2nd Wednesday Theater: The Shop Around the Corner


December 13

A monthly play-reading of rarely-performed classic, undiscovered gems, old chestnuts, and exciting new works. 

On December 13, we will present a staged reading of “The Shop Around the Corner." Admission is free. Ed O’Toole directs.

An adaptation of the 1937 Hungarian play “Parfumerie” by Miklos Lazslo, “The Shop Around the Corner” is a romantic comedy set in Budapest in the 1920s or ‘30s. The film was released in 1940 and starred Margaret Sullavan as Klara Novak and James Stewart as Alfred Kralik, two salespeople working a shop owned by Hugo Matuschek, who was played by Frank Morgan.

“The film is very charming,” said O’Toole. “It’s about friendship and love and the strong bonds that develop when people work together.”

Klara charms her way into a job at the shop as the Christmas shopping season begins, but Alfred, the top salesman, finds her annoying, little realizing that she is the secret pen pal he has been writing to and has fallen in love with. A complicated subplot with some clever twists nearly results in disaster, but all is resolved by Christmas Eve.

“Ralphaelson’s witty, naturalistic dialogue brings to life ordinary people who, like all of us, actually live extraordinary lives. We see our own foibles and faults in each of them, but we also see them at their noble best when the chips are down,” said O’Toole.

“I am thrilled to be working with a fine cast, including Christine Ernst as Klara, Mick Carlon as Alfred, Kiernon McDermott as Vadas, Diane Quaid as Flora, Anna McEntee as Ilona, John Cabral as Pirovitch, Molly Autery as Pepi Katona, and Ryan Field as Rudy,” said O’Toole. “Mary Gyra will narrate.”

This tale of bickering department store clerks—who, unbeknownst to either of them, are secret pen pals with a very different relationship—served as the basis for two subsequent films: “In the Good Old Summertime,” a 1949 musical adaptation set in Chicago and starring Judy Garland, Van Johnson and S.Z. Sakall, and the 1998 film “You’ve Got Mail,” set in New York, with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. In that movie, Meg Ryan’s shop is named “The Shop Around the Corner,” in tribute to the earlier film.

“The Shop Around the Corner” also inspired the 1963 Jerry Bock-Sheldon Harnick Broadway musical, “She Loves Me,” set, again, in Budapest, which was revived on Broadway in 2016.

Weds., December 13, at 7:30pm in the Main Performance Space
FREE admission and $5.00 wine