• It’s Magic: Designing Costumes for "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon"

    by 
    Tania Thompson
     | Jan 27, 2020
    Mountain Meets the Moon Costume Renderings
    Costume design renderings by Anthony Tran for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.
    Goldfish costume rendering
    ​​Goldfish costume rendering by Anthony Tran.
    Green Tiger costume rendering
    ​Green Tiger costume rendering by Anthony Tran.

    Costume designer Anthony Tran is breathing life into some 30 costumes that the seven actors in Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Feb. 7-23, 2020) will wear to help tell the story. The musical, adapted from Grace Lin’s award-winning 2009 book by the same name, follows young Minli, who sets out on a big and magical adventure to help her village find prosperity and health again. During her journey, she draws strength from the folktales that her father (Ba) told her, as she encounters many strange and wonderful creatures along the way—including a dragon and a green tiger.

    Tran is a Los Angeles-based designer for stage, film and television. His recent credits include “Teen Beach 2” (Disney) and “Star Trek: Picard” (CBS All Access). We caught up with him during rehearsals for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.

    What inspired you to get into costume designing?
    As a kid, I drew all the time. I would watch movies and draw my own versions of the characters. When I discovered that costume design could be a profession, it clicked that I had unintentionally been preparing to be a costume designer since I was a little kid!

    What’s your favorite part of the job?
    My favorite thing about being a costume designer is that it is a combination of many things I enjoy—art, design, history, research and storytelling. I am always learning something new and enjoy collaborating with other artists. There's never a dull moment.

    What interested you most about Where the Mountain Meets the Moon?
    What intrigued me about the show is that it's the quintessential hero's journey, only our protagonist (Minli) isn't the traditional trope. The scope of the story is epic and I was excited to take on the challenge of designing the costumes for the various creatures Minli encounters.

    How do you develop both the designs and color palettes for the costumes?
    Our director Jennifer [Chang] and I both agreed that we didn't want the look of the costumes to feel too traditional. Rather, we wanted to blend different aesthetics to create an east meets west feel. For example, Minli wears her traditional qipao top with contemporary graphic overalls. Because Minli travels to many different places, I wanted to create distinct cultures for each location that are reflected in what the characters wear.

    We start in Fruitless Mountain, where the villagers toil away, so I kept the color palette in sunset tones a la an arid desert. When Minli arrives in the City of Bright Moonlight, there is a metropolitan feeling and all the fabrics are rich brocades (pseudo-inspired by The Wizard of Oz). For Moon Rain Village, all of their clothes are patchwork to reflect the tight, small-town nature of the community.

    Tell me about designing costumes for the creatures that Minli meets along her journey.
    The fantastical creatures Minli encounters also follow that same mixing of references and aesthetics. Dragon's look was inspired by costumes worn in Beijing Opera, mixed in with a 2016 Dsquared² runway collection that was filled with these interesting tattoo shirts. Goldfish's dress is traditional Chinese Hanfu, but we added clear plastic bubbles (a la Lady Gaga's bubble dress!) to simulate sea foam. Tiger wears traditional Chinese set and Tang dynasty-era head and also wears his Liberace-meets-stuffed-animal fur coat. The idea was to mix traditional garb with modern taste, keeping things elegant and playful at the same time.

    What type of fabrics and textures do you favor for this show?
    I keep a pretty open mind when it comes to materials. Fruitless Mountain is full of solid colors of cottons and linens. The City of Bright Moonlight is mostly brocades. Moon River Village is mostly cotton prints. We're getting really crafty with all the creatures’ costumes and using everything from foam to newspaper to old Christmas ornaments.

    What is the life journey of a costume—from design, to build to performance—how does it come together?
    The journey from design to finished product involves the work of so many skilled people. I start by making renderings of my designs. Then, it takes a village to turn that into reality. We source clothing, fabrics and supplies from all over the world (thanks to the magic of the internet). And SCR has so many skilled artisans in the Costume Shop who help realize everything. We hone things in during fittings with the actors and they breathe new life into it over the course of technical and dress rehearsals. Sometimes things work exactly as envisioned and sometimes we adjust. It's a very collaborative process that's ever evolving.

    Do you have a favorite folktale or fairy tale from childhood—and why do you think it appealed to you?
    I have so many, but Cinderella stands out. I'd seen the classic Disney version and then my parents showed me a video of a Vietnamese version. The fantasy and drama are fun and exciting for a kid, but they also exposed me to the universality of storytelling. There's a version of the Cinderella tale in so many different cultures. That really is the beautiful thing about stories: they tie us all together.

    Learn more about Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and buy tickets.

  • A Conversation with Alex Jaeger, Costume Designer of “She Loves Me”

    by 
    Beth Fhaner
     | Jan 24, 2020
    Alex Jaeger and Costume Renderings
    Costume designer Alex Jaeger and some of his renderings for She Loves Me.

    For the nostalgic Broadway musical, She Loves Me, costume designer Alex Jaeger had to define the look of 1930s Europe, style-wise, for the characters’ wardrobes. The Los Angeles-based designer admits that this project required him to create a hybrid of what people actually were wearing in the ’30s, combined with the glamorous escapism that was being produced by the entertainment industry at the time. She Loves Me—with its charming characters and beautiful music—was a world that Jaeger enjoyed living in while he worked on the play’s sartorial splendor.

    After graduating from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Jaeger earned an MFA in costume design at University of California, Los Angeles. His background includes working in the performing arts and film, where he’s contributed his artistry to more than 100 productions. Learn more about Jaeger in this Q&A including his process of creating the ​chic fashions for She Loves Me.


    Georg Costume Rendering
    Georg costume design by Alex Jaeger.
    Ilona Costume Rendering
    ​Ilona costume design by Alex Jaeger.

    What was your design inspiration for She Loves Me?

    Well, She Loves Me is such a perfectly constructed musical with a lovely score. The idea was just to support that. Make it pretty and romantic and not try to reinvent the wheel. No need to fix something that isn’t broken.

    Since the play is set in Europe in the 1930s, what kind of research did you need to do regarding the fashion during that time?

    The ’30s were an interesting time, style-wise. There were so many things happening globally with war, economic struggles and politics.

    America was experiencing the Great Depression. Europe was also experiencing economic challenges and the rise of Hitler. In response, filmmakers and theater creatives were producing the most glamorous escapism imaginable. Think Busby Berkeley, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, etc. Researching the period is tricky, because of the divide between the reality of what most people were wearing and the glamour that was created by the entertainment industry. Even though this musical was created at a later date, it really evokes that time. What I’m trying to do with my designs is create a hybrid that will appear “real” while providing high style and glamour that is appropriate to this jewel box of a play.

    What’s the best part—and the biggest challenges—about working on costumes for this show?

    The play is so rich. It’s fun to live in the world with these characters and this beautiful music. The styles are very chic and a musical by its very nature gives you license to push the envelope with color, line and character. I think that the biggest challenge is creating a cohesive look by combining pieces that we can build with rentals and modern purchases. A lot of the available costumes from this period are “dust bowl” and not at all what I want for this show.

    What initially piqued your interest about She Loves Me and made you want to be involved with this production?

    I have always loved this musical. It’s charming and romantic without being sappy. I’ve never designed it before, so that was a plus. Also, [SCR Artistic Director] David Ivers is one of my favorite directors, as well as one of my favorite people. He always puts together amazing casts and design teams, so it was a no-brainer to say “yes” to this production. The cherry on top is that SCR is producing. I’ve done many shows here and am happy to be back with all the fantastic artists behind the scenes who support me and bring my designs to life on the stage.

    Tell us about your background. What do you enjoy most about being a costume designer?

    It’s a bit of a journey. I grew up in a family involved in the high fashion industry. As with most children, I wanted nothing to do with it. I studied performance. Acting, singing and dance. That wasn’t the best choice for me. I finally realized that I could combine my love of theatre with my inborn knowledge of design. I went back to school and got a degree in costume design. It was the best decision I ever made. I love my work. The thing I enjoy most is that every day brings a different challenge, new people and unexpected opportunities for creativity.

    What advice do you have for someone interested in a career as a costume designer?

    I think that most people have the impression that costume design is mostly shopping at fancy stores and going to red carpet events. My advice is that you have to need a passion for costume design. You have to love history and people and characters. It’s not about making pretty dresses. It’s about telling a story. If it speaks to your soul, it’s right. If you’re not afraid of long hours and hard work, it’s right.

    What are some of your favorite productions that you’ve designed costumes for?

    Wow—that’s a tough question. One of the things I love best about my job is that I get to do all different sorts of things. It is equally rewarding to create an exquisitely beautiful gown as it is to design rags that tell the history and experience of the character. That said, for me, it’s more about the total experience and collaboration with the actors, director and other designers. With those parameters, I'd say that Arcadia by Tom Stoppard; Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play; and Grey Gardens are at the top of my list.

    What’s next for you?

    Designers in this country need to work on many productions at once to make a living, so there are many! I am currently designing a production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing in Cleveland that will tour to Boise, Idaho, and Lake Tahoe, Calif.; a production of The Wedding Singer in Seattle; and a play with music about Rosemary Clooney called Tenderly in Santa Barbara, Calif. You can follow my work on my website: alexjaegerdesign.com

    Learn more about She Loves Me and buy tickets.

  • The Sweet Subtlety of an Enduring Classic

    by 
    Andy Knight
     | Jan 21, 2020
    The Cast of She Loves Me
    Marlene Martinez (Ilona Ritter), Brian Vaughn (Georg Nowack), Erin Mackey (Amalia Balash) and Sam Ludwig (Steven Kodaly) from She Loves Me.

    In 1930s Europe—in a city reminiscent of Budapest, Hungary—Maraczek’s Parfumerie sells all the finest scents, creams and beauty accoutrements. Business is steady but slow, although Mr. Maraczek, the owner, hopes things will pick up now that the nearby department store, Hammerschmidt’s, has closed. Georg Nowack, the manager, hopes so, too; perhaps then they can hire another salesperson for the floor. The rest of the staff at Maraczek’s includes Ladislov Sipos, middle-aged and married; Arpad Laszlo, the young delivery boy who hopes to do something more; Ilona Ritter, who looks for love in all the wrong places; and Steven Kodaly, a dashing lothario with whom Ilona is having a secret affair.

    But Ilona and Kodaly aren’t the only employees at Maraczek’s with a secret romance. Georg has been exchanging letters for weeks with his “Dear Friend,” a woman who responded to his personal ad in the paper. Their connection is undeniable and they have much in common. However, they’ve never met in person, nor do they know each other’s names or professions. Georg worries that when they do meet, Dear Friend will no longer be interested.

    Georg’s personal insecurities temporarily recede, however, when his professional life starts to unravel. That unraveling coincides with the arrival of Amalia Balash, the new sales clerk hired by Maraczek. From the moment Amalia enters the shop, she and Georg can’t stand each other. To make matters worse, Maraczek has become particularly ornery as of late and seems to direct all of his anger at Georg. The change in Maraczek is a mystery to Georg, and he’s not quite sure what he’s done to deserve such ire.

    What neither Georg nor Amalia know is that they are each other’s Dear Friend and have—unknowingly—been exchanging letters for months.

    Finally, in early December, the two pen pals decide to meet. Both Amalia and Georg arrive at work the morning of their date nervous and excited to finally meet their Dear Friend—and still completely unaware that they have, in fact, already met. But as the workday progresses, things take a surprising turn. In the heat of an argument with Maraczek, Georg quits his job and then picks one last fight with Amalia before storming out.

    That evening, Amalia waits at a restaurant—with a single rose and a copy of Anna Karenina, so Dear Friend will recognize her. Georg arrives with Sipos, whom he’s asked to pass along his regrets to his mystery date; after the day he’s had, Georg doesn’t feel equipped to meet the woman of his dreams. But then, Georg and Sipos see Amalia and realize just who Georg has been writing to. Suddenly, everything changes for Georg. And it’s only a matter of time before it will for Amalia, too.

    Miklos Laszlo
    Miklós László in 1937​. Passport used by permission of his Estate.
    She Loves Me on Broadway in 1963
    Daniel Massey ​and Barbara Cook In ​the 1963 Broadway musical ​She Loves Me.
    She Loves Me on Broadway 2016
    Gavin Creel and Jane Krakowski in the 2016 Broadway revival of She Loves Me. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus.

    She Loves Me, which is based on a 1937 play by Hungarian playwright Miklós László, has a score by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Together, Bock and Harnick collaborated on some of the 20th century’s greatest musicals, including Fiorello!, which won both the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize; Fiddler on the Roof, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical; and The Apple Tree. She Loves Me’s book was written by Joe Masteroff, best known for his work on the musical Cabaret. The original production, which opened on Broadway in 1963, was directed by legendary director-producer Hal Prince.

    Although the original production wasn’t a commercial success—it ran for only 301 performances and failed to recoup its investment—it was a favorite among critics. “She Loves Me has probably gotten the best reviews of any show I’ve ever written,” Joe Masteroff said in a 2016 interview. “Reviews constantly would come in from all over the country from distinguished critics [saying], ‘This is the best musical I’ve ever seen.’”

    It’s no surprise, then, that the musical has endured. In the same interview, Sheldon Harnick noted that “little by little, [the musical] established itself as a cult show,” with productions around the country. Since then, She Loves Me has had two successful Broadway revivals, in 1993 and in 2016.

    There is, after all, something undeniably charming and romantic about She Loves Me. It tells a story of ordinary people and everyday love—but it feels exceptional. The book, both funny and unexpectedly moving, seamlessly glides into songs that simultaneously delight and endear. Take “Dear Friend,” Amalia’s solo that ends the first act. What begins as a somewhat amusing song about finding herself stood up by a blind date subtly transforms into a heartbreaking expression of vulnerability and tenacious hope. It lacks the flash of a typical act one finale, which encapsulates She Loves Me perfectly: unpretentious, yet emotionally full.

    “The score is complex and stunning and it adds so much to the plot in how it moves the narrative and characters forward. It’s extraordinarily exciting, musically,” says David Ivers, who makes his SCR directorial debut since being named the company's artistic director. But Ivers—a self-professed romantic—adds that “the more I dug into it, the more I found that there’s so much book work that grounds the musical.”

    For SCR’s production, Ivers has assembled a top-notch team of designers to bring the world of She Loves Me to life, a world Ivers calls “incredibly beautiful and highly detailed.” The set is designed by a new face to SCR, Jo Winiarski, while the rest of the design team, Alex Jaeger (costumes), Jaymi Lee Smith (lighting) and Jeff Polunas (sound), are all SCR veterans. The creative team is rounded out by music director Gregg Coffin, who returns to the theatre after music directing One Man, Two Guvnors in 2015 (also directed by Ivers), and choreographer Jaclyn Miller, who makes her SCR debut.

    The cast of sixteen is led by Erin Mackey, who appeared in SCR’s 2014 production of The Light in the Piazza, as Amalia; Brian Vaughn, in his SCR debut, as Georg; Marlene Martinez as Ilona; and Sam Ludwig as Kodaly. Read more about the cast here! She Loves Me runs Jan. 25-Feb. 22, 2020, on the Segerstrom Stage.

    Learn more and buy tickets to She Loves Me.

  • Taking an Acting Class Leads to Exceptional Life Experience

    by 
    Art Brueggeman
     | Jan 13, 2020
    Art Brueggeman and Daniel Reichert
    Art Brueggeman, left, working with actor Daniel Reichert during an Acting Intensive Program summer class.

    Art Brueggeman is retired. He started taking acting classes in SCR's Theatre Conservatory in 2019. We asked him to share with us some of his experiences.

    “What on earth prompted you to do that?”
    “Did you ever do any acting before, like in high school or college?”
    “Man…you’re brave.”
    “I could never do that.”
    …that is what I heard from friends and family when I told them I signed up for acting classes.

    To which I said…

    1. On a complete lark.
    2. No, never.
    3. No, I’m not, unless the bar for brave is very low.
    4. You not only could. You should.

    I retired from a career in finance and accounting years ago. Although I thought my creative and art-appreciation side was alive, in retrospect I can see it was undernourished and underdeveloped. My left brain had basically dominated my life, though there is nothing inherently wrong with an over-developed left brain. I could have lived out my years, happy…and oblivious…to what I was missing. My outside interests, mostly reading and playing guitar (the latter which I also took up late in life), kept me entertained. My family and friends are a continuing joy. Yet, there was a longing that I couldn’t put my finger on. One thing I did know: I wasn’t done learning and growing.

    "How the Hell Do Actors Remember All Those Lines?"

    On a “lark” I signed up for Acting l at SCR in the fall of 2016—three hours every Tuesday evening for 8 weeks. I was anxious before walking into class, thinking that I might not be able to engage without embarrassing myself. I’m self-conscious. I like to be in control. Besides, how the hell do actors remember all those lines anyway? Finally, what am I going to do with “acting?”

    It turns out, a lot. But it isn’t what you might think.

    There is a dichotomy in people’s impression of the craft and skill of acting. Fear of doing it is rooted in the same rocky soil as the classic No. 1 fear—public speaking, which is, after all, performing in front of an audience. Subjecting oneself to being “judged.” Well, take public speaking up a few notches and you have acting. 

    Then I heard this: “But, as long as you’re not afraid of being the focus of attention and you remember your lines…the ‘acting’ part itself must be pretty easy, right?” Not.

    If it was easy, anyone could do it and it wouldn’t be any more remarkable than mastering walking upright. The only people who think acting is easy are those who don’t know how to do it. Acting is a craft. Developing the skills to appreciate and hone the craft is worthy of the same dedication and focus as any other. It is in the process, in the learning, where joy and fulfillment live.

    Exhilaration

    I walked out of that first class exhilarated. Whatever worries and concerns I had about the world situation and other things going on were at least temporarily pushed to the background. It was fun and eye-opening. The teacher was an enthusiastic, supportive and experienced actor. The class included students in their early 20s all the way up to retirees. Some had acting experience, mostly from high school and college, though quite a few had done community theatre as well. Very few were complete rookies like me. The evening flew by.

    In the ensuing months, I signed up for Acting II, Acting III and Improv, repeating each several times along the way. I treated my new endeavor as I would any other skill-building path. We focused at first on acting games ​and exercises and monologues, eventually moving to scene-study work, (i.e. acting with a fellow student as a scene partner, in character, from a selected play.) This required memorizing dialogue, outside-of-class rehearsing, presenting it in class and getting “notes” from the teacher (think: what to do differently), then doing it all again the next week. It became clear why the best definition of acting is: Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances.

    The Acting Intensive Program (AIP) ​two summers ago came next—7 weeks, six hours per day (plus outside work), under the direction of Matthew Arkin and numerous other experienced, working actors, directors and skill coaches. ​We worked on multiple scene studies, auditioning (under the direction of Joanne DeNaut, CSA, SCR’s casting director), acting for camera, voice and movement, and more. What a ride! The culmination of all the summer work was a full-on production of selected scenes from highly regarded plays, with invited friends and family in the audience, on the Julianne Argyros Stage.

    I enjoyed the AIP so much that I did it again last summer and benefitted from it even more the second time around.

    So, what did I get out of it? I spent seven weeks getting to know and work with delightful, high-energy human beings of all ages, most with significantly more acting training than I had. I grew and witnessed stunning growth in my classmates. I stepped outside myself and I’m the better for it. I sweated, but held my own, giving me a sense of accomplishment. My respect for the craft and skill of acting grew by magnitudes. It has informed and deepened my awareness of and appreciation for live theatre performances and film. If I want to, I can certainly audition for theatre anywhere, but I don’t feel compelled to do that for this to have been a rich and worthy life experience.

    There's an acting class for you in SCR's Theatre Conservatory​—any time of the year. Check out the upcoming class schedules for kids, teens and adults to learn more.

  • Meet the Cast: "She Loves Me"

    by 
    Tania Thompson
     | Jan 06, 2020
    The Cast of She Loves Me
    ​The cast of She Loves Me in SCR's Costume Shop.

    Sixteen actors—plus a small ensemble of musicians—bring to life the goings-on at Maraczek’s Parfumerie in She Loves Me (Jan. 25-Feb. 22, Segerstrom Stage)—the hit Broadway musical inspired by the story that brought us the hit film, You’ve Got Mail. SCR veterans (from The Light in the Piazza, Shakespeare in Love, American Mariachi, The Fantasticks, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and others) and newcomers are included in the casting mix for this romantic musical that brims with romance, charm, comedy and joy. Read on to meet the cast. ​

    Abilez,-RickyRicky Abilez

    I portray Arpad Laszlo.
    My SCR credits include Shakespeare in Love, The Velveteen Rabbit and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
    My other credits include Frederick!, In the Heights, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, The Secret in the Wings, Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta, More Guns! and Mysterious Skin.
    I love the scent of lavender. It is a calming and uplifting scent and I use it in baths, laundry and linen sprays. My favorite cologne is Versace Pour Homme. It smells like all the qualities you could ever want in a man. Good job, Versace.
    My favorite romantic story is Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman, which happens to be both a book and a film. I don't think I could properly communicate my profound love for this story through words, but I'll try. It is a masterpiece. The book beautifully captures the experience of falling in love for the first time. Doesn't matter who you are or whom you love, people from all walks of life can relate to this story. The film is equally breathtaking. It captures the inner battles we encounter when navigating our own self-worth and acceptance. It dissects both the beauty and tragedy of love and it captures the true essence of romance. I think what I appreciate the most about this story is that even though it revolves around two men falling in love, it has nothing to do with their sexuality. Neither man ever says "I'm gay" and both men have had relationships with women. Sexuality doesn't dictate the narrative—it is the visceral human experience of falling in love with another person's soul. That, to me, is transcendent.
    My earliest childhood crush was David Archuleta. I swooned over him every week on “American Idol.” It was a combination of his genuine personality, his goofiness, his shy, awkward demeanor and his talent. Talent is very attractive to me and his voice is beautiful! I still adore him, though my crush has changed. Another story for another time!

    Coca,-AliciaAlicia Coca

    I portray several characters as a member of the ensemble.
    My SCR credits include American Mariachi.
    My other credits include Pippin, Heathers the Musical, American Mariachi and La Virgen de Guadalupe: Dios Inantzin.
    I love the scent of a rose. Yes, predictable and basic. Roses are also my favorite flower. Again, predictable and basic.
    My favorite romantic story is the book Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende. The love story in this novel is beautiful and dynamic. And most importantly, it comes as an afterthought to Eliza’s personal growth, discovery of her individuality, and strength as a woman. She unites with her true soulmate only after going on a journey completely alone.

    Henerson,-MatthewMatthew Henerson

    I portray Ladislav Sipos.
    My SCR credits include Shakespeare in Love and Hamlet.
    My other credits include Flashdance the Musical (national tour), 12 Angry Men, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Cabaret, “Hung,” “The Fosters,” “One Day at a Time” and theatre performances include the Ahmanson Theatre, A Noise Within, La Jolla Playhouse, West Virginia Public Theatre and the Arizona, Colorado, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Utah Shakespeare festivals.
    I love the scent of fenugreek! Not long after our daughter was born, my wife began taking this supplement; it's an herb and anecdotal evidence (and some studies) suggests that it's good for a lot of different things. And, for as long as she took the stuff, her hair smelled of maple. Not the sweet of maple syrup; maybe closer to the scent of the sap, before any sugar is added. To this day, my wife's hair still smells faintly of maple! We've been married 29 years in June, and our daughter turned 20 in October, and that faint maple smell remains. The scent which evokes my two favorite people is, naturally, my favorite scent.
    My favorite romantic story is the one I return to time and again is Talley's Folly, a two-person play by Lanford Wilson. The story is about Matt Friedman, a middle-aged German-Jewish immigrant, who woos and wins Sally Talley, the intelligent but despised daughter of a prominent Midwestern (Protestant) family. No great psychological penetration required here: I'm Jewish myself and—professionally, at least—I was never young. I was too old to play Romeo before I started shaving. The character of Matt Friedman on the other hand... Then, too, I prefer my romances comical (rather than tragic, historical or pastoral). I like to see love rewarded in this life so, for me, Emma and Mr. Knightly over Catherine and Heathcliff eight days a week!

    Holzer,-BrandenBranden Holzer

    I portray several characters as a member of the ensemble.
    This is my SCR debut!
    My other credits include Hairspray the Musical, and LA’s Next Great Stage Star 2018.
    I love the scent of fresh-cut citrus.
    My favorite romantic story is The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.


    Kim,-JonathanJonathan Kim

    I portray the Busboy.
    This is my SCR debut!
    My other credits include dancing in The Corps Dance Crew, as well as La Cage Aux Folles, Beijing Spring, The Red Car Trolley News Boys and Stiles and Drewe’s Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
    I love the scent of a bowling alley! I know, I know! But it is the one smell that can and will, without a doubt, immediately make me feel nostalgic.
    My favorite romantic story is the relationship between Elend Venture and Vin in the Mistborn book series. Read the books!

    Knight,-RobertRobert E. Knight

    I portray several characters as a member of the ensemble.
    My SCR credits include Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
    My other credits include
    Big River, Parade, and Urinetown.
    I love the scent of
    the smell of fresh garlic and onions being sautéed into whatever delicious food you are cooking.
    My favorite romantic story is, weirdly, the movieLove Don’t Cost a Thing, with Nick Cannon and Christina Milian. It’s a little random, but I love it because it shows no matter how flashy or rich you are, what matters the most is how you treat one another and take the time to show each other who you really are inside.

    Ludwig,-SamSam Ludwig

    I portray Steven Kodaly.
    This is my SCR debut!
    My other credits include How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, On the Town, Avenue Q, Big River, 1776, A Little Night Music, Jesus Christ Superstar, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Proof and Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.
    I love the scent of honeysuckle (cliché, I know!).
    My favorite romantic story is the film Before Sunrise, with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. I love the other two movies in the Before trilogy, but the first one is the most romantic.

    Mackey,-ErinErin Mackey

    I portray Amalia Balash.
    My SCR credits include The Light in the Piazza.
    My other credits include In Transit, Amazing Grace, Chaplin, Anything Goes, Sondheim on Sondheim and Wicked (all on Broadway), as well as South Pacific, Sunday in the Park with George, “Blue Bloods” and “Gossip Girl.”
    I love the scent of being out hiking in nature—that’s my happy place. I love the smell of pine trees and dirt, especially in upstate New York, where you’ll find some of my favorite spots.
    My favorite romantic story is Pride and Prejudice. I could read it over and over again—and I have. It’s a classic. Plus, that BBC miniseries version with Colin Firth—swoon!
    My first childhood celebrity crush was
    Michael Vartan. I watched him on TV in “Alias” and in the film, Never Been Kissed. I thought he was so dreamy.

    Martinez,-MarleneMarlene Martinez

    I portray Ilona Ritter.
    My SCR credits include Mr. Popper’s Penguins and the Pacific Playwrights Festival concert-reading of the musical, Prelude to a Kiss.
    My other credits include Native Gardens, Mamma Mia! (national tour) and West Side Story, as well as concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Broad Stage and the Hollywood Bowl.
    I love the scent of brownies baking. I have a weakness for all things sweet—especially chocolate.
    My favorite romantic story is The Princess Bride. It has all the quintessential love story elements; love at first sight, damsel in distress, a happily ever after. I try to use this film as a model for my marriage. Mainly, when Westley was her farmhand and the only words he said to her were “As you wish.”
    My childhood crush was Jonathan Taylor Thomas from “Home Improvement”. I even wrote to him once from one of those teenybopper magazines. I can’t say he ever received my letter, so our love was never fully realized. But I did see his name recently on a SAG [Screen Actors Guild] ballot. Needless to say, he got my vote!

    Montes,-MarleneMarlene Montes

    I portray several characters as a member of the ensemble.
    My SCR credits include American Mariachi.
    My other credits include In the Heights, American Mariachi, Legally Blonde the Musical, Gypsy, Cabaret, South Pacific, Tommy, Miss Saigon and The 1940’s Radio Hour.
    I love the clean scents of an ocean breeze and fresh linen. There's something so peaceful and satisfying when you take a deep breath in at the beach or crawl into bed in your newly washed sheets.
    My favorite romantic story is one that is rooted in truth and not fantasy. That is why When Harry Met Sally comes to mind. They spend years building a solid foundation on a friendship. As an audience member, you can see the chemistry and want them to get together. When they finally do, it's so gratifying! That's how I feel when Amalia and George finally figure out what we did from the very beginning in She Loves Me!
    My childhood crush was Fred Savage, who played Kevin Arnold in the TV show “The Wonder Years.” He was a sweet, funny, clean-cut boy and I thought he was so adorable! To be honest, I think that he left such an impression on me that if you asked me my “type” now, he'd probably look like Fred Savage plus 30-40 years. Haha!

    North,-GregoryGregory North

    I portray Mr. Maraczek.
    My SCR credits include The Fantasticks.
    My other credits include Into the Woods, The Secret Garden, A Christmas Carol and Grand Hotel (all on Broadway), Grumpy Old Men, Phantom of the Opera, Showboat, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Rock of Ages, 12 Angry Men, Ragtime, The Sound of Music, King Charles III, Comedy of Tenors, Pride & Prejudice and Sting’s The Last Ship.
    I love the scent of fresh ground coffee! That’s followed in a close second place by the ozone smell of fresh air after a rain.
    My favorite romantic story is the movie Same Time, Next Year based on the play by Bernard Slade. It came at a time when it made a huge impact and had two of my favorite actors—Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn. One of my favorite movies of all time is The Natural, which has at least two kinds of romance central to the story: the romance between a man and a woman and the romance of a man with baseball.

    Scheie,-DannyDanny Scheie

    I portray the Head Waiter.
    My SCR credits include SHREW!; The Monster Builder; One Man, Two Guvnors; The Wind in the Willows; and You, Nero.
    My other credits include The Music Man, Richard III and Tartuffe, as well as performances at regional theatre companies including Pasadena Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Folger Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre and others.
    I love the scent of Mary Scheie’s cinnamon rolls. There’s nothing special to them, probably, other than cinnamon and gluten!
    My favorite romantic story is Brideshead Revisited.
    My childhood crush was Mark Lester.

    Stiles,-DannyDanny Stiles

    I portray Keller.
    This is my SCR debut!
    My other credits include Wonderland, Sister Act and Leap of Faith (all on Broadway), The Full Monty, The Rocky Horror Show, Spamalot, Hairspray, Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular, the Emmy Awards and the 2002 Winter Olympics.
    I love the scent of freshly laundered clothes—Gain, Downy, Fabuloso, whatever. When I open the dryer, and that warm air wafts into my face, I get both a sense of accomplishment and joy. It’s also lovely to greet someone with a hug and smell that April freshness as you pull away. Always makes me want to go in for a second hug.
    My favorite romantic story is the film The Remains of the Day. I remember the impact it had when Emma Thompson’s character decided to leave her post and live her life. She had also fallen in love with Anthony Hopkins’ character and invited him to leave his post and run away with her. They had both become so close, and were obviously in love, but he decided to remain and work as a butler. I was so devastated for both of them. True love was right at their fingertips, and was so obvious, yet, you can’t convince someone to be in love with you. He lost her to his job. Idiot.
    My childhood crush was an adorable girl named Joanne. I think I was four years old. We met at the drinking fountain because I was obsessed with drinking fountains. She had the most beautiful dark chocolate skin, perfect braids and really cute clothes. Somewhere, there are still pictures of us holding hands.

    Tang,-KatyKaty Tang

    I portray several characters as a member of the ensemble.
    My SCR credits include Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
    My other credits include Candide, A Little Night Music, West Side Story, Spring Awakening, Le Nozze di Figaro, Werther and Orphée et Eurydice.
    I love the scent of vetiver oil. It's a very earthy fragrance, and definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but I LOVE it!
    My favorite romantic story is the opera Eugene Onegin, from the story by Alexander Pushkin, with music by Tchaikovsky. It's by no means a story with a happy fairytale ending, but maybe it's the journey through heartbreak and heartache within the unrequited love that appeals to me. It's transformative, and there is always great romance to be found within love that changes you.

    Tucrkile,-DekonteeDekontee Tucrkile

    I portray several characters as a member of the ensemble.
    This is my SCR debut!
    My other credits include Mamma Mia, Invisible: A New Musical, The Music Man and the film Friends with Awkwardness.
    I love the scent of Disneyland at Christmastime—especially Main Street! I think it’s the scent of gingerbread. I also love the fragrance Daisy by Marc Jacobs.
    My favorite romantic story is West Side Story. I don’t care what anyone says—I know it’s Romeo and Juliet, but the music and dancing are beautiful!
    My childhood crush was Nick Jonas. And he’s still my current crush!

    Vaughn,-BrianBrian Vaughn

    I portray Georg Nowack.
    This is my SCR debut!
    My other credits include Hamlet, Henry V, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Music Man, Guys and Dolls, Into the Woods, Camelot, Pirates of Penzance, The Producers and as a director, Shakespeare in Love and Peter and the Starcatcher.
    I love the scent of vanilla—and cue the song “Vanilla Ice Cream” from She Loves Me!
    My favorite romantic story is
    Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. Act 5 is the most beautiful moment in theatre. I’m also a sucker for When Harry Met Sally.


    The Musicians of She Loves Me

    • Tom Griep, conductor, keyboard
    • Alby Potts, keyboard (previously at SCR for The Light in the Piazza, Mr. Popper's Penguins, Ivy+Bean: The Musical)
    • Robert Peterson, violin
    • Elizabeth Brown, cello
    • Jay Mason, reeds
    • Dustin McKinney, trumpet (previously at SCR for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)
    • Louis Allee, percussion (previously at SCR for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)
    • Tim Christensen, bass (previously at SCR for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)

    Learn more about She Loves Me and buy tickets.