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She Loves Me

She Loves Me: Designer Statements

Posted on: March 18th, 2016 by Roundabout

 

Set Design for SHE LOVES ME by David Rockwell

Set Design for SHE LOVES ME by David Rockwell

David Rockwell – Set Designer

The centerpiece of our design for She Loves Me is Maraczek’s Parfumerie. Set in 1930s Budapest, this high-end emporium is a saturation of extravagant Art Nouveau details. Around the turn of the 20th century, the Art Nouveau style influenced hundreds of Budapest buildings in the use of ceramics, Asian motifs, decorative curves, stained glass windows, and lavish ornamentation. The audience first sees the exterior of the parfumerie sitting within a colorful streetscape of bas relief buildings, all constructed in exaggerated perspectives. After the shop employees arrive for work, gathering outside during the opening number, the walls rotate and separate to revealing a “jewel-box” interior. Three perfume counters slide out to define the space with stools emerging from each one. The entire shop travels downstage as its central portion itself rotates to reveal the shop’s humble workroom tucked away from the busy shop floor. The shop returns upstage for the three scenes that occur in different locales: the big production number in the restaurant that concludes Act I and the hospital and bedroom scenes that open Act II. In all three scenes a section of the streetscape glides upstage, allowing wagons to appear from the wings and create each new locale.

Jeff Mahshie – Costume Designer

My first encounter with the musical She Loves Me was when Scott Ellis asked me to work on it for a one night benefit reading produced by the Roundabout. I then had the luxury of viewing the 1993 version at the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library with Scott and Paul Gemignani. Scott’s production was perfection. It was immediately apparent to me why this musical is so beloved. I was excited to start working on this project because it is such a stylish period, which appeals to me as a fashion designer. Some of my favorite designers like Schiaparelli and Vionnet made huge contributions to the period. Using them as a starting point -- as well as vintage illustrations, clothing, and photographs from the 1930s of my dear friend Jessica Weinstein's European relatives -- I tried to reinterpret it all with a sense of minimal realism. I never want the actors to look like they are wearing "costumes." I designed a wardrobe for each character based on the storyline/lifestyle of the character -- which is what I would do designing any clothing collection.

Inspiration for the women's costumes of SHE LOVES ME

Inspiration for the women's costumes of SHE LOVES ME

Costume renderings for SHE LOVES ME by

Costume renderings for SHE LOVES ME by

Costume renderings for SHE LOVES ME by Jeff Mahshie

Costume renderings for SHE LOVES ME by Jeff Mahshie

Donald Holder – Lighting Designer

She Loves Me is a charming and heartfelt romantic fantasy, set in 1930s Budapest. David Rockwell’s lavish and colorful Art Nouveau set further enhances the sense of nostalgia and romance, and the lighting will very much follow suit. Many lighting gestures will support the storytelling: the play begins on a bright summer afternoon and ends near the Christmas holiday. The detailed cityscape that surrounds the Parfumerie offers the perfect canvas to communicate the passage of time by subtly and continually shifting the angle and color of the light that glances across the bas relief building facades. Although the musical moves from one interior to the next, each space will be revealed with its own particular quality of light: from the sparkling and gleaming interior of the shop, to the monochromatic and sculptural light of the workroom, to the richly-hued and golden glow of the restaurant, to the cool wintry daylight of the hospital room, and the rosy-hued interior of Amalia’s bedroom. The entire world of She Loves Me will be embraced in a lavender twilight and colorful glow that I hope will allow the audience to lose themselves in the enchanting story and music, and to be transported for a few short hours to a simpler time and era that has long passed us by.

Jon Weston – Sound Designer

The original cast recording of She Loves Me is one of the musicals I listened to on vinyl. It was a two LP set and, thanks to the beautiful voices of Barbara Cook and Jack Cassidy, I wore the grooves out. I then started listening to the revival that Scott directed in 1993 and was determined that, someday, I would get to work with this exquisite music first hand. That determination paid off, and now with this production my dream is coming true. In fact, this production is fulfilling two dreams in one because another one of my professional dreams has been to work with Paul Gemignani as a designer, and now that is coming true as well. And if that wasn't fulfilling enough, orchestrator Larry Hochman is a genius and a wonderful collaborator, making this a special one-of-a-kind experience. While Studio 54 has some challenges when it comes to sound design, my team has been working alongside the house staff to meet every challenge head on and will make this production one to remember for years to come.


She Loves Me begins performances on February 19 at Studio 54. For tickets and information, please visit our website.


Related Categories:
2015-2016 Season, Education @ Roundabout, She Loves Me, Upstage


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Interview with Laura Benanti

Posted on: February 12th, 2016 by Ted Sod

 

Laura Benanti performing at a press event for SHE LOVES ME

Laura Benanti performing at a press event for SHE LOVES ME

Education dramaturg spoke with actress Laura Benanti about her career and her role as Amalia in She Loves Me.

 

TED SOD: Tell us about yourself: Where were you born and educated? When and why did you decide to be an actor?

LAURA BENANTI: I was born in NYC and raised in New Jersey. I was accepted to NYU and left three weeks later to understudy the role of Maria in The Sound of Music on Broadway. I took over the role a year later at the age of 19, performing opposite Richard Chamberlain. I decided that I would go back to college when acting jobs dried up. Fortunately, that hasn't happened yet!

 

TS: Why did you choose to do She Loves Me and the role of Amalia?
LB: I believe there is a reason the story that this beautiful show is based on has been made into three films! The notion of wanting to find love, and finding it where you least expect it, is a very common desire. I find the character of Amalia to be very funny and true. I am really looking forward to inhabiting this character.

 

TS: What is your process as an actor? What is the first thing you do?

LB: I start by reading the script and score. I highlight everything that is said about the character. In the case of this particular show, I have read the original play by Miklos Laszlo entitled Parfumerie, watched the Lubitsch film version of the play, The Shop Around the Corner, and researched the location and time period.

 

TS: What in your opinion makes this story so popular?

LB: There have always been, and there will always be, lonely hearts. Where we used to have a Lonely Hearts Club, we now have eHarmony and Tinder. We have always been searching for love, and we probably always will be.

 

TS: Have you ever had a pen pal?

LB: When I was younger, I had a pen pal in South America. She and I wrote back and forth for about a year. It was fascinating to learn about a completely different culture.

 

TS: What do you look for in a director? A musical director?

LB: I look for fun, creativity, strength, and openness (all of which Scott Ellis has). I look for the same in a music director (and fortunately Paul Gemignani is all those things as well!).

 

TS: How do you keep yourself inspired as an artist?

LB: Reading, listening to music, seeing musicals and plays, watching films and wonderful TV programs, and meditation.

 

TS: Many NYC public school kids will read this interview and will want to know what it takes to be a successful actor -- what advice can you give young people who want to act?

LB: Acting is not an easy profession. It is not something to get into because you want to be famous. Very few people become famous. Do it because it is the only thing you can imagine doing, and you can't picture any other life.


She Loves Me begins performances on February 19 at Studio 54. For tickets and information, please visit our website.


Related Categories:
2015-2016 Season, A Conversation with, Education @ Roundabout, She Loves Me, Upstage


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SLM-006M-Standard Art Files-300x300pxOn February 19, She Loves Me, the gloriously romantic musical comedy from librettist Joe Masteroff, composer Jerry Bock, and lyricist Sheldon Harnick being directed by Scott Ellis starts previews as part of this 50th Anniversary season.

As you may know, She Loves Me holds a special place in Roundabout’s history. In 1993, Scott Ellis directed this show as the very first musical we ever produced on Broadway. There was certainly a steep learning curve back then (who knew that the music department was so much more than just a piano?), but the production’s success sent Roundabout down a thrilling new path. Today, 26 Broadway musicals and 16 Tony Awards later, we are committed to bringing our audience more musicals like this one – those that may not be the best-known titles but that deeply deserve to be seen again. To me, there's just no good reason why She Loves Me isn't considered one of the top classics in musical theatre, alongside better-known titles like Gypsy, West Side Story, and Fiddler on the Roof. Its charms may be more intimate in scale, but they are incredibly rewarding.

I often find myself calling She Loves Me a “jewel box” musical. There’s something delicate about its size, with a story that revolves around a small group of well-drawn characters. And the term reflects how precious the individual elements of the piece are, with some of the brightest comedy and sweetest songs ever on a Broadway stage. Quite simply, I love She Loves Me, both for the show itself and for the incredible artistic collaborations that have continued from its first revival more than 20 years ago. When Scott Ellis directed She Loves Me, it was his Broadway debut as a director. Now, returning to this show will mark his amazing 21st Broadway production. If celebrating our 50th season and reflecting on Roundabout's history has reminded me of anything, it's how lucky I have been to help launch the careers of gifted artists like Scott and to now see him bring his artistry to a new generation.

With a cast that combines Tony-winning favorites, beloved members of the Roundabout family, and exciting new talents, I think you are in for a treat with this completely new look at one of the most joyous musicals I’ve ever had the pleasure to see. I will eagerly await your thoughts on this production, so please continue to email me throughout this 50th Anniversary season at artisticoffice@roundabouttheatre.org. I can’t tell you how greatly I value your feedback.

I look forward to seeing you at the theatre!

Sincerely,

Todd Haimes
Artistic Director


Related Categories:
2015-2016 Season, From Todd Haimes, She Loves Me


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