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October 11, 2011 > Little Shop of Horrors: Don't Feed the Plants!

Little Shop of Horrors: Don't Feed the Plants!

By Jessica Noel Waymire

What price would you pay to rise above your circumstances? Would you kill to get out of a lowly existence? Seymour Krelborn learns a hard lesson about the cost of fame and fortune in Stage 1 Theatre's presentation of Little Shop of Horrors, now running through the end of October.

Little Shop of Horrors, directed by Belinda Maloney, is a 1950s-styled rock musical as well as a story with a moral lesson. Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, the plot of the musical is a mix of horror, tragedy, comedy, and science fiction. The play is set in the urban slums, "Skid Row," and features a terrific cast of characters.

Seymour Krelborn, played by David Irving, is a poor, gentle, nerdy guy. He was an orphan, abandoned in a home for boys, until Mr. Mushnik (Ray D'Ambrosio) took him in and put him to work in his skid row flower shop. The beautiful Audrey, played by Steph Peek, joins bumbling Seymour in the shop; she is not the sharpest crayon in the box and suffers regularly at the hands of her sadistic boyfriend, Orin Scrivello, D.D.S (Jay Crispell).

The little shop is on the verge of closing when Seymour reveals a "strange and interesting plant" that begins to attract customers and news crews when strategically placed in the shop window. Seymour is an overnight success, but at a very high price: the plant requires blood to grow. When will the plant's voracious, carnivorous appetite become too much for Seymour?

All of the characters struggle with the same difficulty: how to rise above their situation. Audrey dreams of a little house in the suburbs complete with a toaster and a flagstone patio. Seymour pines for Audrey but feels that he must become financially successful in order for her to notice him. Mr. Mushnik manipulates Seymour so that he can ride the coattails of his fame. These desires present conflicts and the moral lesson becomes very clear in the end, "no matter what they offer you, don't feed the plants!"

The set and costumes perfectly reflect the placement and mood of the play. The shop is very rundown. There are winos, bums, and litter strewn about the landscape. The costumes of the street urchins who served as the chorus shifted in response to the action of the story-dark dresses when the mood becomes sinister, green for monetary success. The cast is full of very talented singers, especially Steph Peek, who is a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice. Jay Crispell fully embodies the role of the abusive dentist and boyfriend to Audrey. The choreography and growth of the plant was very well done.

This show is a great opening to the 2011-2012 season at Stage 1 Theatre. Though a darker comedy with some mild portrayals of violence, it is suitable for the whole family. Pick up a few tickets and come join the fun of Community Theater at Stage 1 in Newark. You'll be glad you did. Just remember, "Don't feed the plants!"

Little Shop of Horrors
October 14, 15, 21, 22
8:00 p.m.
October 9, 16
2:30 p.m.
Newark Memorial High School
39375 Cedar Blvd., Newark
(510) 791-0287

Students 17 and Under: $10
Adults: $20
Groups of 12 or More: $18 per person

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