Little Shop of Horrors - Musical Review
Watertown Lyric Theater Makes a Triumphant Return
WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY)
After a hiatus of over two years, due to the pandemic, Watertown Lyric Theater is back with a terrific production of a musical theater classic, Little Shop of Horrors.
First produced off-off Broadway and then moved to OFF-Broadway, for a record five-year run, where I saw it originally as a lad, this has always been one of my favorite shows and I have seen several productions of it, and this production from WLT is great.
Set in the faraway land of the 1950′s Skid Row, a mythical “wrong side of the tracks” urban neighborhood, it is the tale of plant geek Seymour (Ryan De Tomi) who works at the Mushnik flower shop where he hopelessly crushes on sweet co-worker Audrey (Delaney Keppner) who is abused by her rotten boyfriend, Orin Scrivello (Edmund Beese), a dentist who loves to inflict pain.
Infused with a catchy score from the Oscar winning team of Ashman and Menken Little Shop is structured like a twisted dark comic fairytale or fable. But the kitsch and the absurdity of a man-eating plant never weaken the impact of this show’s story, which deals with morality, sacrifice, greed, fate and the allure and danger of fame.
The show is well cast and as always WLT, under the direction of musical director Jonathan Cole delivers impeccable vocals. Watertown’s musical theater treasure, Daniel Davis is fantastic as Mr. Mushnik. His ability to go from browbeating and hopeless business owner to gleeful, venal opportunist is impressive. I have seen Daniel Davis in so many shows, and he is always captivating and always surprises. Can we give him the key to the city already?
Another performance I’m particularly fond of is Jim Goodenberry as Audrey II. His silky, sly voice is perfect as the monstrous, but charming plant. He is terrific. What does it say that my favorite Jim Goodenberry performance is one in which we never see his face?
Beese is a very good musical theater performer, who understands the importance of character and storytelling in musical numbers. De Tormi and Keppner also have great voices and look perfect together. The Urchins and the entire ensemble bring energy and great singing chops to the show.
All other production elements are top notch, including the costumes, sets, puppeteering, and the orchestra. Cole and director Cameron Young and the whole Watertown Lyric Theater cast and crew worked very hard, and it shows. Productions like this take incredible dedication and tireless energy. Live theater is so important to the community, and I urge everyone to get out and see Little Shop of Horrors – three performances only, Thursday June 2, Friday June 3 and Saturday June 4 at 7:00 pm at the newly remolded auditorium at the State Office Building.
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