JBU Students Produce Classic Musical “She Loves Me” Nov. 3-5

You may not know the story as “She Loves Me,” but millions of Americans fell in love with the story through the 1998 movie “You’ve Got Mail.” Based on a 1937 Hungarian play, “Perfumery,” the 1963 musical follows the romance of George and Amalia, who know each other at work but love each other as anonymous pen pals.

John Brown University presents “She Loves Me” November 3-5 at the Berry Performing Arts Center on the Siloam Springs campus. Director Liesl Dromi, Assistant Professor of Music at JBU, answered these five questions for What’s Up!

Q. Why this show? Why now?

A. “She Loves Me” might just be the perfect musical – timeless, charming, witty, touching and so well-written. It’s a wonderful show for an ensemble cast, brimming with great songs and dialogue for every character. But more than that, the main themes of “She Loves Me” are a timely message for our culture at this time: “She Loves Me” explores the destructive power of misconceptions, false assumptions and lies, the importance of empathy and how honesty and vulnerability is the only path to a healthy and loving relationship with others and with oneself. And it does it all in the most delightful musical comedy form, without ever being preachy or overbearing. You are simply taken on a wonderfully entertaining ride, at the end of which you realize you have learned something profound!

Q. Does JBU have music/drama majors? If so, how does this musical fit into their studies?

A. Yes! JBU offers four music degree programs – Performance, Music Education, Integrated Music Studies, and Worship Arts – and a strong Minor in Drama/Musical Theater that includes courses in acting, dance, directing and directing. on stage. Our productions are an integral part of the education of our students; they are involved in every aspect of every production, from cast and crew to pit orchestra and design work. Additionally, we attract students from across campus who get involved in our shows for elective credit or as a work/study opportunity or often just for fun, as volunteers! Our shows are always a community project with broad campus engagement.

Q. What were the biggest challenges and rewards of this show?

A. It’s always a challenge in a liberal arts college setting to carve out the time necessary to rehearse and adequately prepare a fully staged musical. Our students are pulled in many directions through their studies, campus ministries, and other extracurricular activities. But being involved in a big project like this also helps them learn a lot about time management, prioritizing responsibilities, accountability, and teamwork – all great life skills. The greatest reward is always to see students realize that they can indeed do the hard thing that seemed impossible: to see them develop their potential, own their talents and creative power, and support each other in the process. It’s such a beautiful picture of what life can be when we all commit to digging in, loving each other, respecting each other’s gifts and perspectives, and working towards a common goal. It always gives me hope for the future.

Q. What do you particularly like about music and want to share with students and the public?

A. Like many Golden Age musicals – and “She Loves Me” is one of the last from that period – it’s definitely an avant-garde musical spectacle. The score is very orchestral (even virtuoso) and the singers really manage to sing. Our Music Director Lisa Auten has led our students to a high level of musical creation and they are backed by an incredible orchestra, the core of which is made up of local professional musicians, many of whom perform with touring productions SoNA, TheatreSquared and WAC Broadway . . We are so privileged to have access to this quality at JBU!

Q. What’s next for JBU theatre/music?

A. We have two shows coming up in the spring: the commedia dell’arte classic “A Servant of Two Masters” (February 10-11, 16-18) and a Light Opera Showcase featuring scenes from operettas in English and in Spanish. (March 9-11).

The cast is rehearsing for the upcoming production of “She Loves Me,” onstage Nov. 3-5 at John Brown University in Siloam Springs. (Courtesy picture)

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