The Empty Space is offering audience a holiday gift with the timeless musical "She Loves Me." Haven't heard of it? Perhaps you know "You've Got Mail" and "The Shop Around the Corner"; all three works derive from the same source material: the 1937 play "Parfumerie."
Set in a 1930s European perfumery, this musical opens with shop clerks Amalia and Georg (Alyssa Bonnano and Nick Ono), who, more often than not, don't see eye to eye. Their moods improve after both respond to a "lonely hearts advertisement" in the newspaper and start exchanging love letters with a mystery admirer.
The letter-writing ramps up as Christmas approaches and the pair make some unexpected discoveries.
While movie fans may know the clerks' fate, director Mystie Peters said there's more to this sweet tale, including a fun batch of secondary characters like ladies man Steven (Markelle Taylor), who's having an affair with sultry shop clerk Ilona (Tessa Ogles), shop owner Mr. Maraczek (Steve Evans), middle-ages salesman Ladislav (Brice Loo) and delivery boy Arpad (Lucas Shearson).
Peters wrote in an email, " ... Because it is a stage production, the energy and the fun that the characters are having on stage should make for a very engaging and entertaining night for an audience member. There is a raucous cafe crowd and some saucy parfumerie clerks that are bound to amuse!"
The director said she also hopes audiences take a lesson from the characters' missteps.
"As with most shows that fall under the 'romantic comedy' genre, the show would have no plot if the main characters were honest with each other from the beginning. And while conflict makes for a fun and entertaining plot, in real life, great romances start with honesty. So, while the audiences are hopefully having a good time, I hope they go home and tell their loved ones how they feel about them this holiday season."
She also credits her hard-working cast and crew — including vocal and assistant director Kelsey Morrow, choreographer Jennifer Skiby and set designer Becky Ingle — for helping bring her vision to life as she juggled the show and a new baby at home.
"It took a village to get this show open, but you can really see the love and effort that everyone has poured into this show and I think anyone coming will leave a little happier for having seen it."
In the holiday spirit, the theater has brought back its VIP tables for this show, offering front row seating for two guests, your choice of unlimited holiday drinks such as caramel apple cider, hot cocoa, peppermint mochas and pumpkin spice eggnog, as well as an assortment of European desserts. The cost is $60 for two.
Holiday drinks will also be sold at the concession stand along with some themed cocktails. Try Me is a wintery sea breeze with vodka, grapefruit juice and white cranberry juice. Vanilla Ice Cream is a classic bourbon milk punch topped with nutmeg and served on the rocks. And Love Letter is a red sangria of red wine and rum sweetened with strawberry puree, mixed berries and lemon-lime soda.
The show runs Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 22 with one matinee at 2 p.m. Dec. 23.