9 MAY – 18 JUNE, MINERVA THEATRE, CHICHESTER

Director and Choreographer STEPHEN MEAR
Book by JOE MASTEROFF
Music by JERRY BOCK
Lyrics by SHELDON HARNICK

Based on a play by Miklos Laszlo
Originally directed on Broadway by Harold Prince
Originally produced on Broadway by Harold Prince
In association with Lawrence N Kasha and Philip C McKenna

A witty and warm-hearted musical about two lovelorn shop assistants launches Festival 2011 at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester.

She Loves Me is the delightful story of Georg and Amalia, who work in a 1930s parfumerie. Adversaries by day, at night they write ardent love letters to their anonymous sweethearts. They both fall in love with their mystery pen pals, unaware that each is the other’s secret correspondent.

The cast features Joe McFadden as Georg. Last at Chichester in Festival 05’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, his other credits include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Rent on stage and Heartbeat, Casualty and Cranford on television.

Dianne Pilkington plays Amalia. Her stage credits include The 39 Steps, Wicked, The Wolf Man, Taboo, Tonight’s The Night, The Beautiful Game and Les Misérables.

The musical will be directed and choreographed by Chichester Festival Theatre Associate Stephen Mear. His productions for Chichester include The Music Man and Funny Girl. Other credits include the forthcoming West End production of Betty Blue Eyes, Shoes, Mary Poppins, for which he received the Olivier Award for Best Choreography, together with Matthew Bourne, and Hello, Dolly! for which he received the Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer. He has also featured as a judge on BBC 1’s So You Think You Can Dance, returning for a new series in March.

The production is designed by Anthony Ward whose previous credits include ENRON (Festival 2010 and 09), Macbeth (Festival 07), Posh at the Royal Court, as well as West End productions of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Oliver! and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He has won a Tony Award for Costume Design for Mary Stuart, and Olivier Awards for the Set Design of Oklahoma! and the Costume Design of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, La Grande Magia and The Way of the World.

Lighting design is by Chris Davey, musical direction is by Phil Bateman whose work includes Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s production of Peter Pan, and West End credits Billy Elliott and Our House, sound design is by Matt McKenzie and orchestration is by Steven Edis.

This rare musical gem is the fifth adaptation of the play Parfumerie, which was reworked to become the 1940 film The Shop Around The Corner starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan, followed by the 1949 musical version In the Good Old Summertime featuring Judy Garland. The story also provided the inspiration for the 1998 rom-com You’ve Got Mail starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

It was first staged as She Loves Me on Broadway in 1963. Both the original productions and the Broadway and West End revivals received rave reviews and numerous awards.

Writer Joe Masteroff was nominated for a 1964 Tony Award for She Loves Me. He won the 1967 Tony Award as author of the book of the Best Musical for Cabaret. Composer
Jerry Bock and lyricist Sheldon Harnick forged a successful partnership on a number of productions including the 1964 production of Fiddler on the Roof, for which they received a Tony Award for Best Composer and Lyricist. Harnick’s other credits include lyrics for the English language stage adaptation of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

She Loves Me is at the Minerva Theatre 9 May – 18 June, evenings 7.45pm except for the press night on Monday 16 May at 7pm, matinees 2.30pm. Tickets £23.50 (previews/press night) or £29.50 (evenings/matinee) are available online at www.cft.org.uk or from the Box Office on 01243 781312.

Stephen Mear, the director and choreographer of She Loves Me, will give a free pre-show talk about the challenges of turning his choreographic craft into direction on Friday 13 May at 6.00pm in the Steven Pimlott Building. Tickets should be booked in advance from the Box Office.

After Words – a free post-show discussion with some of the She Loves Me cast and creative team – will be held on Thursday 16 June.

There will be also be a talk entitled Songs of Love and Longing, on Saturday 9 July at 11.00am in the Steven Pimlott Building when Ben Hall, Head of Music at the University of Chichester listens closely to the musical connections between Singin’ in the Rain, She Loves Me and Sweeney Todd. Tickets £5, Friends and concessions £3, available from the Box Office.

Release issued by: Chichester Festival Theatre

LINKS

Chichester Festival Theatre website