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Schoolhouse stages comedy ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

By Staff | Mar 19, 2009

Last Thursday, “Little Shop of Horrors” opened at the Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater to thunderous applause and standing ovations.

If you haven’t seen the musical or the 1986 film adaptation, you’re in for quite a treat with this dark musical comedy, infused with the sounds of 1960s doo-wop and motown.

But even if you’re familiar with the show, the Schoolhouse’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” is a lot of fun and teeming with talented actors and vocalists.

Schoolhouse artistic director Victor Legarreta directed the show, musical direction was by Justin Cowan and Bobby Logue, who introduces all of the Schoolhouse Theater’s productions, was the choreographer.

The scene is set by a trio of beauties (each one named after a 1960s girl group) that act as narrators and commentators throughout the show.

Amanda Lawson (Crystal), Samantha Rotella (Ronnette) and Tammy Truitt as (Chiffon) are a joy to watch and listen to, the bad girls with big attitude and even bigger voices.

Dick Westlake is hilarious as the cantankerous Mr. Mushnik, owner of the skid row flower shop where the clumsy and somewhat geeky Seymour (played spectacularly by Andy Meyers) works with the scantily clad and unlucky Audrey (played by Amanda Martin, complete with the spot-on high-pitched New York accent).

Each down on their luck and secretly pining for each other, Seymour and Audrey work together at Mr. Mushnik’s skid row flower shop.

As always at the Schoolhouse, the cast and crew make the most out of the intimate space with a collapsible set that opens up to show Mr. Mushnik’s run down flower shop and folds closed to show a bleak brick facade littered with newspaper, dented and rusty rubbish bins and Mr. Mushnik’s skid row storefront window, designed by Todd Sherman.

One day, in an attempt to draw some business, Seymour introduces Mr. Mushnik and Audrey to a special plant he had purchased after a mysterious total eclipse of the sun.

The plant, bearing resemblance to a large and colorful venus flytrap, immediately draws attention from passersbys once placed in the window and makes Mushnik’s business boom and Seymour somewhat of an overnight botanical celebrity.

Seymour, desperately in love with Audrey, names the plant Audrey II.

Unfortunately, Seymour has discovered (after accidentally cutting himself) that the secret to what makes this special plant grow is human blood and flesh.

The plant is voiced by Adam Clough and operated by Jayar Garcia.

Garcia, who bravely suits up as Audrey II, is wonderful to watch as he impatiently flips around in his plant pot as Clough begs in a deep baritone “Feed me.”

Clough’s incredible vocal talent and Garcia’s spryness and charisma make for one intimidating, man-eating plant!

After Seymour discovers Audrey II’s special dietary needs, he wants nothing to do with it but he realizes that this new found fame and glory might be a way to win Audrey’s heart for good and take her away from her sadistic dentist boyfriend Orin (a hilarious portrayal by James Lane).

But before he can finally escape the bloodthirsty plant and take Audrey “Somewhere That’s Green,” Seymour has some major decisions to make.

If you’re up for a hysterical romp through the gruesome tale of a man and his plant -complete with sensational vocals from a group of really talented actors- get your tickets now.

The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater will be running “Little Shop of Horrors” until April 4, Monday through Saturday, at 8 p.m.

Tickets cost $30 for adults and $20 for children 16 and under.

If you would like to reserve tickets now, please call the Schoolhouse box office at 472-6862.