Buena High’s “She Loves Me” is alluring and alive


Steven Kodaly holds Ilona Ritter while he sweet talks her into going on a date with him. Credit: Abigail Massar / Foothill Dragon Press

Riley Bangs

A spattered audience sat anxiously for the last showing of Buena’s summer musical. A smell of sweet perfume was in the air as the curtain rose on Mr. Maraczek’s beauty store, lone and unassuming. A group of coworkers converges to discuss how beautiful the day is before entering a place of odd, pompous happenstance. Buena High School’s “She Loves Me” has lots of charm despite its mishaps, and was a treat to fall into before the year’s end.

Amalia Balish, played by Frankie Lombardo, enters the store, looking to connive her way into a job after hearing of an “open” position. Despite the denials of both Mr. Georg Nowak and Mr. Maraczek, she sells what is an otherwise useless object in the store to prove her worth. She is hired thereafter, much to the dismay of Mr. Nowack. Meanwhile, Mr. Nowack writes love letters to an anonymous receiver in hopes of meeting one day. Coincidentally, Ms. Balish is out doing the same thing, unaware that they are each writing to their sour new coworker.

The musical aspects were incredibly well rehearsed, although a couple songs felt like they were meant to merely fill time. Some songs contain dual lyrics, which can be frustrating when the words can’t actually be understood, leading to a loss of some characterization.

Sam Votrian’s overall performance as Mr. Nowak was wonderfully expressive; he was rightfully the lead of the play. “It’s become one of my biggest passions and something I really enjoy doing. It gives me purpose, and I’ve had some of the best experiences out of [musicals at Buena],” Votrian stated.

The periodic nature of this early 1900’s play makes it difficult to modernize, yet the crew tried their luck anyway; suffice it to say that hearing the words “snapchat” and “adver-diss-ments” subsequently pulls you out of the experience. The show was a charming period piece about love and the workplace which the cast delivered with heart and hand cream.


What do you think?