Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Little Shop of Horrors"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2004 by Tony Annicone

"Little Shop of Horrors"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Bay Colony Productions current show is the musical "Little Shop of Horrors" which is based on the 1960 Roger Corman film. It is the story of Seymour Krelbourn, a meek Skid Row florist who makes a pact with a tiny plant to win the heart of Audrey, the girl he loves. Soon money pours in because of this strange and unusual plant, making Seymour into a celebrity. But behind the glamour and fame lies a secret Seymour can't reveal. The plant's favorite food is human blood. The plant might have a hidden agenda in this boy meets girl, plant eats world campy musical comedy set in the 1950's. Director Bill Cunningham, musical director Rob Goldman and choreographer Marianne Lonati lead this talented cast as they act, sing and dance their way into the audience's hearts on a fun filled journey to Skid Row in New York City.

Bill not only directs this show but is the voice of the plant and what a magnificent voice he has. He is well known as the managing director of the Orpheum Theatre as well as his own theatre group, Bay Colony so it is a rare treat to hear Bill perform in a show and this one shows off his voice perfectly. His voice soars in the rollicking duet, "Feed Me" with Seymour as well as in the menancing, "Suppertime" where the plant wants to eat everyone in sight. Michael Teixeira not only is the production manager and lighting designer but the puppeteer who operates the plant. His technical work is always topnotch but his movements when the plant is dancing or chewing up one of its vicitims, is a sight to behold. Thanks for the many humorous moments as Audrey II. Rob Goldman leads his four piece orchestra, while playing the keyboards in many various song types including a calypso song, an Elvis type song and a tango. He also taught the vocalists their numbers including the three part harmony in the urchins numbers. Rob's work is always excellent and this show is no exception to that rule. The final touch to a 50's show is the dance steps supplied by Marianne. One of the funniest is the tango between Seymour and Mushnick. Once again the three collaborators produce an outstanding show in Foxboro. ( A word of praise for the fantastic set with the flowershop, the skid row setting, the dentist's office and the wonderfully painted backdrop designed by Ed Dimarzio and Laura McPherson as well as kudos to the hardworking Dan Kozar who always supplies fabulous costumes to every show he works on. )

Michael Hammond is hilarious as the nerdy Seymour. His sympathetic klutz wins the audience over at the start of the show and his wonderful singing and acting keep you entertained all night long as he struggles to win the girl of his dreams and control this overbearing monster of a plant he created. Michael shows off his character voice in his songs and handles this comic role with ease but he is also at home in dramatic roles including Tateh in "Ragtime". (His appearance changed so much from that show I didn't recognize him at all.) Chrissy Fresco does an excellent job as Audrey, the ditsy, dumb blonde with a Betty Boop type voice. She is a gorgeous gal with a powerful voice which she uses to perfection in "Suddenly Seymour" duet with Michael. Chrissy does a great job using her character voice in the beautiful and wistful ballad, "Somewhere That's Green" where she wishes to escape from Skid Row into an ideal sitcom type setting of a house and picket fence. She does a great job in this comic role but has also done dramatic parts including Eva Peron in "Evita".

The three urchin girls are played by Paula Markowicz, Tracy Silva and Jana Sadler.They are like a Greek Chorus set in Brooklyn, who comment on what is happening in the show. These three women have such powerful voices, they will mesmerize you with their three part harmony in "Little Shop", Ya Never Know" and "The Meek Shall Inherit". ( They remind you of the Supremes.) Their dancing and comic acting talents shine, too. (I also saw Tracy and Paula in "Ragtime" where they moved me to tears with their poignant roles. I didn't remember Paula played "Mother" in that show because she looked much different and I was also sitting in the last row.)

Steve Dooner plays Musnik, the flower shop owner. He mistreats Seymour until he realizes the value of the exotic plant and decides to adopt him as his son. Steve shows off his voice in "Musnik and Son", the tango duet with Michael. The standout vocal moment in this song is when Steve does an imitation of Tevye from "Fiddler". Steve is an English and Drama professor at Quincy College and co-wrote a play called "Lizzie of Fall River". The biggest scene stealer in a show of scene stealers is Christian Potts who not only plays Orin, the sadistic dentist but a variety of other characters including a woman. His song, "Dentist" is an Elvis type of song complete with swiveling hips and pelvic thrusts and the three urchins as his backup singers. Christian is a hoot in this role and in his quick costume changing characters in "The Meek Shall Inherit". His accents and voices are well done, so the audience easily understands the different characters he is playing. So for an entertaining evening, be sure to catch "Little Shop Of Horrors" in Foxboro before the plant takes over the world.

"Little Shop of Horrors" ( 12 - 21 March)
Orpheum Theatre, 1 School Street, FOXBORO MA
1 (508) 543-ARTS

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide