A Romantic Atmosphere
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A Romantic Atmosphere

Roundabout Theater Company presents a winning revival of Joe Masterhoff, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick's She Loves Me; the original cast album Something Rotten! manages to capture the show's energy.
by Brian Kellow. 

On Broadway She Loves me hdl 416
Laura Benanti's Amalia and Zachary Levi's Georg in Scott Ellis's new production of She Loves Me
Photo by Joan Marcus

ZACHARY LEVI, formerly of the hit TV series Chuck, is the most winning surprise of the Roundabout Theater Company’s revival of JOE  MASTERHOFF, JERRY BOCK and SHELDON HARNICK’s She Loves Me, at Studio 54. He plays Georg Nowack, a pleasantly aimless clerk in a Budapest parfumerie who embarks on a lonely-hearts correspondence with a woman, not realizing that she is really Amalia, the recently hired clerk he spars with on a daily basis. Levi has a warm, easy voice and a natural charm reminiscent of the young DICK VAN DYKE, yet he also makes you feel Georg’s deep insecurity and frustration. He matches up well with LAURA BENANTI, a delightfully fresh and spontaneous Amalia. (When Benanti is playing scenes with JANE KRAKOWSKI, as the repeatedly used-and-thrown-away Ilona, you’re aware of the difference between a deeply gifted artist and a highly proficient stage animal.) The magnificent songs are treated with the respect and care they deserve. GAVIN CREEL feels a bit vocally lightweight as the snakelike Kodaly, but he gives the character tremendous physical life. MICHAEL McGRATH is a fine Ladislav and BYRON JENNINGS has wonderful vitality and elegance as the mercurial shop owner, Mr. Maraczek. SCOTT ELLIS’s direction is hit-and-miss: the scenes in the shop are beautifully done, but the famous sequence at the Café Imperiale fails to get most of the big laughs and wears out its welcome fast. 

I HAD A TERRIFIC TIME at Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell’s Something Rotten! when it opened on Broadway last season, but I wondered if the original cast album, recently released on Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records, would capture the show’s liveliness; I thought maybe Something Rotten! had to be seen to be properly enjoyed. I’m happy to say the recording brings back the show’s driving energy. There’s no question that it’s a little sophomoric, but so exuberantly so that as you’re liable to surrender to it all over again. spacer 

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