Theater Review : Little Shop of Horrors: A spoof of the ’50s

Little Shop of Horrors incorporates nearly every aspect of the popular culture of the 1950s—a group much like The Supremes, a plant from outer space intent on taking over the world, a blonde heroine tipping about on 4-inch heels, and a motorcycle-riding dentist as the abusive Elvis. Opening at The Armory in Janesville, Wis., their latest show promises to continue a season of hits. Audiences come to enjoy the fabulous food, excellent service, sophisticated ambience and theater professionally staged.

Director Jim Troop brings together a cast led by Ethan Goldman as Seymour, the nerdish floral assistant, Ken Regez (Mr. Mushnik), whose shop on skid row is in serious financial straits, and Alyssa Trasher as Audrey, blonde and ditsy, but with a heart of gold. Chelsea Waller (Crystal), Lindsey Ridgeway (Chiffon) and Jan Percival (Ronnette) open the show with a rollicking “Little Shop of Horrors.” Their close harmony and doo-wop choreography recall the days of every group from Ray Charles’ back-up singers to The Four Tops. Their costumes are the hip-hugging glitz of The Supremes.

Unseen but essential to the plot are Greg Brumfield as the gravelly-voiced Audrey II. His constant “Feed me!!!” resonates throughout the house. Levi Stubbs, lead singer of The Four Tops, played the role in the film version. The wicked plant growing from a tiny pot to one that encompasses the entire stage is manipulated by Puppeteer Brett J. Frazier. In speaking to Doug Beardsley, puppeteer following the NAT production, he explained the difficulty of coordinating his movements with the actor whose voice made the character realistic.

Eric Michael Robinson as Orin Scrivello, DDS, and several other characters including that of a female editor, makes numerable costume changes in record time. His demise as an addict of “laughing gas” is most appropriate. The scene in his office with Seymour as a reluctant patient is one of the funniest in the show. Cindy Blanc, musical director, with her talented group play the score well, keeping everyone exactly on pitch.

The holiday show Christmas Schooner has been changed to Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. The rights became available, and knowing the popularity of the piece, the decision was made. Little Shop of Horrors plays through Oct. 21 at The Armory. Tickets are available by calling (608) 741-7400 or online at

from the Sept. 19 – 25, 2007, issue

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