GREAT PERFORMANCES: SHE LOVES ME (TV)

Summary

One in this series of dramatic arts programs. This television adaptation of the 1963 Broadway musical begins in 1930s Budapest as the employees of Maraczek's Parfumerie arrive for work and greet each other a "Good Morning, Good Day" and gossip about the love affair between Ilona Ritter and sales associate Steven Kodaly. Mr. Maraczek arrives and the store opens to a busy day, accompanied by the "Sounds While Selling." Manager Georg Nowack tells his friend Sipos that he has received another letter from his "dear friend," with whom he has had a long correspondence and whom he soon intends to meet in person. Mr. Maraczek comments that Georg should settle down and get married, and then bets him that they will not sell an unusual music box newly arrived in stock. Just then, a young woman named Amalia Balash arrives seeking a position, and though Georg and Maraczek firmly refuse her, she insists that she is a good salesgirl. She persuades a patron to buy a music box, claiming it is for chocolates and its tune will remind her to eat "No More Candy," and Maraczek is convinced and hires her. As months past, Georg writes "Three Letters" to his Dear Friend, whom he does not know to be Amalia, and Ilona and Kodaly continue their affair. Georg and Amalia frequently argue at work, though Maraczek and young delivery boy Arpad believe they may have feelings for each other underneath.

Finally, in the winter, a harassed Maraczek scolds Georg for a mistake, and he confesses to Sipos that he is nervous because he is finally meeting Dear Friend "Tonight at Eight." At the same time, Amalia tells Ilona about meeting her longtime friend, claiming that she knows him very well through his letters, though admitting that "I Don't Know His Name." Maraczek and Georg continue bickering, though Sipos intervenes and offers some "Perspective," reminding him of the importance of keeping one's job. Ilona grows annoyed as Kodaly flirts with other women, and on Maraczek's order, Georg informs the staff that they must stay late to put up Christmas decorations. Amalia protests that she has a previous engagement, and the two descend into their usual arguing. Maraczek antagonizes Georg again, and he finally quits in anger and leaves. The remaining associates decorate the shop, and though Ilona is angry at Kodaly's inattention, he manages to woo her once again by singing the praises of his "Ilona." When Maraczek releases them at 9:30, however, Kodaly realizes that he can still make a date with another woman and cancels on Ilona, who angrily declares that "I Resolve" never to fall for his tricks again. Amalia anxiously prepares for her date and wonders "Will He Like Me?", and Georg, also nervous, engages Sipos' help and asks him to deliver a letter to Dear Friend saying that he has been "called away" and cannot meet her.

At the same time, Maraczek's private investigator reveals that Mrs. Maraczek is having an affair with one of the shop employees: Kodaly. When his wife calls to say she will be "out late," a despairing Maraczek attempts to shoot himself, but Arpad stops him. At the restaurant, the haughty head waiter maintains a "Romantic Atmosphere," and Georg and Sipos arrive. They are both stunned to realize that Amalia is in fact Dear Friend, and when Georg approaches, she asks "Mr. Nowack, Will You Please?" leave her alone, saying she is waiting for someone. He refuses to go, however, asking questions about her date, and she finally declares that he is a "smug, pompous, petty tyrant." After he leaves, she frets that her "Dear Friend" has stood her up. The next day, Arpad visits Maraczek in the hospital, explaining that he has handled everything in his absence and hinting that he wants a promotion, asking his boss to "Try Me." Georg arrives, and Maraczek asks his forgiveness, explaining that he thought that he, Georg, was the one having the affair with his wife. He invites him to take over the shop, adding that Amalia is out for the day and that Kodaly is to be fired. Georg visits Amalia, and she thinks that he is checking up on her claim of illness and vows to go into the shop, demanding "Where's My Shoe?" as she dresses, but he presents her with a dessert as a peace offering and they make up. He claims to have met the aged, balding Dear Friend outside the restaurant, but she declares that she cares only about his personality. Georg urges her to write to him, but when she attempts to compose a letter, all she can think of is Georg's kind gesture of "Vanilla Ice Cream." At the same time, Georg is elated to realize that "She Loves Me," and that he returns her feelings.

At work, Georg takes over as boss and fires Kodaly. Ilona tells Sipos all about meeting a lovable bookworm, Paul, during "A Trip to the Library," and Sipos then reveals that he sent the anonymous letter to Maraczek explaining about his wife's affair, though admits that he should have been more specific. Arpad is promoted to sales assistant, and Kodaly bids them all goodbye, saying it was "Grand Knowing You" as he vows to destroy the store by purchasing a rival business. With "Twelve Days to Christmas," shoppers fill the store and the parfumerie is very busy, though Georg and Amalia spend time together when they can. Finally, on Christmas Eve, Amalia plans to finally meet Dear Friend in person. She invites Georg to come along to "help," as she believes that he met the man. Ilona leaves to meet Paul, Sipos heads home and Maraczek invites Arpad to an upscale restaurant. As Amalia and Georg leave, he mentions the musical "chocolate" box and recalls their first meeting, acknowledging his initial attraction to her, which she says that she shared. He then reads a passage from one of her Dear Friend letters, and they embrace as she finally realizes who he truly is in the "Finale." Commercials deleted.

Following the program is a brief interview with lyricist Sheldon Harnick, composer Jerry Bock and Broadway star Barbara Cook, who originated the role of Amalia Barrish. Interviewer Craig Zadan leads a discussion touching upon such topics as: their inspiration from Hungarian culture and "shape" of the show, Cook's long audition process, librettist Joe Masteroff's inexperience with writing musicals, and Bock's Pulitzer Prize for his 1959 musical "Fiorello!"

Details

  • NETWORK: PBS WNET New York, NY
  • DATE: December 19, 1979 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:57:58
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 100837
  • GENRE: Musical theater
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Musical theater
  • SERIES RUN:
  • COMMERCIALS: TV - Commercials - Exxon Corporation

CREDITS

    • Jac Venza … Executive Producer
    • Ann Blumenthal … Coordinating Producer
    • Terry Hughes … Producer
    • Harold Prince … Produced on Broadway by
    • Michael Simpson … Director
    • Miklos Laszlo … Based on the play by
    • Jerry Bock … Music by
    • Sheldon Harnick … Lyrics
    • Joe Masteroff … Librettist
    • Tudor Davies … Choreographer
    • Craig Zadan … Interviewer
    • Barbara Cook … Guest
    • Robin Ellis … Cast, Georg
    • Gemma Craven … Cast, Amalia
    • Peter Sallis … Cast, Sipos
    • David Kernan … Cast, Kodaly
    • Diane Langton … Cast, Miss Ritter
    • Derek Smith … Cast, Mr. Maraczek
    • Aubrey Woods … Cast, Head Waiter
    • Nigel Rathbone … Cast, Arpad
    • Pamela Cundell … Cast, Baroness
    • Colin Starkey … Cast, Mr. Keller
    • Jane Egan … Cast
    • Lucy Fenwick … Cast
    • Christina Matthews … Cast
    • Gill Offord … Cast
    • Gay Rose … Cast
    • June Shand … Cast
    • Buster Skeggs … Cast
    • Sue Wallace … Cast
    • Liz Whiting … Cast
    • Colin Bennett … Cast
    • Michael Heath … Cast
    • Anthony McEvoy … Cast
    • Ray Sumby … Cast