Doug Martin
Matthew Fleming, left, and Skylar Hawker in "She Loves Me."

OREM — In a more innocent time lived Georg and Amalia, two lonely, feuding clerks, toiling in a 1930s European parfumerie, at a time when the unfolding of love was never an instant message. Their only solace comes in the form of anonymous, romantic letters from their lonely hearts club pen pals.

This funny, heartwarming musical, from the songwriting team that wrote "Fiddler on the Roof," debuted in the spring of 1963.

The story is familiar to anyone who has seen the Jimmy Stewart film "The Shop Around the Corner," the Judy Garland/Van Johnson musical "In the Good Old Summertime" or the modern-day "You've Got Mail." Two lonely shop clerks become secret pen pals and fall in love unbeknownst to one another despite their dislike for one another in person. As tensions between the two become more heated at work, their romance through letters blooms uncontrollably.

Doing double duty as director and choreographer, Dave Tinney has used his creative genius to use the Orem facility's intimate space to the advantage of this quaint production. "One example is that 'She Loves Me' will be presented with live musicians playing two grand pianos." Musical director Kathryn Laycock Little has assembled a team of musicians to accompany the cast. Hale Center Theater audiences will recognize Chris H. Brower, who normally plays Scrooge in the theater's annual production of "A Christmas Carol," behind one of the grand pianos. He also has a fun cameo role in the show.

Due to scheduling issues, the cast has had the unique task of working up this show in only two weeks. Each cast member was asked to come to the first rehearsal with lines completely memorized and ready to rehearse. While this is common in fully professional productions where actors are free to rehearse during the day, it is unique to most theaters in Utah that draw their talent pool from people who have daytime jobs and are only available to rehearse in the evenings.

Knowing that the rehearsal schedule would be challenging, the production staff concentrated on choosing a cast that was not only up to the task of learning the show in the short time constraint, but could also develop their characters as if they had been in rehearsal for months. The result is a cast of all stars. (All but one of the roles in the show are single cast.)

If you go:

What: "She Loves Me"

Where: Hale Center Theater, 225 W. 400 North, Orem

When: 7:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. matinees beginning March 15, Feb. 14-April 5

Cost: $13.50-$17.50

Phone: 226-8600