Little Shop of Horrors closes NATs season
By Edith McCauley, Theater Critic
Comedy, music, and an outstanding cast combine to make Little Shop of Horrors a smashing closing for NATs 2002-2003 season. Opening at the Skid Row Flower Shop, Chiffon (Shauna Leigh Alexander), Crystal (Aleida Frometa-Preval, and Ronnette (Tieara Myers) in street urchin garb, capture the audience with their doo-wop rendition of Little Shop of Horrors. Setting the tone for the evening with bounce and verve, they become musical narrators.
The inimitable Jim Radloff is Mr. Mushkin, owner of a failing business. His comedic nuances, acquired after years of experience, make him a perfect choice for the role. Audrey (Sara Lifvendahl) reprises her role from the Rockford College production of Little Shop… Her blonde beauty, gorgeous voice and legs that go on forever contrast with her characters abusive relationship with sadist dentist Nicky Bertolino. Arriving onstage garbed in leathers and riding a bright red motorcycle, Orin is only one of the many roles he assumes in the production. His dresser has a busy time backstage.
Michael Herold is Seymour, accidentally creating the monster. The plant from outer space becomes the dominating presence. Derek J. Alexander, seen here last year in Aint Misbehavin, demands to be fed. A menacing basso voice grows louder as twining arms envelop the shop. Doug Beardsley, unseen by the audience, is listed as puppeteer. In actuality, his lithe movements make Audrey ll (the plant) a living reality.
Musical Director Tim Anderson directs and plays the score with his usual panache. Anderson has become a respected musician working throughout the community. His knowledge of local musicians and their work enable him to put together groups appropriate for a specific production. W. Alan Williams wardrobe combines the biker costume of Orin with Audreys miniscule skirt. Period clothes are his forte.
Little Shop of Horrors plays through June 8, but the word is out, it may be extended. Tickets available. Box Office: 964-6282 or on line at www.newamericantheater.com.