Just in time for the perfect Valentine’s date, a stylish Galentine’s meetup with your gal pals, or choosing a night of theater- South Coast Repertory’s “She Loves Me” is your ticket to a musical that is smart, stylish and sweet as ice cream!
What: She Loves Me – Musical at South Coast Repertory Theatre
based on the play by Miklós László
Amalia (portrayed by Erin Mackey) willingly responds to a Lonely Hearts Club personal advertisement in hopes of finding love. Little does she know that the ad was put up by the very coworker she spars with – Georg (portrayed by Brian Vaughn). It’s a case of mistaken identity where the two feuding adversaries at Maraczek’s Parfumerie don’t realize that either one is their “dear friend” pen pal.
Where: South Coast Repertory Theatre – 655 Town Center Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
When: February 1–22, 2020
Book: Joe Masteroff, Music: Jerry Bock, Lyrics: Sheldon Harnick
Director & Artistic Director: David Ivers, Music Director: Gregg Coffin
Scenic Design: Jo Winiarski, Costume Design: Alex Jaeger
Lighting Design: Jaymi Lee Smith, Choreography: Jaclyn Miller
Tickets: Online, In Person at the Box Office
Discount Tickets: TodayTix and Goldstar
Parking: Parking structures are $12, More information here
Jo Winiarski, scenic designer, and Alex Jaeger, costume designer, transports the audience back in time to the mid-1930s. As you take your seat in the Segerstrom theatre, the outside of Maraczek’s parfumerie stands prominently front and center like a beautiful Limoges box ready to be opened.
The set design has the three elements of being visually attractive to the eye, informational in serving the story, and functional.
The set functions as a beautifully detailed character in itself, taking the audience from outside on the streets, inside a parfumerie, backroom, romantic cafe, hospital bed, bedroom, and back again. The audience experiences the theatrical enchantment and engineering with how the set unfolds, turns, and creates opportunities for the actors to play and live in unique spaces.
Maraczek’s Parfumerie is a beautiful store where the finest fragrances, cosmetics, creams, and gifts are sold. Amalia meets Georg here and the story of their relationship and the lives of Mr. Maraczek and his colorful staff unfolds…
Pictured above is a vintage Limoges heart box with a perfume bottle inside that I purchased from eBay.
See my post on the best natural and clean fragrances for 2020.
One of my favorites is Ellis Brooklyn who has a library discovery set.
Millennials can relate to She Loves Me with online dating apps of 2020 and the vulnerability when meeting someone for the first time. The Amalia in She Loves Me is not a helpless subservient woman of the era. Right from the start, she proves her worth as a superior salesperson when she sells the musical leather cigarette box. She is assertive, competitive, creative, thinks out of the box and is equal to any man.
The actors enter the stage one by one on musical and story cue in period attire transporting the audience to a European city in the mid-1930s. The tailoring of each character’s wardrobe is exquisite from head to toe with clothing, hats, and accessories.
Alex Jaeger, an award-winning costume designer, puts excellent attention to detail into the clothing to reflect the changing seasons. For example, in the opening scene, the dresses are made from cotton or linen material. Accessories such as spectator shoes and straw purses let us know it is summer and picnic weather. When the season changes again, we see beautiful coats exquisitely styled with details such as puff sleeves and long buttoned cuffs.
Alex graciously shared with Entertainment and Style some of the magic and what goes on into bringing his designs to life for She Loves Me.
Behind the Scenes
Interview with Alex Jaeger
She Loves Me Costume Design
What was your inspiration for getting into the world of costume design? How did you get started in your career?
I grew up in a family involved with fashion design. I originally studied performance, but later realized that I could combine my knowledge of design with my love for theater and eventually went back to school to earn my MFA in costume design. I’ve been fortunate to be able to make a career out of my passions.
How did you initially become involved with She Loves Me? What interested you about the project?
She Loves Me has always been one of my favorite musicals. I became involved because I was lucky enough to be asked to design the show by longtime friend and collaborator David Ivers. I was interested to work on the production because it’s a fantastic show, a chance to design beautiful 30’s costumes and to work with many long time collaborators whom I respect and enjoy working with. What could be better?
“Love Always Prevails.”
What are the steps in your design process? Describe the journey of how a costume is created from initial ideas to reality on opening night.
It’s a pretty long process. As soon as I get the offer to design, I begin researching the show and the period. The first thing I do is a script breakdown that tells me how many costumes each character needs, when there are quick changes, the time of year, the settings of each scene, etc. Then I find the research images that are appropriate to each character. Then back and forth discussions with the director to decide the “feel” for each. After that, I start sketching and talking with the other designers to make sure all the elements work together. Each design often goes through several revisions. Once the designs are finalized, I give them to the artists in the costume shop. The drapers make patterns based on my sketches and create “mock-ups” of the garments out of inexpensive fabric. We then try those on the actors to make adjustments before cutting into the real fabric. The fabrics are then cut, the stitchers sew them together; there are several more fittings to fine-tune the garments. There are also people dying fabrics, making hats and jewelry, fitting shoes, making and styling wigs, etc. It really takes a village!|
How did you select the color palettes and styles for the individual characters?
I like to work organically in the sense that I may do some design work before casting, but it is all subject to change when I get actors. My job is not just to make pretty dresses, but to help tell a story. I try to choose colors, shapes, etc. that enhance what each actor brings to the table naturally. They were each cast for a reason. I don’t want to try to fit a square peg into a round hole. I just want to help the actor get from who they are as a person in daily life to a full realization of their character.
What is the best part about working at SCR?
I’ve done so many shows at SCR. It’s always a pleasure. The theater is first class all across the board from admin. to casting to production, etc.
I love the “can do” attitude of the costume shop. They have never let me down.
“The secret of inspiration it to keep your mind and your heart open to all possibilities.”
Who in your creative circle or the world has inspired your work or how you interpret the world? How do they inspire you?
I think that the reason I love my work is that every job is different. I get inspiration from everywhere. Once I have a particular project in my head, pertinent things just jump out at me. I’ve been fortunate to work with many of the most influential and brilliant minds in the world of theater and literature, but have been equally enriched and inspired by people I’ve met on my travels or in some remote and surprising location. The secret of inspiration it to keep your mind and your heart open to all possibilities.
What do you hope audiences take away from the show?
This is a very interesting time to produce this show. Even though it was written in the 60s, it is set in the 30s when the world was facing many of the political and social challenges that we are facing now. In the 30’s, the entertainment industry provided a much needed relief from all the negativity that was prevalent in the world at that time. I hope that our production can do the same and let the audiences know that love always prevails.
What is your favorite part of your job?
There are so many amazing things about my job. I get to travel to places I probably wouldn’t have the chance to see otherwise. I work all day with amazing artists to create something that entertains, provokes conversations, and speaks to the audience in profound ways. What could be better?
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
I’m not just saying this because of the reference to the show, but I love a great vanilla ice cream. I think it gets a bad wrap because of poor quality, bland versions of it. A real quality vanilla is pure, complex and perfect. As with design, a simple, but perfect thing is one of the most difficult things to achieve.
The quick pacing and snappy repartee engage the audience from scene to scene. The upbeat songs, choreography, and movement quality of the ensemble add to the energy and humor where appropriate. Even the props such as the rolling cabinets, stools, and a staircase are cleverly utilized on musical cue to punctuate the music and the dialogue. The stage is fully used from one end to the next making any seat in the house an enjoyable view for the show.
There are many humorous moments throughout the show, especially at the Café Imperiale in the number “Romantic Atmosphere,” where the talented ensemble shines along with the comedy inflections of the head waiter played by Danny Scheie.
Erin Mackey, who plays Amalia, fits the bill of being a combination of strength coupled with an instant likeability and soft vulnerability when needed. Her voice soars with intense clarity, and she aptly shows off her impressive range, especially in the song Vanilla Ice Cream. Amalia’s costume designs are tailored, bright, and bold when they need to be in a scene and softer when she draws us into her inner feelings where her dress is more flowy and feminine.
“She loves me and to my amazement,
I love it, knowing that she loves me!”
Brian Vaughn, who plays Georg joyously sings She Loves Me in Act 2. This song follows the turning point scene between Amalia and Georg, where his one kind act helps the characters discover who each other are.
“Find your stylish vintage or vintage inspired look.”
- The Way We Wore Vintage Clothing Boutique: Used designer clothes, shoes & accessories from every era, plus a library of vintage swatches.
Address: 334 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
- Elsewhere Vintage: “Authentic Vintage & Vintage-style clothing & accessories to make you stand or help you find the perfect vintage gift for that special someone!” Find excellent condition vintage clothing from 1900 to 1990. The store has rare and collectible to modern trend inspirations. You can find clothing organized with the sizing labeled at the top of the hangers for convenience.
Address: 105 W Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92866
MEN’S VINTAGE just next door at Joyride Vintage
- Joyride: Vintage for Men: Right next door to Elsewhere Vintage “Victorian to 1970s men’s clothing & accessories, military uniforms & collectibles, oddities, vintage/new hats & hat services (custom hats from scratch, re-blocking/stretching, cleaning, ribbon replacement, etc.) & so much more!”
Address: 109 W Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92866
- Unique Vintage: Clothing store featuring vintage-inspired women’s separates & dresses plus men’s shirts & hats.
“Fashion of the 1930s brought a softer, more feminine look back after a decade of drop-waist flapper styles. Find your flirty ‘30s dresses, shoes, and accessories in the 1930s Collection at Unique Vintage.” Everything is new, just with a vintage style!
Address: 2013 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506
- Atelier Mela: Fine Millinery and Sewing Studio with ready to wear hats in-store and custom piece styling
Address: 109 E Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832
“Modern retail store and design studio featuring modern, handcrafted artisanal fragrance brands, all formulator founded and based in California. Located in Beverly Grove, guests are welcomed to experience a new style of scent curation, along with a wide selection of premium botanical essences.”
Clean Scents: showcasing fragrance brands that commit to clean beauty standards and practices
Natural Perfume Making w/ Jessica Hannah
Sunday, February 23, 2020
10 am-1 pm at Orris Perfumery
7970 1/2 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles
Amalia Balash, the main lead is often outfitted in lavender and lilac tones, coordinated with a palette of yellow. These same colors are reflected in the set design such as the Maraczek’s sign on the outside of the building. The color trend of spring 2020 is shades of lavender and lilac.
Hat: Olive & Pique Vida Boater Hat in Lavender. I bought this hat in person at one of my favorite boutique stores Love Lola in Newport Beach. I saw this lavender hat also being sold by the Blue Skies Hat Boutique at SOCO. You can buy it online in a variety of colors or buy the lavender one from Paisley Reese.
“For right before my eyes
A man that I despise
Has turned into a man I like!
It’s almost like a dream
And strange as it may seem,
He came to offer me
Vanilla Ice Cream!!!”
– Amalia, “Vanilla Ice Cream”
I like how Alex chose to put Amalia in flutter sleeve pajamas during act two. I wore my Selfie Leslie Pink Mauve dress that has similar sleeve detailing in a modern silhouette to some ice cream shops around town like Atomic Creamery and Baccio Di Latte.
The Little Market is a nonprofit founded by women to empower women. Shop handmade fair trade products created by artisans around the world. Right now, The Little Market has a pop-up location in Fashion Island near Barnes and Noble.
Earrings: The Little Market Layered Tassel Earrings in Mauve
Tote: The Little Market Gift Tote – I Love You in Medium
Candle: The Little Market Vanilla Candle “Sweet lovers will enjoy this delicious vanilla fragrance. Each purchase supports female refugees at Prosperity Candle in the United States.” If you go get the candle in one of the stores (Newport Beach or Pacific Palisades) while you shop (depening how busy it is) you can get a custom label for your candle made right there. You can also order personalizations or total customizations online.
Ice Cream Pint: Coolhaus Dairy Free Vanilla -Tahitian and Madagascar vanilla bean frozen dessert (dairy-free and gluten-free)
Other Ice Cream Store-Bought Options: Craig’s Killa Vanilla (Vegan and Gluten Free), So Delicious Vanilla Bean (Vegan and Gluten-Free), NadaMoo Vanilla (Vegan and Gluten-Free), 365 Vanilla Bean (Vegan and Gluten-Free), and Halo Top Vanilla Maple (Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free).
Homemade Ice Cream
The best way to ensure your ice cream is clean, fresh, and made without preservatives is to make your own. It is easier than you think when you have an ice cream maker such as the Pink Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker! This vanilla ice cream is delicious alone or on top of a warm brownie or waffle. One of my favorite brownie recipes is the gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined-sugar-free recipe from Sweet Laurel.
Paleo Vanilla Ice Cream
“Made with only 5 ingredients, this delicious cold treat can be enjoyed by just about everyone! It’s vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo with zero refined sugar! Plus it only takes 5 minutes of active prep!”
Prep time: 5 mins // Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Makes about 1 pint of ice cream
Special Thanks to Joy Food Sunshine for this recipe.
- 1 14 oz can full-fat coconut milk or cream
- ¼ cup honey (maple syrup for vegan)
- ¼ cup almond butter
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Place all ingredients into a high-powered blender in the order listed.
- Blend on high for 30 seconds, or until smooth and mixture is homogenous.
- Turn on your ice cream maker.
- Pour mixture directly from the blender into the ice cream maker while it is moving.
- Let the ice cream churn for about 20-25 minutes until it becomes a firm ball or the ice cream maker stops rotating.
- Transfer to an airtight, freezer-friendly container and freeze for at least 1 hour, or until completely frozen.
- Enjoy yourself or with a dear friend.
Pre-show dining drinks and treats.
Located at the Segerstrom Center Outdoor Plaza walking distance from South Coast Repertory. Take a short stroll around the corner from SCR’s box office.
Enjoy a mini cup of Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate before seeing She Loves Me.
NOT open before SCR shows on 11th, 15th matinee, 16th evening, 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st
The entire menu is vegan and gluten-free
9426 Washington Blvd Culver City, CA 90032
8 am – 6 pm
Rustic chic aesthetic. Seating inside and out in the courtyard. Great meetups for morning, afternoon, and brunch. A great assortment of flatbreads, bowls, juices, lattes, and sweets all beautifully and stylishly presented. The menu is all vegan and gluten-free from renowned chef Matthew Kinney. It is next to the ArcLight movie theater and near Coldstone Creamery. The historic Culver Hotel is nearby too. For a dairy-free and gluten-free ice cream option, take the short drive to Coolhaus in Culver City.
Accessory Box: Candy Pink Jewelry Cube by Tonic. I love this accessory box that comes with different zippered sections to protect and transport jewelry. The top has a section for your rings. This is my version of the musical cigarette box that Amalia claims is a candy box in Act 1. I thought this box was appropriately named “candy pink.” The light pink one is sold by BHLDN.
Watch: Fossil Women’s Mini Charlie Hot Pink Strap Watch 28mm with Love second hand and mother of pearl details. This watch reminds me to love everyone and each passing second is a moment to love more.
Top: WAYF Juniper Floral Gathered Top aka Liza Long Sleeve Smocked Peplum Top
Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Zappos
Hat: Brixton Wesley Fedora in Heather Grey
Necklace: Francesca’s Gabriella Open Heart Pendant Necklace
Necklace: Francesca’s Juliet Pave Hearts Pendant Necklace
Earrings: Style & Co Gold Tone Beaded Linear Drop Earrings, Macy’s in Fuchsia
K.I.T. (Keep in Touch)
“Please keep in touch, Do keep in touch, Won’t you?”
“Goodbye, Georg” lyrics from She Loves Me
1617 Westcliff Dr #103, Newport Beach, CA 92660
6 am – 6 pm
Busy, modern meetup featuring craft espresso, tea & sweet & savory toasts in a stylish, bright, airy interior. Light breakfast and lunch entrees. Coffee gifts, chocolate, cards, and a nice selection of indoor plants available for purchase. Indoor and outdoor seating.
“The next thing I know, I’m sipping hot chocolate and telling my troubles to Paul
Whose tender brown eyes kept sending compassionate looks.
A trip to the library has made a new girl of me.
For suddenly I can see the magic of books!”
-Ilona, “A Trip to the Library”
Ilona played by Marlene Martinez meets Paul a kind bespectacled optometrist at the library. They enjoy savoring hot chocolate together and she falls in love with him after he reads to her all night. Meetup at The Huntington Library or the Los Angeles Central Library for an adventure and get some hot chocolate.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Library Main Exhibition Hall
1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108
10 am-5 pm, Closed on Tuesdays
The Huntington Library is world renown as one of the greatest research libraries with over eleven million items from the 11th to 21st centuries. Enjoy the exquisite botanical gardens, art exhibits and the grandeur of another era. See historical documents in the library exhibition hall such as the Civil War Letter from Abraham Lincoln. Numerous dining and tea options on site.
Los Angeles Central Library
Goodhue Building, Rotunda
630 W 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Monday-Thursday 10 am – 8 pm, Friday and Saturday 9:30 am – 5:30 pm,
Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm
Visit this architectural landmark combining the history of the original 1926 library and 1993 addition. See the Rotunda’s decorated muraled ceiling with the Zodiac Chandelier, sculptures, and art. Go outside and see the surrounding Maguire Gardens with fountains, lawns, and benches.
If you are in the area you can also go visit The Last Bookstore (0.4 miles away) for more literary adventures.
Taste and Indulge
Special Hot Chocolate Treats
- Demitasse’s Liquid Lavender Hot Chocolate
Locatons: DTLA, Santa Monica, and Mid Wilshire
Enjoy the hot chocolate in person or buy the Lavender Hot Chocolate Kit to make yourself
- Laudree’s Full Service Hot Chocolate
Locations: Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Glendale
You can also enjoy vanilla ice cream with a macaroon.
Laudree in Beverly Hills is completely vegan and has gluten free options.
Make your bookshelf attractive to the eye and functional with plants, stacked boots by color, and items that reflect you.
Planter: Face Plant Planter I love how you can display your glasses on this planter. My planter is filled with succulents and sits in my bookshelf with my blue light blocking glasses ready to grab for work with electronic screens.
Glasses: Ferido Blue Light Blocking Glasses, 2 Pack
In Act 2 of She Loves Me, Ilona exits the parfumiere to meet up with Paul (the optometrist) with her own set of glasses. Today, you can achieve the stylish and functional glasses look with inexpensive blue light blocking glasses. They are so lightweight!
Book: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
“You’ve Got Mail meets How to Eat a Cupcake in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.” I enjoyed reading this book in one afternoon and was delighted that the main character’s signature scent is vanilla. If you like the romantic comedy movie 27 Dresses, this book is for you!
Journal: Dear Friend: Letters to My Best Friend by Journals for the Soul. Amazon Prime!
Pen: Kate Spade New York Black Ink Ballpoint Pen with Matching Gift Box, Colorblock in Pink and Black. Amazon Prime!
Sunglasses: Ted Baker 60mm Metal Aviator Sunglasses in Rose Gold. Nordstrom Rack at 60% off!
Top: La La Land Creative Co Loved Lettuce Edge Tee in Lavender
Necklace: Target SUGARFIX by BaubleBar Crystal Heart Pendant Chain Link Necklace
Journal: Kate Spade Love Bridal Journal with lavender tassle and page edges.
A special thank you to Alex Jaeger, costume designer, for his interview and design illustrations. Congratulations to David Ivers, Director and Artistic Director, for bringing this joyous musical to South Coast Repertory.