It’s a wonder no one has written a dating app-era reskin of Perfumerie, Hungarian playwright Miklós László’s 1937 stage romance. The oft-recycled story got its last major update as the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan/Nora Ephron reunion flick You’ve Got Mail back in the days of dial-up internet. She Loves Me, the play’s Broadway musical translation was, like the two 1940s movie versions, The Shop Around the Corner and In the Good Old Summertime, a nostalgia-scented period piece even when it was new, banking on the public’s insatiable appetite for a spottily recalled but doubtless better past. The musical opened in 1963, when American life was really about to experience a seismic shift. By the time The Beatles made their American TV debut on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, She Loves Me had already been closed for a month.

She Loves Me had warmly received revivals in 1993 and 2016, each a portentous year in its own way. But the show has always been more of a critics’ darling than a seat-filler. Something about its patient, modest craft makes She Loves Me seem just a little bit unfashionable no matter what decade it is.

Signature Theatre’s faithful new version carries on in that tradition, offering more consolation than innovation. But, as Marlene Dietrich said of her soothsaying act in Touch of Evil, it’s so old it’s new. This tender tale of two clerks at a (demonstrably overstaffed) cosmetics store who spar all day long without knowing each is the other’s lover-by-letter is a total charmer, even if a couple of its busier songs—especially the show’s penultimate number “Twelve Days to Christmas”—make you want to swipe left.


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