Last modified: Tuesday, July 1, 2008
IU Opera Theater presents ‘Best musical comedy ever written’
She Loves Me production part of Summer Music Festival
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Vincent Liotta is well-known in the opera world for co-founding the renowned Utah Festival Opera and for his stage direction with companies ranging from the Chicago Lyric Opera to the Vienna Staatspoer. This summer, though, Liotta is most thrilled not about a classic opera, but about an uplifting musical comedy, She Loves Me, presented by IU Opera Theater as part of the 2008 Indiana University Summer Music Festival.
Performances of She Loves Me will take place at 8 p.m. at the Musical Arts Center (MAC) on July 25 and 26 and Aug. 1 and 2. A free pre-concert "Opera Insights" talk will be offered one hour before each performance on the MAC Mezzanine.
Liotta, a professor of music at IU's Jacobs School of Music and stage director for She Loves Me, says many people "in the business" consider this the best musical comedy ever written. He considers the performance a must-see for anyone who enjoys musical theater, particularly because of the strength of this year's ensemble.
"It's so charming. It's a piece of feel-good theater," he said of the musical about feuding shopkeepers who fall in love when they unwittingly become secret pen pals.
The musical is based on the Miklos Laszlo play Parfumerie, first produced in Budapest in the late 1930s. If the plot sounds familiar, it's because it has been reproduced in several forms over the years. It inspired the films Shop Around the Corner (1940), The Good Old Summertime (1949) and You've Got Mail (1998), a modern take in which the secret pals met through an online dating Web site.
The original production of She Loves Me ran during the 1963-64 Broadway season, earning five Tony Award-nominations and one win for featured actor Jack Cassidy. A revival 30 years later received nine Tony nominations and again the lead actor, Boyd Gaines, won the award.
Liotta's own original works for the musical theater include a new libretto for Victor Herbert's operetta Naughty Marietta and Viva Verdi, a biographical evening about the life and work of Guiseppe Verdi.
When he first staged She Loves Me in Bloomington in 2004, Liotta chose a faithful, classic interpretation of the award-winning period production by musical theater composer Jerry Bock, an approach he also applied to this production so that audiences can experience the production as it was originally envisioned.
Maria Levy, executive administrator of IU Opera Theater, says the show is a perfect complement to the IU Summer Music Festival. "It's like a Viennese cream puff, very delectable and light," said Levy, calling the plotline of secret letters the precursor to online dating. "When you come out of this show, you can't help but smile."
While She Loves Me requires tickets, some Summer Music Festival events are free. Tickets are available at the MAC Box Office (info: 812-855-7433), online at www.music.indiana.edu/events or through Ticketmaster at 812-333-9955. The MAC Office is located on Jordan Avenue between Third and Seventh streets, and is open Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
For a complete list of IU Summer Music Festival performances and further information, visit http://music.indiana.edu/summer.