What: “She Loves Me”

When: Opens 7:30 p.m. Friday; additional performances 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, till June 30

Where: Cascades Theatre, 148 NW Greenwood Ave., Bend

Cost: $20, $16 students and seniors

Contact: cascadestheatrical.org or 541-389-0803

Cascades Theatrical Company is set to whisk audiences off on a sentimental journey to 1930s Budapest, Hungary, via the musical “She Loves Me.” Written by Joe Masteroff (book), Jerry Bock (music) and Sheldon Harnick (lyrics), the popular musical opens Friday at CTC’s Cascades Theatre in Bend.

Even if you’ve never seen the show, which opened on Broadway in 1963, you may find its storyline — about combative coworkers in Budapest finding their way into each other’s arms — very familiar.

As director Richard Choate puts it, “That story has been told.”

That’s because as rom-com fodder goes, the story has a pretty solid premise. It opens on a summery note with “Good Morning, Good Day.”

Act one, in brief: Georg Nowak (played by Ryan Klontz), is the unassuming manager of Maraczek’s Parfumerie, a beauty and gift shop in Budapest. The sales staff includes mistake-prone Ladislav Sipos (Evan Smith); Steven Kodaly (Justin Tilton), the shop’s smooth Casanova; who, we learn is sleeping with saleswoman Ilona Ritter (Kimmie Neff). The presence of Mr. Maraczek (Larry Sewell) is often felt as he presides from behind the doors of his nearby office. Casey James rounds out the employee roster as teen gopher Arpad Lazlo.

Maraczek stocks up on a combination cigarette case-music box that Maraczek believes will begin selling within an hour. Georg, on the other hand, thinks they can’t be sold — can’t, that is, until Amalia Balish (Natalie Manz) shows up looking for a job.

As the seasons roll on, the shop becomes a roiling mess of resentment: Maraczek is mysteriously short with loyal second-in-command Georg, who can’t seem to get a break outside of his budding romance with an anonymous pen pal. Illona and Steven are no longer sleeping together, nor speaking. Georg, meanwhile, bickers with Amalia. Only Ladislav takes these exchanges to mean the two much like each other. Well, Ladislav and the viewing audience, but the audience also has been clued in by the frequent “dear friend” hints sprinkled throughout act one, courtesy of Georg and Amalia.

When Maraczek makes everyone work late to prep for Christmas season, Georg risks missing his long-awaited meet-up with his dear friend, although Amalia is able to slip away to make a date of her own.

The excellent ensemble is rounded out by the chorus, which includes Kara Klontz, Skyler Darcy, Amy James, Amy Anderton, Joshua Curtis, Gary Loddo and Molly Rhea Choate. The last listed is the director’s daughter, true, but wait till you see her abscond with the cafe scene as the waiter.

“She is my daughter,” Choate said. “That’s not why she got the part. She got the part because she can do the part.”

In the area of casting, Choate said he “lucked out.”

“There wasn’t a bad voice. Between the principles and my whole ensemble, they all can sing. They’re all singers. There’s not a clunker in the bunch. Even Gary (also the set builder) can sing. That doesn’t happen very often with musicals, anywhere that I’ve been. When you’re working in community theater, you usually have the people who are good singers, and then you have people who can carry a tune.”

As Choate noted earlier, permutations of this precise story have been told. In fact, when he saw the romantic comedy “You’ve Got Mail” two decades back, the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan vehicle gave him déjà vu. Yet America Online — better known as AOL, the internet portal and email service — from which the film title was derived wasn’t exactly old when the 1998 Nora Ephron film was released.

Nonetheless, Choate found it familiar. He writes in his director’s note in the show’s program, “During the movie, I start to feel as if I’ve seen it already when I realize it’s like ‘The Shop Around the Corner.’”

“The Shop Around the Corner” was a 1940 romantic comedy by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Jimmy Stewart. Along came the 1949 Judy Garland film musical “In the Good Old Summertime,” “which is basically the same premise,” Choate said.

The source material for all of these iterations was 1936’s “Parfumerie,” written by Hungarian playwright Miklós László.

“So they’ve been using it,” Choate said of the structure and theme of “She Loves Me.” He notes that Arpad shares a last name with the author of “Parfumerie,” with whom it all started.

“It has a kind of 1980s feel to me, but it’s been reprised a number of times on Broadway,” Choate said of the musical. “There’s been several different productions of it over the years. It’s very light, you know. It’s nice. … It does what good entertainment is supposed to do, and that is take you out of where you are right now, and put you someplace else. And that’s what it does. And it’s not hard to listen to. That makes it nice, too.”

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