“She Loves Me” and We Love Her, Him, Them and the Entire SF Playhouse Production

by Kevin M. Thomas @ReelKev

The San Francisco Playhouse continues to amass an impressive list of theatrical credits with their latest production, “She Loves Me,” playing only until Jan. 14.

One lesson you need to learn with the SF Playhouse is even though they give you plenty of time to see a show, you think you can wait a week or two to see it, then suddenly its end date is in sight.

Many patrons were lucky to see the show after it opened in November, but I kept waiting. Pity, as it is one of the best productions the Playhouse has done – which says a lot because their last show “City of Angels” was near perfect and transported its audience to Broadway.

“Loves Me” continues that trend with an excellent and memorable ensemble, creative direction and sets that are award worthy. 

In fact, the amazing production design of Maggie Koch and her team of scenic designers transformed me back to the cute little perfumery in 1937 Hungary. And, clever director Susi Damilano – do I actually smell fragrances lightly wafting through the theatre whenever the cast was at the perfume shop? If so, excellent touch!

The tale isn’t a fresh story. We’ve all seen it but didn’t know it. Sure a few saw the 1963 original Broadway production and others might have caught the 1993 and 2016 Broadway revivals.

But film fans know it in various incarnations. Perhaps you recall the charming James Stewart romantic comedy “The Shop Around the Corner,” which was remade into the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan ‘You’ve Got Mail.” Or it might even sound familiar to movie fans who watch TCM and saw Judy Garland’s “In the Good Old Summertime.”

While it hasn’t had as many versions as “Scrooge,” still it makes a terrific holiday love story with a clever book by Joe Masteroff and snappy and smart songs by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock.

The SF Playhouse’s version can stand among these classics thanks to its high production values and flawless cast.

I am never disappointed when I see Monique Hafen, who returns to a lead role in this production and proves she is as good at slapstick as she is singing from her angelic voice. She is well paired with Jeffrey Brian Adams who was so memorable in “City of Angels” and tops himself in this production.

There isn’t one sour note among the cast with Nanci Zoppi once again stealing the show as she did with “City of Angels.” Zoppi has amazing comic timing and is quite a songstress. Seriously though, Marilyn Monroe’s spirit is living inside Zoppi who has serious and sexy stage presence.

Don’t be like me and wait to see the show. You actually have lost time to procrastinate then I did as it closes Jan. 14. Get tickets and information at www.sfplayhouse.org.