May 23, 2008

She Loves Me - Audience Reaction

Watch what some of our audience members had so say about She Loves Me. Read reviews and other items of interest in Todd's shared items (also in the sidebar).

What did you think? To add your thoughts click on the comment link below.

More She Loves Me Photos

Jeremy Beck (Arpad Laszlo)

Rosie Hunter, Sarah Turner, Nancy E. Carroll (customers) and Troy Britton Johnson (Steven Kodaly), Mark Nelson (Ladislav Sipos), Brooks Ashmanskas (Georg Howack)

Mark Nelson (Ladislav Sipos) gets in between the "fox and the chicken", Troy Britton Johnson (Kodaly) and Jessica Stone (Ilona Ritter)

Marc Vietor (Head Waiter) tries to maintain a "Romantic Atmosphere"...

... but Jason Babinsky (Busboy) and Ashley Arcement (Customer) have another idea

Brooks Ashmanskas (Georg), with Mark Nelson (Sipos), as he prepares to meet his "Dear Friend" Kate Baldwin (Amalia)

The full company of The Huntington's revival of She Loves Me runs May 16-June 15 at the Huntington's mainstage, the B.U. Theatre.
Cast bios here.

All Photos: T. Charles Erickson

May 22, 2008

She Loves Me Opens

She Loves Me opened last night to hoots, hollers and a standing ovation. This morning I officially hit the wall - exhaustion has set in. This joyful production is the culmination of a tremendous body of work this season and I am grateful to everyone who had a part in making it happen. We have a lot to be proud of. Before this becomes a long babble - I'm going to stop. Here are some pics for you to enjoy. This great shot of our marquee is by Michael Gacetta.

Dick Latessa (Mr. Maraczek) and Brooks Ashmanskas (Georg Howack) - Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

Kate Baldwin as Amalia Balash - Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

The Huntington Theatre Company's revival of She Loves Me runs May 16-June 15 at the Huntington's mainstage, the B.U. Theatre. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

Brooks Ashmanskas as Georg Howack - Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

Jessica Stone as Ilona Ritter and Troy Britton Johnson as Steven Kodaly - Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

Kate Baldwin and Brooks Ashmanskas star as Amalia Balash and Georg Howack - Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

May 15, 2008

Ennio - Audience Reviews

I want to hear what you've got to say about Ennio! I've been a little busy over on Huntington Ave with She Loves Me but am planning to see it in a week or so...

My friend Andy sent in this note:

"I really enjoyed it! I think it was probably the most creative show I've seen in a long time. It was amazing enough that the costumes were all made from paper-derivatives (I kept thinking how much work it must take to make them and keep them up), but then how one costume was transformed into another... representing a personality at the other end of the spectrum from the first. Very creative."

Read the Boston Globe review. Sounds like Louise Kennedy had a great time.

"...he's always a kick, and never a drag". I think Tom Garvey might have enjoyed it too...

Robert Israel, at Edge Boston, says "Yes, "Ennio!" is a gem. Yes, this performer is a must-see. Just when you think he has done it all, and he is actually going to collapse on stage from sheer exhaustion, he peels away another paper layer of wonderment. And then he takes you on another colorful journey of song, dance and imagination. You will finally leave the theater beaming from the joy."

And thus far my favorite blog review; not a rave - but it has style. Click here.

What did you think??

Click on the comment link below to add your thoughts.

Ennio runs through June 1 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St. Boston, MA, 02116. Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company 617 266-0800


A few items for you from my Inbox:

Our first Young Patron's Event at the May 29th performance of Ennio. I sent a few friends to see the show last night and they had a great time.

Shop Foreman Brian Sears talks about our new patron lounge in the Boston Globe.

Listen to She Loves Me music here.

Kate Baldwin talks about performing "Will He Like Me" from She Loves Me.

She Loves Me
performances begin tomorrow night. It's a hot ticket - select your own seat here.

May 13, 2008

Eliot and Tony - Huntington wins big!

I took the night off yesterday and I, apparently, missed one helluva time at the Eliot Norton awards. Everyone is talking about it today. This is the news in from Temple Gill:

Hi everyone!

The Huntington had a big night last night at the Elliot Norton Awards, where Present Laughter won best production, Nancy Carroll won Outstanding Actress (for Brendan and Present Laughter), Alexander Dodge won best design (for Present Laughter and Brendan), and Nicky(Martin) was honored with the Norton Award for Sustained Excellence. You can read more about the awards

What the article won't tell you is how funny Michael(Maso) was in accepting the awards for Alexander Dodge and Present Laughter, what a tremendous great sport Victor Garber was in getting up to graciously accept Nancy Carroll's award on her behalf, and how delightful Andrea Martin was as the guest of honor and in introducing Nicky. In accepting the award for sustained excellence, Nicky was funny and charming (as usual!), and both he and the tribute video to him were greeted very warmly by the crowd.

Congratulations to all of our winners! And thanks to everyone who came to the awards last evening to support them!

- Temple

Also in my mailbox this from Michael Maso:

The 39 Steps has six Tony Nominations — including best play, best director and all design components.

Best Play - The 39 Steps
Best Director of a Play - Maria Aitken
Best Sets for a Play - Peter McKintosh
Best Costume for a Play - Peter McKintosh
Best Lighting for a Play - Kevin Adams
Best Sound for a Play - Mic Pool

You should all feel very proud of what you have helped accomplish, with special note of our extraordinary production staff for what your expertise has contributed to this recognition.

There are also noms for Andrea Martin and Chris Fitzgerald! View the complete list of nominees here.


Exciting news all around. Congrats everyone!

May 12, 2008

She Loves Me - Boston

Boston: The Huntington Theatre Company production of She Loves Me starts previews this coming Friday - May 16th.

Tickets ($15-$75) on sale now.

Here's a little preview in the form of a rehearsal video. Enjoy!

More information about the show and purchasing tickets can be found in the right hand sidebar

May 10, 2008

Why I Love She Loves Me: Nicholas Martin

Like many mid-century New York kids, I was introduced to the theatre by way of the American musical; then sweetly (and accurately) called the musical comedy. It was a rite of passage for Jewish kids from the suburbs to be hauled aboard the BMT subway and carried to the matinees of shows by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, Jule Styne, and Irving Berlin. In retrospect, the phenomenal thing to remember is that those composers all had shows running at the same time. It was truly a special time to grow up in the theatre. Love at first sight struck this kid when I saw (or perhaps heard) Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun, and I was stuck with a lifelong need to be part of the profession that there’s no business like.

Many years and many musicals later — though fewer and fewer as the century grew older and yielded to the genius of Sondheim, and the workaday middlebrow musical theatre of the British — there are only a handful that still remain vivid, not to say, life changing. Among these, She Loves Me has always haunted me most persistently, especially the unique power of its book and music despite the gentle romanticism of the piece. Its score is arguably the most eloquent, original, and varied ever composed. As Barbara Baxley, the original Ilona, remarked, “the music kept us so happy. No one can listen to that music every single night and not be happy.”

The book, based on an excellent play and a classic movie (The Shop Around the Corner) is unusually tight for a musical, and the piece provides bravura roles for no less than five performers, and some delicious cameos for several more.

Yet, like many other truly transcendent pieces of art, She Loves Me was not a smash in its Broadway premiere. Slowly, it graduated to the limbo status of cult musical, until finally, in a stunning Roundabout production directed by Scott Ellis and choreographed by Rob Marshall, it became the big fat hit it deserved to be in the1993 revival.

From its ethereal music to its taut and witty book to the joy in its performances, I’m sure you will fall for She Loves Me. Ultimately though, I’m directing it as my final show as artistic director of the Huntington so that I may recover a little of that boy on the subway, and perhaps give Boston the gift of eternal youth that She Loves Me inspires in everyone who knows it.

- Nicholas Martin

To read why others, including cast members Brooks Ashmasnkas, Jessica Stone, and Kate Baldwin love She Loves Me, click here. Why do you love She Loves Me? Just click below to tell us your story...

Part six of a series, with notes by Jared Craig and Ilana M. Brownstein. Photo: Suzanne Kreiter/Boston Globe

Why I Love She Loves Me: Hal Prince

Hal Prince

Director and Producer of the 1963 Broadway premiere

I loved everything about She Loves Me, not only the finished work but the entire experience of producing and directing it in 1963. However, I should say I had little experience directing — none on a musical — but of course I’d been observing George Abbott and Jerome Robbins for a number of years, and apparently had been paying attention. The show starred four major performers: Barbara Cook, Dan Massey, Barbara Baxley (straight from the Actor’s Studio), and Jack Cassidy. All of them were artists, none of them were easy. So, during the almost five weeks of rehearsal, I believe they challenged everything I said, every move I told them to make, every motivation, every line reading (I did give line readings when necessary). I do not believe they let up on me until tech rehearsals, when miraculously it all seemed to have been planned by its director, and the show was working. I don’t blame them; I wouldn’t have listened to me either! The day after the show opened on Broadway, I received two wires: one from Richard Rodgers, and another from Leonard Bernstein, both of whom were blown away by it. 50+ musicals later, if not one of the most audacious I've ever done, I certainly rank it among the best.

-Hal Prince

Part five of a series, with notes by Jared Craig and Ilana M. Brownstein

Why I Love She Loves Me: Jessica Stone

Jessica Stone

playing Ilona; Huntington appearances in Betty’s Summer Vacation and Springtime for Henry

What I love about She Loves Me is so obvious that it’s boring to read. Woven together with an unbelievably charming score, it turns the boy-meets-girl formula inside out and upside down. What I love about this production of the show is the chance to tell this story with some of my dearest friends. That’s an exuberance that can’t be faked. I mean, spring in Boston with Brooks Ashmanskas and Nicky Martin?!

- Jessica Stone

Part four of a series, with notes by Jared Craig and Ilana M. Brownstein

Why I Love She Loves Me: Brooks Ashmanskas

Brooks Ashmanskas

Georg in She Loves Me; Huntington appearances in Amphitryon and Present Laughter

I was first exposed to She Loves Me as a kid via the original cast album (I do mean “album!”), and I have adored it ever since — so many great songs. A few years after I moved to New York, Scott Ellis’ revival opened and I saw it three times. Until seeing it, I hadn't realized just how perfect the show is; a lovely mix of old-fashioned structure and modern subject matter and sensibility. And that score! As for my favorite moment, it would have to be the end. I think it’s a perfect example (if done well) of what can happen only in a live musical — all of a sudden we all find ourselves where Georg and Amalia are: in love. Them, with each other; us, with She Loves Me.

- Brooks Ashmaskas

Part three of a series, with notes by Jared Craig and Ilana M. Brownstein

May 8, 2008

The 39 Steps Opens Again

Our production of Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps opens again on Broadway at the Cort tonight... Playbill has the story here. Charlie Edwards, Arnie Burton, Cliff Saunders, and Jennifer Ferrin (L to R in the above photo by Joan Marcus), continue in their roles. We wish everyone a healthy "break a leg"! Managing Director Michael Maso and incoming Artistic Director Peter Dubois will be on hand tonight in NYC to deliver our best wishes. The rest of us are getting ready for a She Loves Me dry tech tomorrow night.

I visited the production in rehearsal at the Cort two weeks ago with my sister, and my 10 yo nephew, and 12 yo niece. It was great to see so many familiar faces backstage and at the tech tables. Two of the Boston crew are still with the production - BU stage management student Rosy Garner and dresser Peggy Donovan. Rosy has been commuting back to Boston for classes on Monday all semester. We also saw Stage Managers Nevin Headly and Janet Takami, as well as the Production management team from Aurora productions. Kevin Adams (lighting) and Drew Levy (sound) , were busy behind their tech tables again, and it was nice to see lighting assistant Hillary Manners. It's a small world. Director Aitken, who has been busy directing a new production in Australia, sent her best back to the Huntington. I delivered IRNE awards to Clilff Saunders and Arnie Burton. More awards are expected soon at the Norton and Drama Desk ceremonies.

We've sent them a few new costumes - Jennifer Ferrin has had a new dress for every production - and Charlie, who uses two suits for each show, is on his second set. I expect we'll be called for the third in a few months. The four chairs in the show - which survived the Boston run to our surprise, also made it almost all the way through the run at the Roundabout - with their back ups going on in the final week there. Everything (and everyone) looks great and it's nice to see our work up on Broadway once again.

The above photo is by T. Charles Erickson.

We got to watch a few hours of tech rehearsal - a little bit of the bog chase, where they brought back the "Boston" stream, some new blocking in the "door" scene in the mansion on the moors, and some of the shadow play. Ben and Kendra (my nephew and niece) were probably the most engaged they had been the entire weekend. Ben, who likes to figure things out, wanted to know if it was rated PG-13 and if he could watch the movie when he got home. Kendra was thrilled that they were the only guests in the theatre. Ben wanted to know if the show was like the movie "Clue". I didn't have an answer for that one, but it was fun to explain some of the tricks behind the shadow play chase scene. We got to see that about 5 times, as they would stop each time to fix a little snag, go back and start all over again. I thought the kids would be bored after two hours of stops and starts - but they weren't. Clearly it's time to get them to the theatre more often. Hopefully the show will run for years (like it has in London) and we'll be back to NY to see the show from start to finish someday.

This just in: Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film classic, The 39 Steps, will air on Turner Classic Movies on Monday, May 12th at 8:00PM,. TCM host Robert Osborne will introduce the film and discuss the hit Broadway production, Alfred Hitchcock’s THE 39 STEPS, which is running at the Cort Theatre on Broadway. Check local listings for channel information.

May 7, 2008

Why I Love She Loves Me: Kate Baldwin

Kate Baldwin

playing Amalia;

Appeared in the Huntington's production of Falsettos

My favorite moment of She Loves Me is the song “Will He Like Me?” It starts out in a very measured and steady way, containing Amalia’s apprehension. Then, the bridge of the song bursts forth with a rush of happiness, only to subside again. The end is a sweet mix, brimming with equal parts hope and self doubt. It’s one of the best songs ever written for the musical theatre.

- Kate Baldwin

(photo with full company - Kate's on the right - front row)
Part two of a series, with notes by Jared Craig and Ilana M. Brownstein

Why I Love She Loves Me: Scott Ellis

Scott Ellis

Director of the 1993 Broadway revival, and of the Huntington’s Streamers

Several years after I directed the Broadway revival of She Loves Me, while visiting the Lincoln Center Library, I inquired whether the taped version made specifically for the archives had been viewed. I was told it was one of the most watched shows because it is truly “the perfect musical.”

- Scott Ellis

Part one of a series, with notes by Jared Craig and Ilana M. Brownstein

May 6, 2008

Nicholas Martin and friends

This video was made for last night's SPOTLIGHT SPECTACULAR in honor of Huntington Artistic Director Nicholas Martin. Enjoy...

The video features comments and memories from Andrea Martin, Victor Garber, Debra Monk, Noah Haidle, Cigdem Onat, Daniel Goldstein, Scott Ellis, Kate Burton, Maureen Anderman, Jerry Kissel, Brooks Ashmanskas, and Will Lebow.

Other highlights of the evening were host Olympia Dukakis, who gave new meaning to the words "Spotlight Spectacular" via her trademark vocal delivery, local actor Will Lebow performing a bit of Noel Coward, and She Loves Me cast members Kate Baldwin and Troy Britton Johnson giving us a preview of what we can look forward to in our upcoming production.

There was a little of the old and new - with incoming Artistic Director Peter Dubois introducing the above video clip, followed by a (typically short yet entertaining) speech by incoming Artist Emeritus Nicky Martin speaking with fondness about the Huntington and his true affection for "the people across the street in the theatre and shops" - our great team of talented production staff - "who don't get thanked nearly as often as they should". I'll second that emotion!

Trustee Carol Deane and her husband Disque were honored with The Wimberly Award (the Huntington's highest honor), for their outstanding support, contributions, and work on behalf of the Huntington.

If you missed the fun but would like to help out - we're happy to take your hard earned cash any hour of the day. Get your credit card ready and login here. "A donation to the Huntington Theatre Company will help us continue to bring our world-class productions, innovative artistic programs, and acclaimed youth, education, and community outreach initiatives to Boston. Your gift will also entitle you to special benefits that are only available to donors."

May 5, 2008

Love Letters: The Story behind "She Loves Me"

What do you do when you discover the soul mate you’ve been writing to is in fact the co-worker you’ve come to loathe? This is the conflict at the heart of the Huntington’s final show of the season, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s She Loves Me. Not your typical boy-meets-girl love story, the tale behind She Loves Me has a rich production history, from star-studded film adaptations to award-winning musical productions. It all started, however, with a little-known Hungarian play called Parfumerie.

Written in 1937 by Miklos Laszlo (and known as Illatszerar in Hungary), Parfumerie revolves around a shop owner who suspects his wife of infidelity. Though this is the central story, Laszlo gives equal time to the employees who work in the shop. One of the subplots follows two quarrelling employees who find love in anonymous “dear friend” letters, written to each other.

This romantic subplot subsequently inspired German filmmaker Ernst Lubitsch. Best known for his romantic comedies and for being a two-time Oscar nominee, Lubitsch adapted the play into the 1940 film The Shop Around the Corner, starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. 1949’s In the Good Old Summertime, starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson (and introducing Liza Minnelli in her film debut) transplanted the same story to Chicago, and changes the perfume store to a record shop. This film is known for first introducing music into the story, though many believe the songs chosen for Summertime felt oddly tacked-on. The film failed commercially, and the story would not re-emerge until a decade later with the 1963 Broadway musical She Loves Me.

Inspired by The Shop Around the Corner, producer Lawrence Kasha approached his friend Sheldon Harnick about adapting the material into a musical. Excited by the idea, a team was quickly assembled, consisting of Harnick (lyrics), Jerry Bock (music), and Joe Masteroff (book). They approached well-known director Gower Champion to direct, but when he rejected the offer, they turned to a young co-producer on the production, Harold Prince. (Little did they know Prince would go on to play a major role in Broadway’s history, directing such hits as Cabaret, Company, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Candide, Phantom of the Opera, and numerous others.) The production attracted a highly talented cast, with Daniel Massey as Georg, Barbara Baxley as Ilona, Barbara Cook as Amalia, and Jack Cassidy as Kodaly.

The run closed after only 302 performances, and despite a stint in London in 1964, would not see Broadway lights again until the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival in 1994, directed by Scott Ellis (recent director of the Huntington’s Streamers). Ellis’ revival was heralded for its innovative staging and for giving She Loves Me a renewed profile.

The story of She Loves Me has grown far beyond the story of employees in a Hungarian perfume shop, as reflected in the latest film adaptation, 1998’s You’ve Got Mail. Directed by Nora Ephron and starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, this re-telling found a home in the technological era. Instead of exchanging letters, the couple exchanges e-mails, and instead of being co-workers, they are competitors in the bookselling industry.

The story of Georg and Amalia continues to delight romantics and melt hearts, in film and musical form alike. Now, as Nicholas Martin nears the end of his time as the Huntington’s Artistic Director, he has chosen the musical the World-Telegram & Sun called “dear, charming, and wholeheartedly romantic” as the capstone to his tenure. Be sure to discover what this newest production of She Loves Me will bring!

- Brett Marks

Sinan Unel gets the last word

My inbox today contained this nice note from Sinan to the entire staff at the Huntington - I thought it worth sharing;

We had a truly inspiring closing last night. Everything worked beautifully. People were riveted the whole time. As they were walking out, I heard snippets:

What a powerful play.

An amazing production.

And the doors?

Best thing I've seen.

It's truly gratifying to know that people keep talking about the play after it's over.

This has been a wonderful time for me. I hope you don't think it's obnoxious that I've borrowed all of your addresses from a previous email from Michael. I wanted to extend my gratitude to all of you for making this such an amazing experience. Thank you for your work, your contribution, your hospitality, talent and friendship. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Best wishes,


May 1, 2008

She Loves Me - In Rehearsal

Yesterday was the film shoot for our upcoming behind the scenes video. Here are a few photos taken during the shoot. Extra - Extra

From today's rehearsal report: "A very productive day of rehearsal. We started the day with a review of the Romantic Atmosphere dance. The dancers and Denis are doing really great work, and it is coming together nicely. We followed this with a lot of scene work in act two. We have now touched on the whole show. After lunch we did a run thru of act one. The cast managed very nicely for a first run, especially having not touched act one in a few days. We are in good shape to head into the weekend. Tomorrow we plan to do some more scene work and a run of act 2."

Photos are being added daily to our production photo album here.

You still have time to vote for your favorite couple here. Adam & Megan are enjoying a slight lead, with Dee & George in a close second. Vote early, vote often. The voting closes May 12 at Noon.