‘She Loves Me’ makes way to Cal State East Bay’s stage

Tanaya Landry,

The cast of “She Loves Me” gathered together on stage for their warm-up, stretching their vocal chords and bodies in preparation for their rehearsal of their new upcoming musical. The pace of the music increased with intensity as it became faster and faster and their voices grew louder as one. Then, the pace of the music slowed down and their voices become deep, then suddenly, stop. The actors all scurried off stage, took their places and the red curtain fell.

“She Loves Me” was originally a 1937 Hungarian play called “Parfumerie.” It was then remade into a movie three years later called “The Shop Around the Corner,” then made into a musical film called, “In the Good Old Summertime” in 1949. It finally became a musical for the stage in 1963 with the name, “She Loves Me”. The last remake made was a film, “You’ve Got Mail,” which came out in 1998.

All of the different versions of this play have one thing in common: the plot. It is about two people who work together and seem to hate each other, but do not know they are actually each other’s secret pen pal and falling in love with each other through their letters to one another.

A majority of the cast of “She Loves Me” had about a week off due to being away at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Spokane, Wash. where they performed their fall play “CSU Ferguson.” Now that they have returned, they only have about five days of rehearsals before the opening night of “She Loves Me.”

Director and CSUEB professor Marc Jacobs told The Pioneer, “I saw this show for the first time when I was about 20 and I fell in love with it. It’s got a lot of laughs and yet really touches your heart. I want people to be laughing and almost crying during places of it. I think we all recognize ourselves in these characters of what you go through trying to find a soul mate.”

A lot of the dialogue from the musical is based off the 1940 film version, “The Shop Around the Corner,” which received an 8.1 out of 10 in rating from Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and a 100 percent rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

Some of the difficulties Jacobs mentioned they encountered was the constant change of the set. There are a lot of different locations and seasons where scenes take place so they had to figure out how they were going to make all the scene changes possible. They came up with a set that they were able to move around and change to fit each scene.

This musical has a lot of parts to it. From the live music, to the set changes, to the singing, dancing and acting from the cast. Every cast member spoken to talked about the play with a smile on their face.

Senior Nick Sears plays a lead character, Georg. Although it is his first production with Cal State East Bay, he has done other musicals before and told The Pioneer that they are his comfort zone. He too fell in love with “She Loves Me” two years ago after watching a revival of the play on PBS.

“The main story is about two people that are looking for love and they go through this Lonely Hearts Club to do it,” Sears told The Pioneer. “A lot of people in the cast were talking about online dating and how big that is now and we definitely found that parallel and I think a lot of people can relate to that.”

Senior Asia-Renee Gamble, a theatre major who was also in “CSU Ferguson,” plays Ilona Ritter. This is her second musical, but has been doing theatre since she was five years old.

“One reason why our director Marc Jacobs decided to make this play our winter musical is because of a lot of things that have been going on in the world today, especially in our country has been a lot of negativity, and about people being divided,” Gamble told The Pioneer. “This is a show that’s about people who have differences coming together as one. So I think that’s one of the main reasons people should come see this production. It’s something that will make you smile and laugh.”

Jacobs told The Pioneer that the main theme of this musical is to not judge a book by its cover and learning to get along with people that have very different viewpoints.

The dates for the musical are Mar. 3, 4 and 9-11 at the Cal State East Bay University Theatre.