Monthly Archive for: ‘February, 2014’
Little Shop of Horrors: Music by Alan Menken. Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman. Foothill Music Theatre. Direction by Milissa Carey. Lohman Theater, Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Alto Hills, CA. 650-949-7360 or www.foothillmusicals.com. Rating: (5/5 stars)
February 20-March 9, 2014
Little Shop of Horrors an exuberant pastiche at Foothill College
It always a pleasure to take the drive down to Foothill College to see the latest show they are mounting in one of their two theaters. This time they are staging the hilarious tongue-in-cheek anthropomorphic/horror/black comedy musical Little Shop of Horrors in the intimate Lohman Theater. They are using every inch of space including the aisle between row one and the stage as a runway/performing area. You cannot get more intimate than that.
The first to cavort on that space are the Urchin Trio, three attractive young ladies Chiffon, Crystal and Ronette (marvelous Melisa Baxter, Lyn Mehe’ula and Megan Coomans in that order) singing the doo-wop prologue before the company joins in with the Motown type hit “Skid Row” that is better known as “DownTown.” These young ladies are sort of a Greek Chorus that weaves in and out of the story. The show is backed up by a five piece off-stage band.
That storyline is a humdinger and began as a 1960 black and white Roger Corman cult classic film that included the young Jack Nicholson in a minor but necessary role. Alan Menken and Howard Ashman converted it into the musical. They fine-tuned it through a series of workshops eventually it ran off-Broadway for 2200 performances. It is now probably a staple of every community musical theatre in the U.S. Broadway by the Bay recently gave it a terrific performance and it is scheduled for the Altarena Playhouse later this year.
But you do not have to wait for that production since Foothill has mounted an audience pleasing winner despite some technical glitches that surely will be overcome with more rehearsal.
The action takes place in Skid Row, NY where Seymour (a first-rate Adam Cotugno) our erstwhile hero/protagonist works in a financially floundering Flower Shop owned by Mr. Mushnik (Alex Perez) and with ditzy co-worker Audrey (Adrienne Walters with a dandy voice to match her comic demeanor).
Hapless Seymour has found an exotic plant that he names “Audrey II” in honor of his secret love Audrey. How was he to know that the innocuous strange looking plant feeds on blood! Well, it does but as “Audrey II” grows and grows it requires, nay it demands blood and flesh and Seymour obeys. Even creepier, “Audrey II” can talk and sing in a sonorous basso voice (James Devreaux Lewis).
The creature is played by a series of puppets that increase in size eventually filling almost all of center stage. (Accolades go to the hidden puppeteers David Kirk and Erik Scilley). As Seymour nurses the small plotted plant into a humongous size big enough to swallow a whole person he becomes famous and rich and the flower shop flourishes!! Yes, people do get swallowed up but you will have to go see the show to find out who and when leading to a hysterical finale.)
Integral to the plot is Orin Scivello (rugged Jeff Clarke) a sadistic dentist [aren’t they all?] who is sort of loved in a masochistic way by our heroine Audrey (I not II!!) and is Seymour’s competition for Audrey I’s affection. I guess you can call it a romantic tale but that would be stretching the definition a bit far even though there are two great love songs, “Somewhere That’s Green”, and “Suddenly, Seymour” that you may be humming when you stop laughing and leave the theater.
The large cast includes Skid Row denizens, winos, joggers, shoppers, delivery guy, cop and plant victims. They perform with a wide range of competence with director Melissa Carey giving them latitude to emote as she moves them effectively around the small acting areas. Running time is a fast, furious, fun-filled two hours with an intermission.
Cast: Adam Cotugno, Adrienne Walters, Alex Perez, Jeff Clarke, James Devreaux Lewis, Lyn Mehe’ula, Melissa Baxter, Megan Coomans, William Bowmen, Cassandra Grilley, Nicholas Mandracchia, Davied Morales, Caitlyn Prather, Patrick Ross, Holly Smolik, Nicholas Mandracchia, and Puppeteers David Kirk, Erik Scilley.
Production Staff: Direction by Milissa Carey; Musical direction by Dolores Duran-Cefalu; Choreography by Amanda Folena; Scenic Designer Yusuke Soi; Lighting Designer Michael Rooney; Costume Designer Margaret Toomey; Sound Designer Ken Kilen; Orchestrations Robert Merkin; Vocal Arrangements Robert Billig
Kedar K. Adour, MD
Courtesy of www.theatreworldinternetmagazine.com.