“She Loves Me,” a pleasant musical centered on friendship, romance and the power of love, is the latest show to be put on by students in the George Shinn College of Entertainment and the Arts.
The musical, directed by Beki Baker, tells a classic, simple love story, while keeping the audience roped in with some unexpected twists and plenty of light-hearted, humorous moments.
The story, based on the blockbuster film “You’ve Got Mail,” follows two competing shop clerks, Amalia and George, who get off on the wrong foot from the moment they meet. The two are always clashing at work. But after they both answer a “lonely hearts advertisement,” Amalia and George begin exchanging love notes with each other, unbeknownst to them who the identity of their admirer is. The musical follows the clerks’ paths to discovery as they realize their true love might have been literally around the corner all along.
The cast excels at bringing this story to life. Scott Wilson is endearing and lovable as George, and Lauren Yawn plays a sweet and spunky Amalia. Kaylea Frezza and Logan Dozier are funny and effervescent as George and Amalia’s confidantes and fellow shopkeepers, Ladislav and Ilona.
Yawn says her favorite part about playing Amalia is “her spunk and her passion for life.”
“She feels so strongly about everything,” Yawn stated. “When she loves something, she loves it with everything she has. She puts her whole self into whatever she does, and is determined and driven.”
Sam Kell is suave and charismatic as shop clerk, Mr. Steven Kodaly. Jonathan Killebrew adds a pleasant amount of humor to the storyline with delivery boy, Arpad, and Connor Weaver rounds out the group with a commanding presence on stage as shop owner, Mr. Maraczek.
Kell says he enjoys playing the “suave and cunning side” to Mr. Kodaly.
“He is a very interesting character to play and a challenge, but I’ve loved stretching myself and finding new parts of Kodaly to bring out each show.”
While the show is entertaining, the storyline also offers some really great messages for the audience and cast.
“One thing I learned from this show is that being willing to be vulnerable and honest in your true self is important,” Yawn says. “Everyone is human and everyone has insecurities, but each person is uniquely themselves for a reason. We need to embrace ourselves and everyone for who they are, faults and all.”
As we enter the holiday season, I couldn’t help but feel the holiday cheer while experiencing this show, especially since a large portion of it is set during “the most wonderful time of the year.” The whole mood of the show is enchanting. The elaborate sets and costumes make the audience feel like they have been transported back to 1930s Europe.
This cheer is noticed, not only through the acting of the main cast, but also the energetic ensemble.
If you’re looking for a sweet, charming story that will put you into the mood for the holiday season, She Loves Me is your cup of tea. You can catch the musical Nov. 10 and 11, at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 5 at 2:30 p.m. in Collins Alumni Auditorium.
Tickets are available at https://www.lipscomb.edu/theater
Photos by Becca Risley