She Loves Me
Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at FSW
2020-2021 Season Sponsor: Gunterberg Charitable Foundation – Culliton Family
Dr. Andrew M. Kurtz
as Amalia Balash
as Georg Nowack
as Arpad Laszlo
as Ilona Ritter
as Ladislav Sipos
Mark David Kaplan
as Mr. Maraczek
as Steven Kodaly
as Maitre D’
Presented in two acts, with one 20 minute intermission.
On a beautiful summer day in Budapest in 1934, the employees of Maraczek’s Parfumerie arrive at work. Working at the shop are Ladislav Sipos, a fretful middle-aged salesman with a family; teenage delivery boy Arpad Laszlo; thirty-something Ilona Ritter, who is having an affair with suave Steven Kodaly; and Georg Nowack, the shy assistant manager. Mr. Maraczek arrives to open the store, and soon business is under way. Georg has been exchanging letters with an anonymous woman he knows only as “Dear Friend”, and he shares today’s romantic letter with Sipos. Maraczek advises Georg to get married and recalls being a bachelor.
Arpad begins stocking the shelves with a new musical cigarette case. Mr. Maraczek insists that they will manage to sell one within an hour. A nervous young woman, Amalia Balash, enters, hoping to obtain a job at the Parfumerie. When Georg tells her they are not hiring, she demands to speak with Maraczek. Amalia takes one of the cigarette cases and convinces a customer that it is really a musical candy box that plays each time it is opened to gently tell the owner “no more candy”. Maraczek is impressed and immediately hires Amalia.
As summer turns into autumn and then into the early days of winter, tension grows in the shop. Ilona and Kodaly are at odds, Mr. Maraczek is increasingly short-tempered with Georg, and Georg and Amalia bicker constantly. Georg finds solace in his anonymous romantic pen pal, not suspecting that his correspondent is none other than Amalia. Their fellow employees observe their bickering, and Sipos explains to Arpad that they argue because they unknowingly like each other very much. Arpad naively suggests they tell Georg and Amalia this, and Sipos retorts that they’d never believe it. Finally, in early December, the two “Dear Friends” arrange to meet in person.
Maraczek humiliatingly dresses down Georg for a minor problem. Georg tells Sipos that tonight he will finally meet his “dear friend.” Meanwhile, Amalia explains to Ilona that even though she has not met her “dear friend” yet, she knows him very well from his letters.
Mr. Maraczek and Georg argue, and when it becomes obvious that Maraczek is about to fire Georg, Sipos knocks over the stack of musical cigarette boxes to distract him. Maraczek reprimands Sipos and leaves. Sipos tells Georg that no replacement would treat him as well as Georg does. Maraczek insists that everyone stay late to decorate for Christmas, but Amalia says she must leave early for her date. Georg asks to leave too, but Mr. Maraczek refuses to let him go. Georg angrily quits, and the other employees sadly say goodbye to Georg. Amalia leaves clutching a copy of Anna Karenina with a rose in it so that her “dear friend” will be able to identify her. She wonders if “dear friend” will like her. Meanwhile, inside the shop, Kodaly begins seducing Ilona. They make a date, but when Mr. Maraczek insists they must close the store early, Kodaly realizes that he has time for a 9:30 date that he previously scheduled. He postpones his date with Ilona, and she angrily declares that she will never fall for a man like him again. Georg is nervous and asks Sipos to give “dear friend” a note explaining that Georg could not come.
Mr. Maraczek’s private investigator enters the shop and tells him that Kodaly is having an affair with his wife. Maraczek had assumed it was Georg. The investigator leaves, and Maraczek’s wife calls to say she’ll be out late. Maraczek points a gun at his own head and pulls the trigger as Arpad enters the shop. Meanwhile, in the Cafe Imperiale, the head waiter is trying to maintain a romantic atmosphere as Amalia waits with her book and rose. Georg and Sipos enter and are shocked to realize that Amalia is Georg’s date; however, Amalia does not know Georg is her “dear friend”. Georg sits at Amalia’s table and mocks her, singing a “Tango Tragique” about a woman who was murdered on a blind date. They argue, and Georg leaves. As the cafe closes, Amalia, still waiting, begs “dear friend” not to abandon her.
The next day, Mr. Maraczek has survived his suicide attempt, and Arpad comes to visit him in the hospital. Maraczek is impressed with Arpad’s hard work in his absence, and Arpad begs to be promoted to sales clerk. Georg also stops by, and Maraczek apologizes and asks him to return to his job. Maraczek tells Georg to fire Kodaly and mentions that Amalia has called in sick.
Georg is worried about Amalia and visits her at her apartment. She fears he has come to spy on her and tell the others she is not really sick, so she attempts to get out of bed and get ready for work. Georg, seeing she is truly sick, forces her back to bed and presents her with a gift: vanilla ice cream. He apologizes for his rudeness the previous night, but Amalia tells him that he was right about her date; if “dear friend” really loved her, he would have come. Georg, meaning well, makes up a story that he saw an older, bald, fat gentleman looking into the cafe. Georg says the man told him that he had to work and could not meet his date, and Georg surmises that he must be her “dear friend”. Amalia is surprised to find she enjoys her conversation with Georg. After he leaves, she begins a letter to “dear friend” but can only think of Georg’s kindness and his gift of.
Georg joyously decides that Amalia love him. At Maraczek’s, Ilona explains to Sipos that she has gotten over Kodaly; last night, she went to the library where she met Paul, a kindly optometrist. Kodaly bids everyone goodbye. With Christmas fast approaching, the employees are busy helping last-minute shoppers, and Georg and Amalia enjoy each other’s company. On Christmas Eve, Amalia tells Georg she has invited “dear friend” to spend the evening with her and her mother. She invites Georg as well, and he hesitatingly accepts. Mr. Maraczek returns to the shop for a happy reunion, and Ilona announces her plans to accept Paul’s proposal that night, even though he does not know he is going to propose yet. Sipos leaves to join his family’s Christmas party, and Maraczek takes Arpad for a night on the town.
Georg helps Amalia with her packages as she leaves the shop, and they accidentally drop one of the musical cigarette boxes. Amalia intends to give it to “dear friend”, but Georg says he really would like it; it will remind him of the day he first met her. He admits that he always thought Amalia was the sort of girl he could fall in love with. Amalia confesses to having similar feelings, and Georg takes one of Amalia’s letters to “dear friend” out of his pocket and begins reading it aloud. Amalia finally understands that Georg really is “dear friend” and they kiss.
Siri Howard as Amalia Balash
Siri Howard is a Broadway actress, recording artist, and concert performer who began her professional career at age 10 and has continued to perform on some of the world’s most prestigious stages. On Broadway Siri has appeared in: Les Misérables and The Sound of Music (Broadway Revival cast recording). National Tours include: The Phantom of the Opera, Parade, Les Misérables 25th Anniversary Production, and The Sound of Music starring Richard Chamberlain. Regionally Ms. Howard has been seen in: The Music Man (Marian Paroo)- IRNE Nomination Best Lead Actress, North Shore Music Theatre; Sweeney Todd starring Emma Thompson, Live from Lincoln Center PBS broadcast; South Pacific (Nellie Forbush), Gulf Coast Symphony; Fiddler on the Roof (Hodel), Maine State Music Theatre; A Little Night Music 25th Anniversary Production (Fredrika), with the Philadelphia Orchestra; Les Misérables (Cosette), Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Maine State Music Theatre, and North Shore Music Theatre; Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Angel), The Rev Theatre; Oklahoma! (Laurey), Gulf Coast Symphony. Siri has also appeared as a soloist with the Omaha Symphony, the NJ Symphony Orchestra, the Steamboat Springs Symphony Orchestra, and The Florida Orchestra. Ms. Howard has a deep love for classical music, and has performed concerts of Bernstein’s Songfest, Berg’s Wozzeck, Mozart’s Requiem, and operas such as Le Nozze di Figaro, the NY premiere of Orpheus Descending, Dido and Aeneas, and La Bohéme. Ms. Howard has performed with the USO for veterans and active duty military, as well as the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in 2016. She has appeared on multiple annual Carols for a Cure Broadway albums, and as a featured artist on the concept album, Song of Solomon. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the University of Maryland College Park, and a Master of Arts in vocal performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. Siri teaches voice and master classes, and coaches around the USA. She is married to director Max Quinlan, and is proudest of her role as mother to their 2 year old son, Jack.
Bryce Pinkham as Georg Nowack
An American stage and screen actor, Bryce is most widely known for originating the role of Monty Navarro in the Tony Award Winning production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, for which he was nominated for a Tony, Grammy and Drama Desk Award. He also notably appeared opposite Elisabeth Moss in the Broadway revival of The Heidi Chronicles as Peter Patrone, for which he was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award and a Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance in 2015. His other Broadway credits include originating roles in The Great Society, Holiday Inn, Ghost, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.
Bryce’s on camera appearances include as a series regular on the second season of the Civil War Drama Mercy Street, as well as guest appearances on The Blacklist, Instinct, Proven Innocent, The Get Down, The Good Wife, Person of Interest, and Blindspot as well as Robert DeNiro’s feature film The Comedian.
A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Bryce was awarded the Leonore Annenberg Foundation Early Career Fellowship in 2012.
As a singer Bryce has performed in concert venues across the country, most notably Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and The Library of Congress.
As a writer, Bryce has published articles on acting, performing, and education in American Theater Magazine, Yale Alumni Magazine and others.
In 2012 Bryce helped found Zara Aina, an NGO that uses the power of theatrical storytelling to empower at-risk youth. In May 2013, Bryce led a team of American artists on Zara Aina’s pilot program to Madagascar. Bryce is also a frequent collaborator with Outside the Wire, a social impact theater company that serves many communities but particularly focuses on military audiences. His most notable international tours include Guantanamo Bay, Japan, Kuwait, and Qatar.
Bryce holds a BA from Boston College and an MA from the Yale School of Drama, chronicles his latest adventures for social media @theBrycecapades and writes all his bios in the third person, which he always finds a little weird, but does anyway.
Adam Marino as Arpad Laszlo
Adam (Arpad) is thrilled to be returning to the Gulf Coast Symphony for the second time this year! Adam was recently seen, with his fiancée Alexandra Shephard, in I Do! I Do! as Michael. Adam is a Rochester native who currently resides in New York City. Some of Adam’s favorite credits include Tarzan (Terk), Grease (Doody) and The Buddy Holly Story (Ritchie Valens). Adam is also the Tenor for the Doo-Wop group “The Diamonds” (www.thediamonds.live). Adam would like to thank his family (M,D,A,LG2,M,E) Alex’s family (J,J,W,B,P) and most of all, his love, Alex. It’s a dream to be sharing the stage with you again. I love you.
Instagram: @adammarino Website: www.adamdavidmarino.com
Larissa Klinger as Ilona Ritter
Larissa Klinger (Ilona Ritter) is excited to be returning to the stage with GCS! She was last seen here in the 2019 production of Showboat. Larissa has enjoyed performing on stages all across the country on national tours and in regional theatre productions (www.larissaklinger.com). After this difficult year for live performing arts, it is now more important than ever to show support to your local theatre community. So THANK YOU for being here to support this incredible group of musicians and talented cast and crew! All my love to Dan!
Mark Sanders as Ladislav Sipos
This South Florida resident has appeared in numerous productions and concerts around the world, including regular performances with the Gulf Coast Symphony. Mark was seen as Perchik on the Broadway National Tour of Fiddler on the Roof starring Theodore Bikel and recently portrayed Harry Bright in Mamma Mia at Actors’ Playhouse in Miami. Mark has performed at such prestigious theatres as Lincoln Center, Goodspeed Opera House, Pittsburgh CLO, North Shore Music Theatre, and Sacramento Music Circus. Credits include: Carousel (Mr. Snow), Ragtime (Father), Murder Ballad (Michael-Carbonell Award), Next to Normal (Dan), Bridges of Madison County (‘Bud’ Johnson), Passion (Col. Ricci), The Secret Garden (Archibald), Music Man with Jeff Goldblum, Jesus Christ Superstar, Blood Brothers with Andrea McArdle, Phantom with Bob Cuccioli, Miss Saigon, Tommy with Alice Ripley, Jekyll & Hyde, and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.
Mark’s solo show, ONE VOICE: The Music of Barry Manilow, will begin
touring again in 2021 with a brand new CD of Manilow’s incredible music. Visit www.MarkSandersNYC.com for upcoming concerts and performances.
Mark David Kaplan as Mr. Maraczek
Mark David Kaplan is the recipient of three Joseph Jefferson Awards for his work in Les Misérables, Ragtime and Forbidden Broadway, the latter with which he has toured internationally and performed off-Broadway. Recent credits include The Diary of Anne Frank (People’s Light and Theatre Company), Into the Woods and The Mystery of Love and Sex (Writers Theatre), Beauty and the Beast (Drury Lane Theatre), Oliver (Marriott Theatre), Frankenstein (Cardinal Stage), and Wonderful Town (Goodman Theatre). Other favorites include Little Shop of Horrors (American Blues Theatre/Mercury Theatre), Hairspray (Syracuse Stage), We Three Lizas (About Face Theatre), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Chicago company/James Lapine), Man of La Mancha (Montana Shakespeare in the Parks), and many new works with Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Directing credits include Forbidden Broadway (Adelaide, Melbourne and US Productions) and assistant to Mary Zimmerman on The Music Man (Goodman). He has twice toured the U.S. and Canada as Zazu in The Lion King. TV work includes Utopia for Amazon Studios and spots for T-Mobile, the Chicago Cubs, Arkansas Lotto and Gordman’s, among others. A member of Actor’s Equity Association for 35 years, Mark served on the National Council and Central Regional boards. He’s proud to currently work with Season of Concern in Chicago, which has provided financial assistance to artists in need for over thirty years. More info can be found at seasonofconcern.org.
He is thrilled to be making his Gulf Coast Symphony debut working with his friend Max and all of these beautiful, talented artists!
Dan Fenaughty as Steven Kodaly
Dan Fenaughty (Kodaly) is grateful for this opportunity to return to GCS. Dan has performed across the country throughout his career and was heartbroken by the effects of this past year. During this time he has focused on the safety of his friends and family, along with raising funds to support local theaters around the nation. Last seen with GCS in 2019’s production of “SHOW BOAT”, Dan is happy to be back performing with this talented orchestra, amazing cast and hard working crew, alongside his wonderful wife, Larissa. Thanks to all who have worked so hard to make this one of a kind experience possible and to you, the audience, for supporting live local performing arts during this unique time for the art form and our country. Please stay safe.
Benjamin Russell as Maitre D'
BENJAMIN RUSSELL (Maitre D’) is thrilled make his Gulf Coast Symphony debut. Credits include John Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility with Bedlam at A.R.T, Chris Keller in All My Sons at Mad Cow Theater, Mark Livingstone in The Poor of New York at Metropolitan Playhouse, Fred Graham in Kiss Me Kate, Jim O’Connor in The Glass Menagerie and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing at Annapolis Shakespeare Company. www.benjaminlrussell.com
Max Quinlan, Stage Director & Choreographer
MAX QUINLAN made his debut with the Gulf Coast Symphony with their production of Showboat in 2019. He will be directing their productions of Music Man and West Side Story. Max was the Resident Director for the National Tour of The Phantom of The Opera for several years. Previous to Phantom, Max served as the Resident Director for the Broadway Revival of Les Misérables. Favorite Directing credits include: Next To Normal, Detroit, Ragtime, and the film Sammy’s Fedora. Max worked for the Broadway Casting Office Stewart/Whitley and continues to teach musical theatre master classes throughout the country. Performance highlights include Les Miz (Broadway, OBC), Evita (National Tour, Che), Les Miz (National Tour, Marius), The Light in the Piazza (Jeff Award Winner), Jesus Christ Superstar (BWW Award Winner). Max is a proud member of AEA and graduate of CCM. For my newborn son, Jack.
Andrew M. Kurtz
Music & Executive Director
Gulf Coast Symphony founder Dr. Andrew M. Kurtz enters his twenty-sixth season as the Symphony’s Music & Executive Director, and conductor. His deep rooted commitment to new work, community and education, combined with a vibrant artistic vision has led to creating and nurturing one of the most dynamic arts organizations in the region. His conducting has been called “passionate, expansive, expert, and musical.” He was named the 2007 Performing Artist of the Year at Lee County’s Angel of the Arts Awards. Kurtz’s repertoire encompasses a wide range of music styles from baroque to contemporary, and multiple genres including symphonic, opera, ballet, musical theater, jazz, cantorial, and symphonic pops.
An avid arts educator, Maestro Kurtz was Resident Music Director at the Luzerne Music Center. Kurtz is a past-president of the board of the Lee County Alliance for the Arts. In 2001, he won First Prize in the Dell’Arte di Firenze International Conducting Competition, and made his European conducting debut in Florence. In 1995, Kurtz made his international operatic debut in Tel Aviv while working as a staff conductor at the Israel Vocal Arts Institute. In 1997, he conducted the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s educational tour production of The Best of Puccini. He was a scholarship conducting student at the prestigious Aspen Music Festival, and boasts numerous other conducting credits, including the Pennsylvania Opera Theater, the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Charlotte Symphony, Gonzaga Symphony, and the Ocean City Pops.
Kurtz completed his doctoral studies in conducting at the Peabody Conservatory and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Virginia where he received his master’s degree in music history and a bachelor of arts in music and drama. A native of Philadelphia, Kurtz has called Southwest Florida home for more than 28 years, where he currently resides with his wife, Julie, and their son, Benjamin.
Eleanor (Genni) Blitzer
~Denotes Gulf Coast Chamber Orchestra member.
Molly Goodwin, Production Stage Manager
Molly Goodwin (Production Stage Manager) is delighted to return to Ft. Myers for GCS’ 2021 Spring productions. Previous GCS credits include: Evita, Elixir of Love, Tosca, Oklahoma, and South Pacific. Before the Covid theatre shuttering, she was the Production Stage Manager for the world premiere production of West Side Story at Stage Around Tokyo. Her other International Tour credits include a tour of Sister Act in Singapore, Manila, China, Tokyo, and Seoul. She also had the jolly experience of spending the 2016 holiday season as the Production Assistant for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Her National Tour credits include: The Wizard of Oz, Sister Act, GHOST, West Side Story, BLAST, and Legally Blonde. Regional credits include: Santa Fe Opera (Santa Fe, NM), The Warehouse Theatre (Greenville, SC), Creede Rep (Creede, CO), The Commonweal Theatre Co (Lanesboro, MN), and Timber Lake Playhouse (Mt. Carroll, IL). She has managed a variety of live entertainment aboard Holland America cruise ships, sailing to destinations in Australia/New Zealand, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Baltic and Alaska. Her favorite credit is Celine Dion's A NEW DAY: Live in Las Vegas. Goodwin holds a BA in Theatre/Dance from Luther College (Decorah, IA) and is a summa cum laude graduate with an MFA in Stage Management from UNLV (Las Vegas, NV). A native Midwesterner and current NYC resident, Molly’s professional life has kept her traveling since 2008. She sends her love to friends and family: thank you for roots and wings
Christian Londos, Technical/Lighting Director
Christian Londos is a technical director with a background in lighting design and scenic design. Christian has a passion for story telling and contributing to the larger aesthetic of each production. He holds a BFA in Technical Theatre from Florida Southern College in Lakeland Florida.
Alison Ebling, Sound Designer
Tinesha Tutt is a live audio engineer from Jacksonville, FL. Her technical theatre degree led her to her most recent work with Holland America Cruise Lines and Disney On Ice Tour. She’s thrilled to be back in the entertainment industry and thanks GCS for welcoming her onboard for Evita.
Hana Suarez, Audio Technician
Justin Bivens, Projection Designer
Diana Waldier, Wardrobe Coordinator
Jesseca Terhaar, Properties Designer
Rosalind Metcalf, Rehearsal Pianist
ROSALIND METCALF taught vocal music for 25 years in a New Jersey public high school, retiring in 2013 and relocating to southwest Florida. She has been musical director/accompanist for the Theater Department of Rowan University in New Jersey, including their Summer Children’s Theater program; musical director/accompanist for the theater program at Cumberland County College in New Jersey; and worked extensively as musical director/accompanist for over 40 years in theater productions throughout the southern New Jersey and southwest Florida areas.
Featuring Stravinsky’s “Suite for Pulcinella” and Copland’s “Appalachian Spring”