Through October 31|
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS O’Connell & Company/Park School
Sometimes, the plants fight back.
At least Audrey II does.
That’s the plant from the “Little Shop of Horrors,” from the design imagination of Brett Runyon into the progressively larger plant which will thin the planet’s population.
O’Connell & Company is using the musical stage imagination of hitmakers Howard Ashman and Alan Menken to produce one of the best shows the company has ever done.
Everyone mostly knows the story, the little shop in Lower Manhattan, created in a 1960 Roger Corman movie, using the rookie acting skills of Jack Nicholson.
Ashman and Menken turned it into the musical being staged by O’Connell & Company.
It’s a love story, actually two.
Seymour (Matthew Mooney) loves the growing plant he has discovered and nurtured into a window display for Mr. Mushnik’s failing flower shop.
Seymour is also in love with the only other employee, Audrey (Jenny Marie McCabe), who takes a long time to realize what’s going on.
The essential problem with Audrey II is the creature’s need for food, not surprising, just that there is a need for a specific food.
That’s human blood and Seymour solves the problem by starting with bad people and moving into people he loves to keep the plant alive.
The cast members show they know bad things, starting with “Skid Row (Downtown)” about the poverty-ridden neighborhood Mushnik (Dan Morris) is operating in, with Seymour as a near-slave in the back room.
Audrey is the weak employee working front of the shop.
In an in-joke about the times, the story is really told by three women from the block, Chiffon (Smirna Mercedes-Perez), Crystal (Marta Aracelis) and Ronnette (Emily Pici).
The Chiffons, the Crystals and the Ronettes were hot “girl groups” at the time of the original movie.
Joey Bucheker is director and choreographer.
Having the same person in both jobs can be very productive because both have the same view of the material.
Here, Bucheker is working with a well-drilled cast, particularly Chiffon, Crystal and Ronnette.
He also has strong efforts from Zachary Haumesser, Ben Caldwell and Matthew Myers to make Audrey II perform.
Okay, is “Little Shop of Horrors” worth seeing?
Oh, yes, as long as you aren’t looking for some great look into existentialism.
Clearly any movie story from Roger Corman is likely in that category.
Just sit back and relax and don’t get too close to the plant to examine it.
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