The Guptill family first opened its barn doors to theater patrons 45 years ago, when executive producer Michael Guptill was a young man performing on the stage. The Hackmatack Playhouse is kicking off this anniversary season with the fittingly nostalgic “She Loves Me.” Soaring harmonies and a good, old-fashioned love story make the charming romantic comedy as elegant and sweet as a carton of hand-packed vanilla ice cream.

A five-piece band, directed by Kenneth Griffith, sets the mood, opening with a wistful violin solo by Victoria Hulbert. One by one, the audience meets Hackmatack’s endearing cast of European parfumerie shop employees as they arrive and greet each other outside Maraczek’s Parfumerie, owned by Mr. Maraczek (Paul Strand). Arpad Laszlo (Will Lombard) arrives on his delivery bike, followed by the clerks, Ladislav Sipos (Mike Buck), Ilona Ritter (Rachel Noland), Steven Kodaly (Alec Paulson) and Georg Nowack (Marcus Provost). The inviting harmonies of the sung salutation, “Good Morning, Good Day,” build with the addition of each new character.

Jerry Bock’s score cleverly establishes their harmonious relationship. They work in unison, with each customer’s visit culminating with the four clerks lining up to sing a barbershop quartet-like farewell to the departing customer on “Thank You, Madam.”

The harmony-filled music connects the characters like a stream, bubbling to the surface. Hackmatack’s cast, under the direction of Danielle Howard, delivers a delightful rendition of “Sounds While Selling,” bringing a smile as the melodious parts blend, amusingly combining the lyrics at the end of each stanza. This shop-based fun is revisited as carolers, customers and clerks count down to Christmas in Act 2 on “Twelve Days to Christmas.”

Love blossoms at the parfumerie, but not without encountering thorns that prick the sweet harmony of the shop. The new shop clerk, Amalia Balash (Laura Cantwell), sweet-talks her way into a job at the parfumerie on “No More Candy,” instantly sparking friction with the head clerk, Mr. Nowack.

Mistaken identity abounds as Amalia and Mr. Nowack – who have both been corresponding with a pen pal from a “lonely hearts advertisement” – each fall in love with their “dear friend,” unaware of the true identities of their secret paramours.

Cantwell is effervescent as Amalia, delivering a crystal-clear vocal performance on “Will He Like Me?” and trilling out the high soprano notes on the irresistible “Vanilla Ice Cream.” Provost is equally engaging as Mr. Nowack, delivering disarming humor and a smooth tenor vocal on “Tonight at Eight” and capturing hearts with “She Loves Me.”

Paulson also stands out as Mr. Kodaly, delivering rich harmony vocals on the barbershop quartet numbers.

Along with the seven principal members, the cast includes an eight-member ensemble and supporting cast. Ben Hanley is a delight as the restaurant bus boy, executing a variety of dance moves that include Russian dance and highflying splits.

Dane Leeman’s set adds to the overall charm of the production, folding out like a dollhouse. The design lets the audience peer into various aspects of the characters’ lives, further endearing them in the hearts of the audience.

“She Loves Me” has a lingering sweetness that’s hard to resist. And its simple elegance is a good fit for the rustic Hackmatack Playhouse.

April Boyle is a freelance writer from Casco. Contact her at:

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Twitter: @ahboyle