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Off Broadway

Little Shop Of Horrors is Taking Over at the Westside Arts Theatre

Little Shop Of Horrors is Taking Over at the Westside Arts Theatre

 Jonathan Groff Photo by Emilio Madrid

Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s be bop, sci fi musical, Little Shop Of Horrors, is back lighting up and taking over the stage at the Westside Arts Theatre. This revival, based on 1982 Roger Corman B-movie has a plant wanting to take over the human race, as love blooms, destruction is rampant and a tuneful score has you humming along.

 Jonathan Groff, Salome Smith, Chelsea Turbin, Joy Woods Photo by Emilio Madrid

Seymour (a fabulous Jonathan Groff ) the nerdy, loser, botanist is in love with his co-worker Audrey (Tammy Blanchard) a girl with a low self image, who dress like she stepped out of Fredricks of Hollywood and chooses men who abuse. Together they work at Mushnik’s (Tom Allen Robbin’s) flower shop. The shop does no business, until Seymour comes across an alien succulent, he names Aubry 11 (a rocking, Kingsley Leggs). Aubry 11 wants blood….Seymour’s and almost drains him dry until Audrey psychopathic boyfriend Orin Scrivello, DDS (Christian Borle), a dentist beats her up one too many times. The plant goes on a roll until everyone has become plant food.

 Jonathan Groff Photo by Emilio Madrid

Little Shop is narrated by a trio of street urchins (Salome Smith, Chelsea Turbin, Joy Woods), who tell it like it is. These three women are hip, irreverent and oh so cool.

Christian Borle Photo by Emilio Madrid

Michael Mayer has directed this show with a tongue and check sensibility and for the most part has updated this classic cult favorite with sass. Sometimes it goes over the top into camp. Ms Blanchard, looks and acts the part in a fresh new way, she just doesn’t have the voice to really put over the contagious Ashman/ Menken score. Borle, who is a favorite of mine plays multiple deranged roles and doesn’t always succeed. Leggs, big baritone is thrilling, the trio charming and Mushnick perfectly cast. The surprise her is Groff, who is wonderful in the role. He brings a layered comedic performance, that is a delight to watch.

 Jonathan Groff Photo by Emilio Madrid

As always the hit is the Aubry 11, designed by Nicholas Mahon from Martin P Robinson’s original vision and puppeted by Monkey Boys Productions. I do wish the vines came over the audience. That I did miss.

 Jonathan Groff, Tammy Blanchard Photo by Emilio Madrid

Little Shop’s music is enhanced by Will Van Dyke’s terrific arrangements and Ellenore Scott’s hip choreography. The scrip is a perfect take on the B movies of their day.

 Jonathan Groff Photo by Emilio Madrid

Little Shop Of Horrors is selling out and for good reason. Despite all the PC incorrect happenings, the plant wins in the end and musical theatre is kept intact.

 Jonathan Groff, Tammy Blanchard Photo by Emilio Madrid

Little Shop Of Horrors: Westside Arts Theatre

Off Broadway

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. Currently she has a screenplay in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She was the Broadway Informer on the all access cable TV Show “The New Yorkers,” soon to be “The Tourist Channel.” email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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