Courtesy photo
                                Eric Ankrim and Allison Standley star as George and Amalia in Village Theatre’s production of “She Loves Me.”

Courtesy photo Eric Ankrim and Allison Standley star as George and Amalia in Village Theatre’s production of “She Loves Me.”

“She Loves Me” set to debut at Village Theatre

The story that inspired “You’ve Got Mail” debuts Jan. 16.

It’s one of Karen Lund’s favorite stories of all time.

And, it’s a favorite among many. In fact, Hollywood has spun this story not once, but three times. The first adaptation was the 1940 Ernst Lubitsch romantic comedy “The Shop Around the Corner,” starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. That was followed by the 1949 screen musical version “In the Good Old Summertime,” starring Judy Garland. Much later saw the 1998 Nora Ephron movie “You’ve Got Mail,” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

Not many know the inspiration behind those Hollywood hits including the earlier, yet popular, adaptations.

“Parfumerie,” the original 1936 Hungarian play by Miklós László, introduced the now-famous story. The original play takes place in a Budapest gift shop around Christmas and follows the relationships between the store’s employees and customers. The central relationship — the one emphasized in the film adaptations — is between two feuding co-workers who don’t realize they are pen pals.

Through several versions and adaptations, the romantic comedy has become a classic.

While the story is well-known in film, it’s also a classic on the musical stage.

“She Loves Me,” another “Parfumerie” adaptation, debuted on Broadway in 1963. It’s been nominated for more than 50 awards including the Tony, Drama Desk and Olivier Awards.

Now, local audiences can experience the musical adaptation of the classic romantic comedy on the Village Theatre stage.

“She Loves Me” will make its Village Theatre debut Jan. 16 and will run through Feb. 23.

“She Loves Me,” like the film adaptations, centers around the relationship between two quick-witted shop clerks.

Perfumery shop clerks Amalia and Georg have never quite seen eye to eye, according to Village Theatre’s description. Despite constantly being at odds with each other at work, they are unaware that they have already fallen in love as pen pals through a lonely-hearts advertisement.

“It’s one of my favorite stories,” director Karen Lund said. “I grew up watching the Jimmy Stewart version.”

“She Loves Me” is Lund’s first Village Theatre Mainstage production. Lund has served as the associate artistic director for Taproot Theatre since 1993.

She had no idea she would be asked to direct “She Loves Me.”

“I had just finished doing ‘Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,’ when [Village Theatre artistic director] Jerry Dixon asked me to lunch,” she recalled.

What she thought was a casual lunch was actually an interview.

“At the end of the lunch, he said ‘You passed.’ ‘What?’ I said. ‘You were just interviewed.’ He said, ‘Would you be interested in directing “She Loves Me”?’ I was shocked and delighted,” Lund said.

The show has been in progress since last March. Lund has enjoyed being a part of the production and the Village Theatre community.

“I’ve been enjoying living in this story,” she said. “It’s been a good escape from the current political climate. Being in a community that makes you laugh, have fun and make life worthwhile.”

It’s a timeless story, she said.

“It’s set in the 1930s during the Depression and things couldn’t be more tense. The characters are simple, happy to work,” she said. “All that’s important to them are their friends, family and their relationships. If they can just achieve those things, they’re happy… It brings us back to the values we hold.”

What supports the timeless story is the music, she said.

“The music really adds to the story,” she said. “Every song is better than the last.”

“I’ve had the honor to work with an amazing cast and crew,” she said. “This story is timeless and you just can’t help but fall in love.”

“She Loves Me” is onstage in Issaquah Jan. 16-Feb. 23, before moving to Village Theatre’s Everett location Feb. 28-March 22. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at Village Theatre’s website, over the phone, or by visiting the Box Office. For more information go online to www.VillageTheatre.org.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

School lunch. File photo
School district distributes thousands of extra meals amid pandemic

Congress hasn’t renewed the program, which provided twice as many student meals for free last spring.

The Enumclaw Health and Rehabilitation Center, which is located by St. Elizabeth hospital, a senior living community, and a nursing home. File photo
Inslee lifts visitation ban at long-term care facilities

Starting Wednesday, a four-phase plan will allow restrictions at nursing homes to gradually be relaxed.

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference on Aug. 5, 2020.
Inslee says schools in virus hot spots should stay closed

King County among high-risk counties; several school districts will have remote learning in the fall.

King County Election headquarters in Renton on Aug. 4 for the primary election. Haley Ausbun/staff photo
Inslee and Culp lead governor race; incumbent Dems ahead for Congress | Statewide results

Early results for governor, state schools chief, attorney general and more.

Democrats dominate King County legislative races | Election results

Here are the latest results for King County legislative candidates in the… Continue reading

Vote election badge. File photo
5th District results: Ramos leads House race; Anderson edging Mullett for state Senate

Early results have been reported in the 5th Legislative District races from… Continue reading

King County Election headquarters in Renton, on primary Election Day, Aug. 4. Voters can return their ballot and register in-person at the election headquarters and other voting centers by 8 p.m. Haley Ausbun/Staff photo.
Still time to vote in August primary

Turn in your ballot at any voting center by 8 p.m.

Did Republicans give up on the 5th District?

The sole Republican candidate has raised only $3,100.

Inslee mask graphic
Free mask event for King County residents, Aug. 4 in Bellevue

The drive-thru distribution event will offer two masks per person

Primary election 2020: Who will emerge as Inslee’s challenger?

Voting ends Tuesday in an election without big rallies and fund-raisers and face-to-face debates

Sex ed, local control at heart of race for WA state schools chief

Incumbent Chris Reykdal faces five foes who argue he’s pushing too many state policies on school districts.

Extra $600 in federal benefit for unemployed workers set to end July 25

Payment is on top of base weekly state benefit amount