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"She Loves Me" is a feel-good show for the whole family

Music, dancing and the search for true love will light up the stage for the New Mexico State University and American Southwest Theatre Company holiday production "She Loves Me."

Set in 1930s Europe, "She Loves Me" is a musical comedy about two feuding perfume shop clerks, Georg and Amalia, who secretly find solace in their anonymous romantic pen pals, not knowing their correspondents are each other. "She Loves Me" started out as a short story and was adapted into a play and then the movie "The Shop Around the Corner," starring Jimmy Stewart. It was later readapted as a play and updated to the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film "You've Got Mail."

Theater faculty member and director Tom Smith said this production has six sets, a cast of about 25, about 200 costume changes, more than 1,000 props and surprise special effects. It also features a small orchestra, numerous songs and choreographed dance numbers.

"It's a phenomenal story to translate so well and we're pulling out all the stops for this production," Smith said.

Guest music director Valerie Couch, who learned about New Mexico State's theater department working with Smith in the Creede Repertory Theatre in Colorado, said "She Loves Me" is a feel-good show with a sense of love and strength. "There's so much turmoil that's happening on TV, it's good to get back to the basics and have that romantic feeling -- the feeling that good things do happen to good people," she said.

Smith described the play as an "undiscovered musical" and doubts many people in Las Cruces have seen it.

"After seeing it I think the audience is going to wonder why it isn't up there with 'My Fair Lady' and 'West Side Story,'" he said. "The writing is so solid and the music is so beautiful, it's just a musical that somehow fell through the cracks."

For this musical, auditions were open to the community as well as New Mexico State students.

"We've got a mix of theater and music students and community members," Smith said. "I really feel like the talent pool isn't just the best of the university, but the best of Las Cruces."

Smith added that the show reinforces the idea that people are still romantics at heart. Some parts of the play are sweet but still powerful because the search for true love still exists, he said.

"We look so far away while our secret admirer might be our next door neighbor," Couch said. "Sometimes we look in all the wrong places when love is surrounding us."

"She Loves Me" will run Nov. 29-Dec. 8 at the Hershel Zohn Theatre. Sell-outs are expected, so two additional performances have been added to the theater's usual run. For ticket prices, reservations or information, call the Hershel Zohn Theatre Box Office at (505) 646-4515 or (800) 525-ASTC.

Photo is available at http://ucommphoto.nmsu.edu/newsphoto/she_loves_me.jpg.
CUTLINE: Shop clerks Georg and Amalia, played by Isaac Quiroga and Bree Del Campo, read letters from secret admirers, who unbeknownst to them are each other, in "She Loves Me," playing Nov. 29-Dec. 8 in New Mexico State University's Hershel Zohn Theatre. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Sarah Wheeler
Nov. 27, 2002