College to present Broadway-revival romantic comedy

Hesston College students rehearse a scene from the spring musical “She Loves Me.” The show opens Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. in the Northlawn Studio Theatre. Pictured from left are freshman Nathanael Ressler (Mount Vernon, Ill.), freshman JD Hershberger (Hesston, Kan.), sophomore David Rudy (Manheim, Pa.), sophomore Broxton Busenitz (North Newton, Kan.) and freshman Morgan Martin (New Holland, Pa.).

A classic Broadway show will make a renewed appearance with the Hesston College theatre department’s spring musical production “She Loves Me” Feb. 22, 24, 28 and March 1 to 3.

The musical, which first appeared on Broadway in 1963, is one of several adaptations of the play “Parfumerie” by the Hungarian playwright Miklos Laszlo – the most recognized of which is the 1998 film “You’ve Got Mail.” The story is set in 1930s Budapest and centers around two clerks in a parfumerie whom, though they do not get along at work, anonymously fall in love with one another as secret pen-pals who met through a lonely-hearts newspaper column. As the truth of their relationship is revealed to them, drama ensues.

“The show is like a fine box of chocolates,” said director Laura Kraybill. “It is a smaller show that has not had a big following, but it is well written, has fun language and a universal message and the songs are charming.”

The original production of the romantic-comedy premiered on Broadway in the spring of 1963, but was overshadowed by the bigger and more elaborate “Hello Dolly.” The show enjoyed a Broadway revival in the 1990s and has been gaining popularity since – particularly in colleges and universities due to the smaller scale of the production.

“The message of the show is beautiful and lasting – that we are all worthy of being loved despite our quirks,” said Kraybill. “Not to mention, the cast is made up of outstanding student actors and vocalists who bring so much personality to their characters.”

The Hesston College production features a cast of 19 students and the glamor of old world Budapest. A rotating set and a live orchestra directed by Hesston music faculty member Matt Schloneger add to the intrigue of the production.

The show will be in the Northlawn Studio Theatre on the Hesston College campus at 7 p.m. Feb. 22, Feb. 28, March 1 and March 2, and at 3 p.m. Feb. 24 and March 3.

The play is suitable for audiences of all ages. Running time is about two hours and 20 minutes including intermission.

Ticket prices are $14 for adults and $8 for students, senior citizens (65+) and children 5 or older. Tickets can be purchased through the Hesston College Bookstore in person, by phone at 620-327-8105 or online at books.hesston.edu. Tickets will also be available at the door 45 minutes before each show and are subject to availability.