Miklòs Laszlò from the English translation by Florence Laszlò adapted by E P Dowall
It is just days before Christmas and Miklós Hammerschmidt, owner of the Parfumerie, mistakenly suspects employee George Horváth of being his unfaithful wife’s lover. Meanwhile, George discovers that the stranger he has fallen in love with, through a secret correspondence, is none other than Amália Balás, a co-worker with whom he constantly feuds. Only truth can lead to a happy resolution in this old-fashioned, charming Christmas tale, which has all the ingredients of conflict, humour, betrayal, intrigue, and romance to make this an enjoyable evening.
Of German-Jewish origin, Miklós László was born as Nicholas Leitner in Budapest in 1903. In 1938, he emigrated to New York, where he worked as an author and playwright – for MGM, amongst others – until his death in 1973. His most famous play, Illatszertár (Parfumerie) was first produced in Pest in 1937. In 1940, Ernst Lubitsch turned it into a film, The Shop Around the Corner, with James Stewart, Frank Morgan and Margaret Sullivan. With the shop transferred into 1930s Chicago, it became In the Good Old Summertime, a musical film with Judy Garland and Van Johnson, nine years later. A further successful musical, She Loves Me, conquered Broadway in 1963, and was revived for more than 350 shows in 1993. A recent film version, You’ve Got Mail, was produced with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as recently as 1998. A memorable production of the play, this time based on the script for the Lubitsch film, was produced in Paris in 2001 and garnished with another shower of awards. Yet, it was only in 2009 that Parfumerie was first produced as a stage play in English in the U.S.A. and Canada. For this László’s nephew EP Dowdall produced a new adaptation of the original text.