful narrative that edges towards darker themes of suicide, loneliness and infidelity but magically never loses its lightness of touch. The cast sparkle with wit and charm, with a string of superb performances that can be fully appreciated thanks to the close-ups and camerawork of the BroadwayHD.com recording. Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi are perfect as Amalia and Georg while Jane Krakowski cleverly combines sadness and razor-sharp humour as their unlucky-in-love colleague Ilona. You can pick up on every nuance and subtlety of these comedy maestros who are well-versed in acting for TV as well as the stage.
One of the biggest challenges in filming theatre is the sound but here it is crisp and flawless. The rich orchestral score, arranged by Larry Hochman and performed under musical director Paul Gemignani, filled my living room while the sound, designed by Jon Weston, is expertly captured by BroadwayHD’s audio engineer Daryl Bornstein. With the show’s quickfire dialogue and intricate lyrics, this is particularly important – and particularly challenging for a show full of energy, particularly in the tightly choreographed scenes when Maraczek’s is busy with shoppers and workplace politics.
Did I stand up from my sofa to join in the standing ovation at the end? Maybe not, but BroadwayHD’s recording makes it clear why this show, beautifully directed by Scott Ellis, was such an award-winning hit. And it can’t be denied that it’s tempting to pause between scenes so you don’t have to wait till the interval to get a drink – and you can even stop and replay the best bits!
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