she loves me

Because of the short run of most shows at Gretna Theatre, it’s been a couple years since I’ve seen a show there.

So, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to see “She Loves Me” on Thursday afternoon.

Wow, was I impressed.

This production features a fantastic cast, a stunning set and remarkably perfect costumes.

And the band sounds terrific too.

Kudos to director Thomas Cote.

All cylinders are running in this delightful show, which is about two co-workers who can’t stand each other but are secret anonymous pen pals, who love each other. (It’s based on the movie “Shop Around the Corner.”)

The show also explores the lives of the other co-workers in the shop and there is not a weak link in the cast.

Real life couple William Connell and Hanley Smith play Georg and Amalia, the secret pen pals.

The spark between the two is palpable, especially early in the second act, when Georg comes to visit an ailing Amalia and he brings her ice cream.

“Where’s My Shoe” is a charming song about a couple falling in love and “Vanilla Ice Cream” is Amalia’s confirmation of it, while the title song is Georg’s.

Connell and Smith soar with strong acting chops and comic timing as well as beautifully powerful voices.

Timothy Shew is Mr. Maraczek, the owner of the shop who has personal issues at home, which he takes out on his staff. Shew handles the basic kindness of his character and his mean-spiritedness masterfully.

Ellie Mooney is saleswoman Ilona Ritter, who is being romanced by ladies man Steven Kodaly (Andrew Kindig). She’s the classic ditzy sexpot, but she gives the role heart and depth. Kindig is snidely charming.

Josh Lerner is the enthusiastic Arpad, who is the messenger but hopes to become a salesman one day. His over-eagerness is often hilarious.

Andrew Zahn is Sipos, the fretful family man who serves as Georg’s confident. Like everyone in the cast, he sings beautifully, has the perfect presence on stage and looks the part.

Andrea McCormick and Char Wilson’s costume designs are out of this world. They have the professionalism needed for a clerk in a ritzy shop and they add a delightful pop to the show, especially Ilona’s skin-tight dresses and bright red shoes.

Brandon T. Miller’s hair and wig design is right up there with the costumes.

And the look of the actors complements the set, which has its own pop.

Kyle Dixon’s set is a joy to watch in action, as it moves from different scenes and then back to the jewelry box of a shop.

The five-piece orchestra, led by Scott Williams, sounds rich and full.

While this isn’t a big dance show, Judy Williams Henry’s choreography is fun to watch in the restaurant scene and in a scene in the store at Christmas with harried shoppers.

Happily, “She Loves Me” runs one more week. Do yourself a favor and check out this ultra charming and delightful show.

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