Whether your aching to do something a little different than just dinner and a movie or just plain out want something different to do, how about heading to Showtimers the Community’s Theatre and enjoying the musical “She Loves Me”.
Showtimers will be presenting this musical, which is based on a book by Joe Masteroff beginning on Feb. 12 and lasting until March 1.
The cast of “She Loves Me” is well underway with rehearsals and James Honaker is excited to announce this is his debut as Director.
“She Loves Me” he explains is a story about two feuding clerks who are in love and corresponding through letters. The catch is neither one of them realize that they are corresponding with each other. The setting of the musical is Eastern Europe in 1930. The musical begins in the summer, then moves into fall and winter. While the majority of the sets take place in the Parfumerie, there are also scenes in the hospital, cafe, Amalia’s apartment, and shoppes.
“It’s kind of like the recent movie, ‘You’ve Got Mail’,” Honaker said. “They show they are feuding the whole time, but don’t find out until the end they are in love with each other.”
Leslie Rueff, plays the lead of Amalia Balash and Owen Merritt, the lead of Georg Nowack- both working together in a Parfumerie. The entire play consists of about 13 actors, many of which are playing multiple roles.
“Amalia comes in looking to be hired as one of the clerks and she is very well spoken and slightly unsure of herself sometimes because she is strong, but I don’t think she wants to be as strong as she has to be right now,” Rueff said about the character she plays. “Her and Georg don’t get a long, but he figures out the love before she does. She falls in love when he brings her ice cream and when she finds out she is so tickled and very relieved.”
This is Rueff’s first Showtimers show but she says she loves it. She moved to Roanoke last June from the Staunton – Waynesboro area.
“The cast is so professional and really wants to put on a good show. They really are a family. It’s really nice to have that family after leaving my theatre family where I came from.”
Rueff became involved in acting and singing in high school when a friend asked her to audition for a show.
“I love to sing. And I love making people smile from singing and I love the challenge of it. I’ve been doing choir all my life. After that show I was hooked. When I was in college I learned I loved to direct.”
Rueff is a reading specialist at Jackson Middle School.
Owen Merritt, who plays Georg said, “He’s a mild mannered shop clerk. He was introduced to shop clerk Amalia, but he doesn’t like her. He’s a decent guy at heart and sweet.”
This is Merritt’s second Showtimers Show with Showtimers, but his third show is the Roanoke Area. And he did a lot of acting while he was live in Houston, but really began acting while at Franklin County High School and while in college at Roanoke College and Radford University. When Merritt’s not acting he is working with Hall Community Services.
“I get a thrill when I’m up on stage performing. It’s kind of a release for me. I don’t like being the center of attention but its a time for me to be outside of myself,” Merritt said. “The show is really starting to come together. I think we have a really strong cast and I’m looking forward to putting it on.”
Aside from the actors and actresses, a crew of 25 total will work together to pull off the, “She Loves Me” musical.
“We’ve been really fortunate,” Honaker said about not having a problem getting actors for the musical when auditions were held in November. “And we built the set ourselves. We were here most Saturday’s putting it together. Our set designer had virtually the whole set finished by the time we started rehearsal Jan. 5.”
Honaker said he’s learned a lot during his directing debut, but wanted help from those who were more experienced.
“I just really wanted to make sure I had good people around me. The cast and people around me have been really good. I think it’s going really well. I have a really great cast and they work hard when they get here.”
But he knew what would be expected of him because he’s been in many plays before. He played the milkman in “Come Back Little Sheba” this winter with Showtimers.
“I’ve been involved in Showtimers since 2003,” Honaker said who’s first show with Showtimers was The Crucible where he played the part of Clerk of Court. “I always wanted to direct but I wanted to go through the parts of being the stage manager and the actor, so I could do a really good job.”
“It’s just something I always wanted to do. I didn’t take drama in college. It’s just something I always enjoyed doing on a smaller scale.”
And like many actors, Honaker’s acting experience is just a hobby. When he’s not following his passion, Honaker is a Senior Staffing Supervisor for Kelly Services and was raised in Tazewell.
“Even in rehearsal you are developing your character, but when you put that costume on your someone else. It’s my way of being able to be somebody else. I tell people its the only drama I need in my life. The musicals are just so much fun because they are faster and there is so much more movement. And acting is my way of giving to somebody- I hope people see the show and leave different than when they came in.”
Honaker said the show is great for all ages. There is absolutely not foul language and he describes it as a family, fun, love-story.
You can catch “She Loves Me” Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and the Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. The cost is $12 for adults. For reservations call 540-774-2660 or 1-877-336-9294 or visit www.showtimers.org for online purchasing.
Showtimers is located at 2067 McVitty Road in Southwest Roanoke County.