If you see too much Broadway theater, some shows might begin to blend together and seem a little predictable or unsubstantial. But She Loves Me does more than just ward off the haters; it's a lovely and gentle reminder that Broadway has always packed the same punch and has long been a reliable vehicle for consistent, unwavering beauty. All creators of modern musicals would benefit from seeing how this Roundabout production is done.
The 1963 show hasn't lost a step. In fact, it's probably picked up a few along the way, thanks to wonderful and stunning direction from Scott Ellis who knows exactly how to highlight and regale the audience with the emotional tugging that's called for in a particular moment. It's a smooth symphony of joy balanced by remorse, hopefulness with a pang of guilt.
Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi star in the lead roles of Amalia and Georg, two people the audience knows are destined for one another well before the two becomes a couple. It's not a matter of sitting and waiting for them to come around and realize. Along the way, these two, together, demonstrate the grace and serenity of a time left behind long ago, while simultaneously injecting into their respective roles a strong sense of modern love. The accompanying music rises to the top. Composer Jerry Bock and lyricist Sheldon Harnick keep the songs steady and soothing.
It's an old story that's been revised numerous times, most recently and perhaps more recognizably for some theatergoers by Nora Ephron with the film You've Got Mail. There's more to see than just these two wayward souls coming to terms with what's obvious to others, though In supporting roles, Jane Krakowski and Gavin Creel have perhaps the most memorable and fantastic duet of the entire show, using every inch of the stage to showcase their personal struggles to find themselves and what they want. Many of the show's themes will be familiar, yet will resonate on perhaps a new, more deeply emotional level.