Spring musical ‘She Loves Me’ features comedy, romance

“When we opened the theater back in 2012, our students did a collaboration with Monterey Peninsula College and performed ‘Grease,’” Carmel High music director Brian Handley explains. “Every year since then, we have been producing musicals featuring our very own singers and musicians.”

With former productions ranging from “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” to “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” the annual Carmel High School musical is returning with Carmel High’s greatest singing talents. The 2017 Carmel High School Musical, “She Loves Me,” will be performed in the performing arts center premiering March 9 at 7 p.m. and running through the following weekend.

Students will be performing the 2016 revival of the musical which has won multiple awards for its revival of the original 1963 version. These awards include the 2016 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical and the 2016 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Revival.

“If you’ve seen the movie ‘You’ve Got Mail,’ this musical is based on the same story,” director Gracie Poletti says. “It is about two people corresponding to each other through a Lonely Heart’s club, and they have fallen in love through the mail.”

Although they do not know it, Poletti says, these characters are actually co-workers who hate each other without knowing they are actually lovers through the mail. The play is about how they work out their relationship.

“I saw this musical on Broadway last year,” Poletti says, “and it was probably one of the most charming shows that I have seen in my life. And I realized that we had just the right people who could handle the parts, and I thought it would be a good fit for our school.”

Senior Ashley Reed plays Ilona, who Reed describes as “kind of a slut…. She starts off being manipulated but, in the end, she rises up and decides to be better.”

Reed says that the entire musical cast has been working hard in order to prepare.

“We have been rehearsing every day from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.,” Reed says. “It is kind of like a sport because you are there every day after school dancing, singing, walking and talking. And, of course, there is time outside of rehearsals where you are practicing your songs and memorizing your lines.”

Reed says that this particular musical is really fun because it has something for everyone.

“First of all, it is really funny,” Reed says. “If you want to see a girl lose her shoe and get tossed onto a bed, shooting of people, deceptiveness, drama, or cute romance, you should come see it. Everyone should come see it.”

Senior Claire Rice plays lead role Amalia Balash and is excited to share her signing, acting and dancing skills.

“I think that the musical is such a sweet little story,” Rice says. “It is so fun.”

Along with great singers, such as Rice, junior Alex Poletti, Reed, and many more, there will be the addition of a live pit orchestra comprised of several CHS band and orchestra students.

“We may be the only school on the peninsula that has a live student orchestra,” the director says. “And they are good, too.”

Junior Joe Johnsson plays salesperson Steven Kodaly, one of the villains of the story, and enjoys the part because the character is super gaudy and pious.

“I sing two songs,” Johnsson says, “even though this is the first year that I am doing a musical. Even though I am not in drama class, I tried out and I really love it.”

-Ryan Lin