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MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre and The MTM Players Open Holiday Season With Holiday Classic ‘Parfumerie’ Nov. 24 - Dec. 3

The play that inspired "You’ve Got Mail" and "The Shop Around the Corner"

WEST WINDSOR, NJ -- Ring in the holidays with the classic play that inspired a Tony Award-winning musical and multiple iconic films when Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre and The MTM Players present Parfumerie, Nov. 24 - Dec. 3 on MCCC’s West Windsor campus.

This warm, gentle comedy set in 1937 Budapest, Hungary follows the tangled tale of parfumerie employee George Horvath, fired just days before Christmas when his boss mistakenly suspects him of having an affair with his wife. Meanwhile, George's own love life goes awry when he discovers that the stranger he has fallen in love with through a secret correspondence is none other than Amalia Balash, a co-worker with whom he constantly feuds. For the employees of the parfumerie, only the truth can lead to a happy resolution in this old-fashioned, romantic Christmas tale.

The show was adapted by E.P. Dowdall – the nephew of the original playwright – from the original Hungarian play “ Illatszertár,” penned by Miklós László and translated into English by his aunt, Florence László. The original story has gone on to be embraced by millions of audience members as the source material for three movies: The Shop Around the Corner (1940), starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan; In the Good Old Summertime (1949), starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson; and You’ve Got Mail (1998), starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. The play was also adapted for the 1962 Bock and Harnick Broadway musical She Loves Me – with subsequent revivals in 1993 and 2016 – garnering multiple Tony Awards.

Dowdall is slated to attend the Nov. 24 performance and meet with audience members during an opening night gala and reception with cast and crew following the performance. An interview with Dowdall, conducted by producer/director Rob Michael Lasky, is available on The MTM Players website at Dowdall shares stories of his uncle, how the story was translated, and other insights into the making and transformation of this iconic holiday tale.

The cast features Lew Gantwerk of Princeton, NJ, as Miklos Hammerschmidt; Paul Rahter of Haddon Twp., NJ, as George Horvath; Angela Robb of Philadelphia, Pa., as Amalia Balash; Barry Leonard of Old Bridge, NJ, as Mr. Sipos; Sean Robbins of Lawrenceville, NJ, as Arpad Novak; Mark Violi of Hamilton, NJ, as Steven Kadar; Jenna Moschella of Hamilton, NJ, as Ilona Ritter; Laura Dalston of East Brunswick, NJ, as Elizabeth Molnar; Joey Violi of Hamilton, NJ, as Fritz; and Jim Gardner of Titusville, NJ, as the Detective.

The ensemble cast rounds out with Karen Bowden of Lakewood, NJ, Brian Wurtz of Levittown, Pa., Philip Rieschick of Hamilton, NJ, and Katherine Rodriguez of Hamilton, NJ, as shop customers. Additionally, the cast includes some special guests: Director Rob Michael Lasky of New Egypt, NJ, as the Policeman; Stage Manager Rachel Jenkins of Ewing, NJ, as the Young Girl; and in a very special appearance – the current President of Mercer County Community College, Dr. Deborah Preston of Lawrenceville, NJ, as a customer.

The show is produced by Rob Michael Lasky and Deb Lasky, and directed by Rob Michael Lasky. Other members of the production team are Stage Manager Rachel Jenkins, Set Designer Shawn Simmons, Lighting Designer Kitty Getlik, Sound Engineer Jadyn Toleno, Costume Designer Anthony Remer, Prop Mistress Deb Lasky, and Assistant Stage Managers Nathalie Wijaya and Katherine Rodriguez.

Performance Dates and Ticket Information:

Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 24-25 and Dec. 1-2 at 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 25-26 and Dec. 2-3, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $22 for adults and $20 for seniors, veterans, military, and students, and may be purchased online at or by calling the Kelsey Box Office Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. - noon, at (609) 570-3333.

For media inquiries, interviews, or press passes, please contact: Ruth Markoe (609) 915-6409.

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Kelsey Theatre is located on the MCCC campus at 1200 Old Trenton Road in West Windsor Township. The theatre is wheelchair accessible and free parking is available next to the theatre. Assisted listening devices are available upon request. For a complete listing of events, visit the Kelsey website at or call the box office for a brochure.

At Kelsey Theatre, we have pledged to take active steps in creating true diversity, equity and inclusion in our productions through systemic policy change and individual accountability -- aiming to foster an inclusive environment for people of all races, genders, nationalities, creeds, sexual orientation, socio-economic status and abilities.” –The Kelsey Team

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