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Three times a year, the theater arts department puts script to stage – two musicals and a play – their first production of 2024 is a stab at the former: cult-classic, “She Loves Me.” Originally a 1937 play, “Parfumerie,” by Hungarian playwright Miklós László, its 1963 musical adaptation and 2016 musical revival (both on Broadway) have amassed a combined 13 Tony nominations and two wins. 

In its musical form, the anti-love story features composition by Jerry Bock and lyrics from Sheldon Harnick, the mastermind duo behind the music for “Fiddler on the Roof.” Its book was authored by “Cabaret” writer Joe Masteroff. As cast member and freshman math major William Burgess, alternatively, middle-aged Parfumerie employee Ladislav Sipos makes clear, “She Loves Me” is musical theater “at its finest.” 

“It’s a great book,” Burgess adds. “It’s a great score. It’s a great time.”

His quote is punctuated by a shriek. Full stop. 

It’s that rotten interruption – mouse darts greenroom, terrifying unsuspecting theater major – all too frequent at LPC. The theatrics are a given. 

Disgust subsides. We teleport: greenroom to rehearsal. 

The mind stirs suddenly on practice’s commencing. Actors mentally shapeshift black wood boxes to detailed set pieces. Wooden cubes become perfume counters — empty space becomes shampoo shipments and front doors. Students turn to 1930s shop employees. 

The practiced dialogue is so brisk, you’d think it possible to dance to. And they do. Bodies proceed like crazy sparks. Never has a learning environment felt so ignited. 

In the rehearsal room: (mice, likely) – teachers, stagehands, actors – a collage of hyper-individualized egos and wills, never clashing. Jubilation, in abundance, with a radiating reverence for the work. An outpour of words, spoken at impossible speed. Refined, understudy jealousy – only slightly and never obvious. Laughter, at times, at nothing in particular. It is a creative nucleus firestorm. 

One is forced to furnish full attention, half by artistic pull and half out of pure desire. 

And this is just practice. There’s still a month to go before the first show. 

“She Loves Me” debuts Friday, March 15 at 8 p.m. The six performances in total, spanning two weekends, conclude on Sunday, March 24, with a 2 p.m. finale. Students can purchase tickets on (located in the Performing Arts section of the Las-Po website). General admission is $20. Staff, seniors, and students pay $15. 

Given rehearsal’s preliminary exhilaration, the show’s success is near doubtless. 

It doesn’t hurt that the brilliant Dyan McBride is directing it. She’s an esteemed actor, director, and educator, mainly local to the bay. McBride has taught at UC Davis, the Academy of Art, San Jose State, and Solano Community College. 

“Going to the theater has always been a place where people can get together to think about and discuss complicated topics, or emotional topics – or anything that feels like it wants to explore the human experience,” said McBride. 

On her upcoming show: “You’re gonna get a great, quality production coming to see “She Loves Me.’ ”

And you will. March 15 through the 24. 

Olivia Fitts is the News Editor and Opinions Editor for The Express. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter @OLIVIAFITTS2.

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