A Broadway musical in your living room


Official photos from pbs.org

Stunning Stars The stars of “She Loves Me” deliver a showstopping performance, which aired on PBS.

Summer Hoagland-Abernathy, Culture Editor

Try to imagine “Tinder: The Musical.” Now picture it set in a perfumery in Budapest in 1934. Add in characters like the down-on-his-luck salesman, the no-nonsense businesswoman, the ditzy blonde, the playboy, the wealthy old man, the wise friend, and the plucky delivery boy—and you’ve got “She Loves Me.”

The 2016 Broadway revival of “She Loves Me,” directed by Scott Ellis, was extremely well received, winning several awards, including the Tony for Best Scenic Design of a Musical. So it’s no surprise that PBS filmed the production before its closing to air it on Oct. 20, 2017 for viewers across the country to enjoy.

Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi star as Amalia Balash and Georg Nowack in this 2016 revival of the musical, and with their voices they were obviously the correct actors to choose for this task. Benanti’s fluttering vibrato carries across the theatre with such ease it seems like she could sing the entire musical herself. And Levi’s smooth, crooning vocals reflect those of the old musical greats—Frank Sinatra specifically comes to mind—which is perfect for this production.

But though these two star in the musical, others shine just as bright.

Jane Krakowski stuns as Ilona Ritter. Though she plays the ditzy blonde, Krakowski knows exactly what she is doing on that stage when she belts out notes, dances and lands in the splits, letting her character development shine through all the while. The role is executed with the exactness that Broadway demands.

And Ritter’s lover, Steven Kodaly, played by Gavin Creel, is played no less confidently. In fact, Creel struts around the stage with such a swagger, seeing him lounging and smiling in an after-performance interview came as a shock. And while the character has too big an ego to ever joke about himself, Creel plays the part so aware of this that even his most devious actions are comical.

Finally, the underdog of the musical, and one of my favorite characters, is Arpad Laszlo, portrayed by Nicholas Barasch. While this plucky delivery boy remains innocent without much character development, Barasch plays the naïvety and longing for adult responsibility well. In an unusual turn of events for Broadway, a 17-year-old was cast as a 17-year-old character, which was the right decision in this case. While Barasch was technically eighteen when the musical was filmed, he still retained a young and innocent enough face for the role but had a contrasting voice.

And although he is no crooner, Barasch is able to sing any note coupled with a beautiful vibrato. This, paired with his youthful and excitable expressions, makes this character a favorite.

And although the actors leave the audience wonderstruck, a word should be said for the crew of this production. What won the Tony for this revival was the set, which is deserving. The perfumery—designed by David Rockwell—is an actual building within the theatre that the actors may sit on the front stoop of and lean on, but it also opens entirely to reveal the inside of the shop.

And the costumes, which were designed by Jeff Mahshie, matched the sets aesthetically and stayed true to the styles of the 1930s while keeping a touch of modern flare and color.

Whether you’re a design lover, a fashionista, history buff, or a Broadway fan, this musical has something for everyone. So if you’re looking for something to watch on your next Tinder date, you can still snuggle up to a streaming of this romantic comedy on pbs.org.