Images by Kelly Christofferson New exclusive SacPress images by Barry Wisdom
The Sacramento Theatre Company is ending its 2011-2012 season of “Mystery, Music, and Mayhem" with the return of a huge hit for STC 20-some odd years ago, the highly successful Howard Ashman-Alan Menken collaboration, “Little Shop of Horrors." It won’t be a mystery if this new STC production turns out to be its own smash hit.
As for the music, Ashman’s lyrics and Menken’s music are equally infectious and the cast and band gave a wonderful performance. The two went on to do several successful and award-winning collaborations with Disney.
There is lots of mayhem, mostly of the human-eating plant variety. Ashman’s book is based on Charles B. Griffith’s screenplay for the 1960 Roger Corman B Grade movie of the same name. Barry Wisdom’s preview gives a good background on the show.
The current production is cast well, with several vets of highly successful STC productions and a new rising star.
Andrew J. Perez steals the show as the long suffering Seymour Krelboyne, and that is saying something given this scene-stealing cast. The Sacramento native and product of local youth theatrical training, now having returned from his education at Seattle University, really shows what he can do here. His Seymour is very funny and endearing. Perez sings his parts with a beautiful, clear voice. With this performance Perez’s stock on the Sacramento stages will definitely rise.
Seymour’s unrequited love interest and co-worker Audrey Fuquard is portrayed by Jessica Goldman, who returns to STC following her performance as June in the STC smash hit, “The Musical of Musicals the Musical” It is great to hear Goldman’s voice in Sacramento again. The sweet, simple Audrey is a great role and she shines in it. Her performance of “Somewhere it’s Green” and duet with Perez on “Suddenly Seymour" are simply wonderful.
Audrey’s other love interest, if you could call him that, is the highly abusive Orin Scrivello D.D.S., played by STC favorite William Elsman. Scrivello’s treatment of Audrey leads to him becoming plant food. Elsman opened this season in the title role of “Frankenstein.” He again proves himself fearless in what he will do on stage for a laugh. Besides the role of Orin, Elsman portrays several walk on characters, some in rapid succession. It reached a point where he would walk on the stage as another character and the audience would start laughing before he said a word.
Mr. Mushnik, the proprietor of Mushnik’s Skid Row Florists where most of the action takes place, is played by STC acting company member and one of the most popular actors, Michael RJ Campbell, last seen in “Ruthless” as Sylvia St.Croix.
Speaking with Campbell after the show, he talked about how the role was different than most he portrays, but that this was part of the fun of this show. Never mind that the role may be different than he usually plays, he did a great job.
Campbell had previously worked with Goldman on “Musical of Musicals” and with Elsman on “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure” as Dr. Watson to Elsman’s Sherlock Holmes, along with their drag roles in “Cinderella.”
The strolling backup girls that are like a 60s doo-wop Greek Chorus, Crystal, Ronnette and Chiffon, are played by Miranda Lawson, Ure Egbuho and Gabriella "Ella" Isaguirre, respectively add musical commentary and comedy to action.
Jeffrey Lloyd Heatherly voices Audrey II the killer plant with booming authority while Aaron Hitchcock brings the plant to life with the assistance of Tom Block, Javen Crosby, Dafydd Wynn and Garrick Sigl as assistant puppeteers.
Michael Laun, who has worked several times with several of these actors in the past, keeps pace with Menken’s score in his direction. He has also brought out really great fun, funny performances from his actors.
Jarred Bodensteiner’s set design manages to fit a large-scale production nicely on the STC Mainstage while Jessica Minnihan has a field day with costuming – from the nerdy Seymour to the beautifully, if inappropriately dressed, Audrey, to the many costume changes for William Elsman’s several characters.
“Little Shop of Horrors” is such a fun show to start with and the cast of this Sacramento Theatre Company do the composers proud. It is an all-ages show that had those of every age in near hysterical laughter throughout the show. The show’s approximate running time of just short of two hours with intermission goes so fast. After seeing “Little Shop of Horrors,” you may want to change the ominous lyrics of “Don’t Feed the Plant!” to please, please, feed the plant!
“Little Shop of Horrors” Sacramento Theatre Company Mainstage
April 25-May 20, 2012 Tickets and more information