Little Shop of Horrors
Cardinal Stage Company Randy White, Director; Eric Anderson, Jr., Musical Director; Esther Widlanski, Choreography; C. David Higgins, Set Design
John Waldron Arts Center Auditorium
April 30- May 16, 2010
The Cardinal Stage Company wraps up their season with a thoroughly successful and involving production of Little Shop of Horrors. Book and lyrics are by IU graduate Howard Ashman with music by Alan Menken.
The Main Cast
Masterly actor and singer Scot Greenwell was thoroughly believable as Seymour, the nerdy shop flower shop assistant who discovers the carnivorous plant and rides it to a grand guignol sort of fame.
Though there’s a good deal more of upper New England than the lower East Side in Ken Farrell’s shop owner Mushnik, his antic dance as he sought to bind the increasingly successful Seymour to the shop is a funny comic mixture of Tevyeah the Milkman and Zorba the Greek.
Brett Gloden is every bit as menacing, sympathetic and silly as you could want as the sadistic dentist. He appears again later as whole quintet of appealing bit players in the drama: these roles range from a street wino to Life Magazine’s Clare Booth Luce.
As the hapless, self-loathing bimbo, Audrey, Naomi Weiss is simply one of the best actors you are ever likely to see. She is always on the mark. Her delivery is just perfect in “Somewhere That’s Green,” the show’s hilarious yet touching song about life in the suburbs.
The Supporting Players
In any production of Little Shop, The Urchins, a trio of singers each named after a fifies girl group, are a hit. This one sets the mark high. They sing their brief solos and harmonies beautifully. Saturday night, regulars Linzi Robinson and Charnette Batey were joined by Ariel Simpson as Terrilyn Dennie was singing with the IU Soul Revue.
The Soul Revue also kept away Justin Merrick, who’s usually the menacing voice of Audrey II, the man eating plant. Saturday’s audience had no complaints, though, with Corey Pariseau’s winning performance.
The set is by IU Opera Theater’s C. David Higgins. It nicely depicts the dismal street scene of Skid Row, with details like grafitti and a dog-decorated fire hydrant. It opens up for a view of the even more dismal interior of Mushnik’s flower shop.
Cardinal Stage Company’s Artistic Director Randy White has said that directing the show is the culmination of a twenty-year dream – and a dream of a production it certainly is. The music direction is by Eric Anderson, Jr. who also leads the five piece band. Choreography is by Esther Widlanski.
• For more about Little Shop of Horrors, Listen to an interview with Widlanski and singer Terrilyn Dennie.