The Story Behind the Photo: "She Loves Me"

Tania Thompson
 | Jan 27, 2021
She Loves Me
Brian Vaughn and Erin Mackey in She Loves Me (2020), directed by David Ivers. Book by Joe Masteroff, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, based on the play by Miklós László. Photo by Jordan Kubat.

About ​She Loves Me

Romantic, charming and brimming with joy, this musical comedy reminds us that one kind deed can open up a world of possibilities. At Maraczek’s Parfumerie, clerks Georg and Amalia are constantly at odds. But outside of work, they’re each falling madly in love with an anonymous pen pal, unaware that it is the other. This nostalgic Broadway hit inspired by the story that gave us The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail is “as sweet and exhilarating as a first kiss” (New York Daily News).

Sample Songs from She Loves Me

There was a lot to ​love about South Coast Repertory’s production of She Loves Me (2020)—including the fact that it marked David Ivers' directorial debut as artistic director, had an automated set that opened to reveal a stunning Art Deco perfume shop and had a hugely talented cast. Erin Mackey (Amalia Balash) drew praise from audiences—think song like “Will He Like Me?” and “Vanilla Ice Cream.” With so much to love about this show, why did Mackey select the photo above as an important moment?

What moment does this depict?

This is a moment ​from the second act. Amalia has been stood up (or so she thinks…) by her pen pal, “Dear Friend” and was stuck at a restaurant with her least-favorite person ever, Georg. (Spoiler alert: Georg is “dear friend”!). Now, she’s home and sick. Georg shows up to her place to bring her ice cream and they talk/fight about what happened the night before and maybe…kind of…realize they like each other?

How did you work to make this moment happen?

This scene is such a blast! David Ivers (our director), Brian Vaughn (my ridiculously talented Georg) and I had so much fun staging this scene. It’s very physical—lots of physical comedy and timing to get right. I got to eat “ice cream” (in reality, a non-dairy coconut whipped topping) ​eight times a week and run around the stage, jumping on the bed like a crazy person. There was a lot of coordination to get it all right. Brian is such a fun, confident actor and I knew I could always throw anything his way and he would pick it up and run with it. And, David is such a smart and enthusiastic director; he wanted our staging and scene work to be fun and truthful and smart.

What’s the power about this moment?

What's is so beautiful about this scene is that you’ve watched these two characters hate each other for the whole show. They bicker and, eventually, say truly mean things to one another. But, here, they finally realize how much they complement one another. It’s a rather long scene actually and I love that the writers of this show trusted that two people onstage talking to one another and having revelations about their feelings can be so engaging and thrilling to watch. Plus, the scene ends with “Vanilla Ice Cream” and that’s just one of the best musical theatre soprano songs out there!

Anything else you’d like to say about the photo or the production?

Amalia in She Loves Me is a dream role for me. It’s a gem of a show and, dare I say, nearly perfect. I so appreciated David’s desire to not have the show be ONLY about the comedy. It’s a remarkably funny show, but the emotions of these characters are real and raw and heartbreaking at times. ​Our production didn’t shy away from that and I’m really proud of all of us for making that happen!