‘Love Story’ show crosses an ocean

After being a novel, movie and successful musical in London, “Love Story” is making its American debut at the Walnut Street Theatre.

“Love Story, The Musical” is making its American debut at the Walnut Street Theatre after success in Chichester’s Minerva Theatre in London. America’s oldest theater opened its 204th season with the show, which is playing through Oct. 21.

“Love Story, The Musical” tells the story of two young college graduates meeting unexpectedly and falling in love. The musical shows the way love manages to overshadow the young couple’s financial differences and unforeseen problems that occur.

Originally a romance novel written by Erich Segal in 1970, “Love Story” tells the tale of two struggling young romantics from different walks of life. It was transformed into an Academy Award winning movie years later. Rending the same iconic romantic journey, “Love Story” brings a more intimate experience to live theater.

Lisa Marie Gargione, an ensemble member in the production “Love Story,” said the musical is the ‘60s generational love story.

“If ‘The Notebook’ is our love story, then ‘Love Story’ is our parents’ love story,” Gargione said.

Fellow ensemble member Charles Hagerty said what makes the musical more intimate and special is the touch of live music audience members get to experience.

“It’s something about singing and music on stage that audience members will buy into,” Hagerty said. “The music taps into emotions that are hard to express in just a screen shot of the face or dialogue, it kicks [the emotion] up another level.”

Gargione said she feels similarly about the musical element.

“Music has such a wonderful way of filling in a void or feeling in the gaps of emotions that you might not feel when watching a movie,” Gargione said. “The music adds layers to the [production]. The music brings the story to life.”

The original production crew for the “Love Story” performance in London was involved in America’s production with director Annabel Bolton.

“[Bolton] the director, which is very rare for a director, was not one to raise her voice ever or to get flustered with us,” Hagerty said. “She kept everything calm and was very calm, which is very rare in our profession.”

Gargione praised Bolton for her work on the show.

“[Bolton] treated ‘Love Story’ as a precious little love story and was very delicate,” Gargione said. “She really worked with each and every one of us.”

Gargione said “Love Story” is powerful, despite many audience members already being familiar with the plot.

“Most of the audience members that come to the show have already seen the movie and know what is going to happen,” Gargione said. “But, the fact that audience members still go on this journey with us and still get affected the way they do, is beautiful.”

Desirae Holland can be reached at desirae.holland@temple.edu.

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