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Release: Nov. 24, 1999

School of Music presents musical hit 'She Loves Me' Dec. 10-12

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa School of Music will present "She Loves Me", called "a musical play with which everyone can fall in love" at its 1963 Broadway opening, with performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10 and 11, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, in Space/Place Theater of North Hall on the UI campus.

The production, featuring a cast of UI students, will be stage-directed by John Muriello, a member of the School of Music faculty. Musical direction of the performances will be provided by Matthew Castle, visiting coach-accompanist for the UI Opera Theater. Set and costume designs will be by Margaret Wenk and lighting design by Gary Holmquist.

A product of the team of Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick that struck gold in 1964 with "The Fiddler on the Roof," "She Loves Me" ran for more than 300 performances on Broadway.

The story -- about a young couple who quarrel constantly at work while they fall in love through anonymous letters -- is a familiar one. It has been used for no fewer than three high-profile movies: Ernst Lubitsch's "The Shop Around the Corner," starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan, in 1940; "In the Good Old Summertime," starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson in 1949; and most recently "You've Got Mail," starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in 1998.

All were based on the same original source as the musical, a modest comedy by Hungarian playwright Miklos Laszlo.

The show, which helped launch the Broadway career of singer Barbara Cook, earned rave reviews at its opening. "So charming, so deft, so light and so right that it makes all the other music-shows in the big Broadway shops look like clodhoppers," John Chapman wrote in the Daily News, and Norman Nadel wrote in the World Telegram and Sun, "'She Loves Me' is that rare theatrical jewel, an intimate musical that affectionately enfolds an audience instead of shouting it down."

In the musical version of the familiar story, the setting is a European city very much like Budapest. Georg is the manager of Maraczek's Parfumerie and Amalia is the sales clerk with whom he is constantly squabbling. It soon becomes apparent to the audience that they are anonymous pen pals. They agree to meet one night at the Cafe Imperiale, although neither knows the other's identity.

Georg realizes who Amalia is when he sees her waiting for him in the restaurant, but he doesn't let on, and the unhappy Amalia pours out her heart in a long letter to her unknown "Dear Friend." After she calls in sick, their relationship blossoms into love when Georg brings her ice cream. Eventually he reveals his identity by quoting from one of Amalia's letters.

The student cast will feature Ashley Stockwell and Joss Nichols as Amalia and Georg. Other major roles will be taken by Noemi de la Puente, Clark Sturdevant, James Haase, Jeff Bergey and Stephen Phelan.

A singer whose work ranges from opera and operetta to concert and musical theater, Muriello joined the UI School of Music faculty in the fall of 1997. His most recent engagements include performances as Captain Corcoran in "H.M.S. Pinafore" at Seaside Music Theatre. In the fall of 1998 he made his directing debut with the UI School of Music production of the musical comedy "The Fantasticks."

Muriello has performed operatic and musical theater roles with Opera Carolina, the Banff Centre in Canada, L'Opera Francais of New York, Skylight Opera Theater, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Ohio Light Opera, Seaside Music Theater and the Southeastern Savoyards of Atlanta. His roles have ranged from Guglielmo in Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte" to Voltaire in Bernstein's "Candide." He has performed in concert and recital throughout the Midwest and the Southeast, singing performances of Vaughan Williams' "Five Mystical Songs" and "Hodie," the Brahms "Requiem" and the Bach Mass in B minor.

An accomplished singer, writer and teacher, Castle is serving as visiting coach-accompanist for the UI Opera Theater. His singing roles in opera and musical comedy have included Henrik Egerman in "A Little Night Music," Nemorino in "The Elixir Of Love," Edvard Grieg in "Song Of Norway," Archibald Craven in "The Secret Garden," Marco Palmieri in "The Gondoliers" and Rooster in "Annie," as well as dozens of cabaret and dinner theater appearances.

As an accompanist, Castle has played in hundreds of recitals and theatrical productions. He also has extensive experience as a musical director, with credits in professional, university, community and school theaters. His compositions represent many genres, ranging from chamber music to musical theater and opera. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Cal., and a master's degree from Northern Illinois University.

Tickets for "She Loves Me" are $13; UI students and senior citizens may purchase discounted tickets at, $10, and tickets for youth 17 and under are $7.50. Tickets are available at the Hancher Auditorium Box Office. Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, and
1 - 3 p.m. Saturday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at "She Loves Me" has its own web page, at