She Loves Me, She Really Loves Me

Last week, history was made when the musical revival of She Loves Me became the first ever Broadway show to be live streamed on the Internet. Through BroadwayHD, fans from all over the world could tune in to watch Laura Benanti hit those high notes and Chuck from Chuck sing. Period. And if you missed it, you still have a couple more days to catch it on demand before it goes away on Thursday, July 7th, which is a few days before it closes in New York.

For $9.99 you can watch She Loves Me in the comfort of your own home, which is what I did the other day and let me tell you it was worth every PayPal penny. Sometimes classic musicals like this show aren’t as enjoyable to me (I just saw 42nd Street for the first time and it’s unsurprisingly (?) anti-feminist?). However, I am pleased to report that She Loves Me is a delightful musical that deserves all the acclaim it’s receiving. Is it the same as being in The Room Where It Happens™ and seeing Jane Krakowski to the splits IRL? Obviously not. Nothing can ever compare to live theatre, but this is the best alternative for folks like me who will never get the chance to see the show in its current production live.

So if you’re reading this before July 7th, I recommend taking a peak of what you’re in for then enjoy the show on BroadwayHD – this sounds like a sponsored post but *bible*, it’s not. If you’re reading this after the 7th, here’s some highlights of what you missed.

On The Verge of Being Catfished

She Loves Me is a 1963 musical based on the play Parfumerie by Hungarian playwright Miklós László – which is why the show takes place in Budapest. Surprisingly enough, it takes place in a Parfumerie where employees Georg and Amalia are constantly at odds. Separately, they are secretly part of a Lonely Hearts Club letter exchange, and they’ve each found love with an anonymous pen pal. Unbeknowst to them, they are in love with each other!

Does this seem like a Catfish waiting for to happen? Absolutely. Amalia doesn’t even know her romantic pen pal’s name. She lit’rally says, “I couldn’t love him better if I knew his name.” Come on. NEV?? WHERE YOU AT? If this wasn’t a musical made in 1963, I definitely would’ve thought Georg was going to be a 16-year-old insecure Reddit user whose Friday night prank turned spiraled out of control.

Also, if this plot sounds familiar it’s because You’ve Got Mail and the 1940 movie The Shop Around the Corner are both based on Parfumerie.

Let Me Borrow That Top

Every single item of clothing worn on stage was to die for. I love the classy era of 1930s fashion, and costume designer Jeff Mahshie did an outstanding job lit’rally from head to toe. The menswear was exquisite but it was all the women’s fashions that had me gagging.

Let Me Be Your Star

17-year-old Nicholas Barasch plays 17-year-old Arpad Laszlo, so it’s really a stretch for him. Arpad is a delivery boy who aims to be a clerk at the Parfumerie and Nick does a great job selling it. This kid is goin’ places, I tell ya.

The Set Design That Beat Hamilton

I am such a sucker for Art Deco, and this set design is so freaking dreamy. The show begins with the outside of the store, and it literally opens up to the inside of the Parfumerie, and that’s pretty much it. There are some other small set pieces that roll in, but the store is the main event. The inside of the shop is so intricate and somehow cozy – it brings you back to the time where you would have to go to a specialty store like this just to buy perfume. For you kids out there, it’s like if the perfume counter at Macy’s had its own store front. These days, the only stand-alone perfume stores are at the mall with a really bored guy trying to pedal gift sets of Britney Spears’ Curious.

Customers Are The Worst

“I’m an idiot. At least I’m an idiot with a job!” 

Amalia and Georg work with a fella named Ladislav Sipos, who is easily my favorite character. His big number is called Perspective, which is basically a lesson in customer service. The lesson being ‘The customer is always right, so shut up and be grateful you have a job’. It is amazing. He serves as Georg’s confidant and provides comic relief throughout the show and Michael McGrath is great in the role. The version of Perspective above is from the 1993 revival by Lee Wilkof, but you’ll get the picture.

Girl Power

Meanwhile, Jane Krakowski is also an employee of the shop, and besides the fact her main motivation is finding love with a man, her character of Ilona is a great representative of Girl Power. She has a thing with her charming co-worker Steven Kodaly, played by the equally charming and talented Gavin Creel. There’s an entire scene where he hits on her and gets her to go out with him and she goes into the splits, and when she finally agrees, he cancels their date in favor of a different date. Ilona is not having it and her song I Resolve is all about not letting a man do that to her ever again. In 1963, this number was probably more powerful than it is now, but it’s still a great example of trusting your “feminine intuition” and not letting a man take advantage of you and bring you down. Ilona eventually finds love and it turns into that Date Auction episode of Saved by the Bell where Lisa Turtle pretends to be a snobby intellectual to go out with the cute smart guy.

Plot Twist!

I don’t want to ruin the entire show for you if you plan on watching it, but just know that as predictable as some of these older musicals can be, I did NOT see one storyline coming, which involves the shop owner, Mr. Maraczek. It may involve another lesson on gun safety.

Zachary Levi y’all

Zachary Levi is the best! For real! Fun fact: this role was originally going to be played by Ted Mosby aka Josh Radnor, who played Georg in the 2011 concert verison of She Loves Me. He had to pull out, and Zach took his place, but turned out for the best because Zach does such an exceptional job at playing this charming, lovesick guy.

Laura Benanti y’all

She Loves Me is the perfect fit for Laura Benanti (who we previously professed our love for), since she is the ultimate soprano. Her voice suits Amalia’s to a tee, and she is so good she makes it look effortless.

Zachary Levi and Laura Benanti y’all

If you’ve seen You’ve Got Mail, or basically any romantic comedy ever made, you can guess who She Loves Me ends. I lit’rally said outloud, ‘I’m into this” re: Amalia and Georg’s blossoming relationship, and I stand by that. These two need to do another musical ASAP.

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Celebs You didn’t know could sing their asses off

If you are an actor and you want me to fall in love with you, all you have to do is serenade me with your sweet, effortless, and amazing voice. There’s just something about being surprised with someone’s vocal ability that goes straight to my heart. Here are some of my favorite actors who have won me over with their voice, and maybe they’ll have the same effect on you.

Audra McDonald

Ok, this might be obvious to you if you’re a theater nerd, but if you only know Audra from her work on Private Practice, then you really don’t have an idea of just how big of a deal she is in the theater world. The woman has won five Tony Awards. FIVE. She’s tied for the record of winning the most Tonys with Angela Lansbury. Legit. Here’s just one of my favorite performances by her, but there’s oh so many to choose from.

Hunter Parrish

Hunter is not just a pot growing businessman on Weeds, he can also sing you a soothing song – possibly while selling you pot. He made his Broadway debut in Spring Awakening, and most recently played Jesus in the revival of Godspell, which is where this amazing song comes from.

Matt Bomer

Sure, you know he’s got moves and a killer bod from his role in Magic Mike, and of course he looks good in a suit on White Collar. But he can sing a Broadway standard with the best of them. Also, he played Darren Criss’ hot brother on Glee, and that was fantastic too.

Jeremy Renner

I never really thought anything of Jeremy Renner before, and it’s probably because I don’t think I’ve seen him in any of his movies? Anyways, he hosted SNL, and he surprised the shit out of me in his monologue by playing the piano and singing at the same time. Where did this voice come from? Please sing more. Kthx.

Bonus Video: Jeremy Renner and Rosario Dawson singing to Ryan Gosling at the IFC Awards. Really.

Zachary Levi

Like most people, I first saw the Chuck star sing on the Oscars a couple years ago, and was pleasantly surprised. But that didn’t stop me from trying to find videos of him singing on YouTube (that’s probably where most sane people drew the line).

Robert Downey Jr.

For those of you that forgot, Iron Man is a singer. He actually released an album in 2004, that is probably still available for purchase. For me, the moment my crush with RDJ went onto full on obsession was when he sang on Ally McBeal. Swoon City, I tell ya. Of course this was right before he went to rehab for the very last time, so his perfect romance with Ally didn’t get to last too long. At least we got a few songs out of it.

Jensen Ackles

I don’t even watch Supernatural. I did watch Days of Our Lives when he was on it, and I thought he was a smokeshow then. And he kind of has a smokeshow country voice now. Yeehaw.

Anna Kendrick

This is a no-brainer if you’ve seen Pitch Perfect. If you haven’t seen it, Anna has been singing forevssss, and was in one of the best scenes from the movie musical Camp, called Ladies Who Lunch. She’s also slated to star in the movie version of my favorite musical Last Five Years, and I cannot wait. In the meantime, check out Anna singing For Good with legendary Kristin Chenoweth, and try to fight back the tears.

Damian Lewis

I accidentally stumbled across this doing my research for this post, and it was too good not to share. This vid appears to be from the season one Homeland wrap party, and Damian sings a classic rock song and dedicates it to Claire Danes  – who is rocking out in the front row. Ugh Brody and Carrie, you’re so wrong it’s right.