This week, a palpable energy pours through Vasey Hall. Fresh paint hits my nose when I enter through its doors, I’m forced to step over and around props like beds, tables, and teapots, and laughter coming from the green room (the lounge where the theatre students spend their free time) echoes down the hallway.
It’s tech week at Villanova, the Golden Age musical She Loves Me opens tonight (trailer above).
She Loves Me is an adaptation of the 1937 play Parfumerie by Hungarian playwright Miklós László. In an elegant Budapest parfumerie, two combative clerks, Amalia and Georg, are constantly butting heads on the job. After both respond to a “lonely hearts” advertisement in the newspaper, these unwitting pen pals become the most unlikely of lovebirds.
While the energy during tech week is typically an amalgamation of opening night jitters, nervousness, and excitement to perform, the liveliness that exudes from this cast directly results from their profound affection for this story.
“This show is just so charming,” Tina Lynch (Ilona Ritter) says. “[She Loves Me] draws people into this world, and it’s a world people want to be a part of.”
Ethan Mitchell, who plays leading man Georg Nowack, describes She Loves Me as “a fairy tale in a sense,” a show that features larger than life characters.
Even though the show is lighthearted and warm, the story has an immense depth to it. “This show takes universal human feelings like love, fear of rejection, and the desire to be accepted, and finds musical themes that convey those emotions exactly, sometimes better than how we could in words,” Mitchell explains.
Lynch agrees. “I think it is a beautiful display of humanity and our need for companionship through loving relationships, friendship and family.”
When I sat down with Lynch to talk about She Loves Me, her enthusiasm for the show was undeniable.
When asked about her character Ilona, Lynch predicts that audience members will see a little bit of themselves in her. “She wants a man who will treat her right, how she deserves to be treated. Eventually, she figures out how she can be her own woman.”
“It’s something that people can relate to. With Ilona, I get to explore a side of me that personally overcame with she’s struggling with in the show,” Lynch continues.
For Mitchell, he finds his character Georg to be more difficult to play than previous roles.
Mitchell remarks, “He’s insecure, but has to put on an air of confidence. He’s very lovable, and also quite phrenetic and anxious. It’s like this mix of quirky, phrenetic, anxious, and romantic.”
Both Lynch and Mitchell spoke highly of the outside director, Matthew Decker, and the incredible work he has done with Villanova, and look forward to hopefully working with Decker in the future.
When I ask Lynch what we should expect from She Loves Me, she smiles. “Expect to have a good time. You’ll fall in love with these characters, you’ll be taken on so many journeys.” She pauses. “After the show ends, you’ll be thinking about where these people are headed next…like there’s more to come for them.”
Buy your tickets here.
Showtimes for She Loves Me:
Wednesday, Nov. 7, 8pm (Opening Night)
Thursday, Nov. 8, 8pm
Friday, Nov. 9, 8pm
Saturday, Nov. 10, 8pm
Sunday, Nov. 11, 2pm
Tuesday, Nov. 13, 8pm
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 8pm
Thursday, Nov. 15, 8pm
Friday, Nov. 16, 8pm
Saturday, Nov. 17, 8pm
Sunday, Nov. 18, 2pm (Closing)