Written by Alina Mae Wilson
Welcome to the original “You’ve Got Mail.” Oddly enough, I had no idea going into this show that is what it is, but there you have it: You’ve Got Mail is set in Hungary in the 1930s. And infinitely worthy of so much more recognition than that–this is one of the classier and more enjoyable romantic shows I have seen in years. However, I am confident this can be attributed more to the songs’ peppiness than to the script’s originality.
It is a beautiful, no glorious, no radiant day in 1930s Hungary when the show opens. We know this because the employees of Maraczek’s Parfumerie tell us so in the sunnily sung “Good Morning, Good Day.” Jerry Bock’s music and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick ensure that this number glows with charm rather than the relentless cheer that the lyrics might imply out of context. This is an accurate preview of what is to come in the rest of the evening. The songs are primarily cheerful. Even those intended to express sadness and anger have tinges of comedy that make this a real “feel good” story. Yet there is just enough interest in the question of the day, “when will they realize who their pen pals are?” that the audience is never bored. It should be noted that the song of the night is definitely “Romantic Atmosphere.” This number will have you bouncing in your seat.
The story’s central tension comes from the relationship with the shop owner rather than the lead’s relationships with each other. But that tension is given the proper attention that it deserves, so it does not feel like an inappropriate aside. Everything in this show fits together, and the story fulfills its mission without any severe bumps.
Date & Location :
November 28th – December 28th
The Chance Theatre in Anaheim
5522 E. La Palma Ave.
Anaheim Hills, CA 92807
Side note: I enjoyed the violinist Tina Nguyen. She sets the atmosphere for the entire play.
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