Director fills in for injured actress in Greater Boston Stage Company’s ‘She Loves Me’

Ilyse Robbins and Bransen Gates in “She Loves Me.”
Kelly Gaudet
Ilyse Robbins and Bransen Gates in “She Loves Me.”

What now?

That was Ilyse Robbins’s reaction after hearing that actress Kirsten Salpini, who played multiple characters in the Greater Boston Stage Company’s production of “She Loves Me,” had been badly injured in a hit-and-run car accident.

Robbins is the show’s director and choreographer, and there were two performances that day. She knew the show — or shows — must go on, but how?


“I was talking to the artistic director, and he said, ‘What do you think we should do?’ ” Robbins said. “And I said, ‘I think I have to go on.’ ”

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So she did, sharing Salpini’s roles with the show’s dance captain, Sara Coombs. Being the director and choreographer, Robbins obviously had a leg up in learning Salpini’s part. In all, she appeared in three performances, and thinks they went well.

“Honestly, I think they were pretty seamless,” Robbins said. “They felt pretty flawless.”

Robbins has since found a replacement for Salpini — actress Hannah Shihdanian, with whom she worked on a production of “Mame” and who was able to learn the part in three hours. If you’re wondering about Salpini, she suffered a broken foot and a concussion, but she’s getting better.

“I’ve talked to her almost every day since the accident,” says Robbins. “It was bad, but she’s definitely on the mend.”


“She Loves Me” runs through Dec. 23.

Terence Cawley can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @terence_cawley