Unionville said they were putting on the Broadway show “Little Shop of Horrors” which has been produced by Community Theatres and High Schools many times. As Director Nicole Norton Says, “If you know “Little Shop of Horrors”, get ready for an interpretation that you have never seen.” And was she right.
The set was brilliantly designed and constructed by Mike Berkeihiser so that the main structure with very little movement could be transformed into the flower shop, the street or a house; this helped make the play flow seamlessly.
The basic story is about a plant, which needed human blood to thrive, which mysteriously appears after an eclipse; Seymour (Thomas McClure), an employee at the flower shop finds the plant and takes it to work at his flower shop on Skid Row. Seymour admires fellow worker Audrey (Emily Lewis) but thinks she is not interested in him. When Seymour accidentally cuts his hand on a thorn, he discovers that the plant not only needs human blood but vocally demands it singing “Feed Me”. Feeding the plant causes it to flourish and draw customers to the flower shop. When the short tempered shop owner Mr. Mushnik disappeared, the plant had grown to mammoth proportions and Seymour suspected it might have eaten Mr. Mushnik.
Seymour is concerned about Audrey who had a black eye given to her by her boyfriend, a sadistic dentist beautifully portrayed by Will Lehmann, whom Seymour dispatched into the plant after a fight. Gradually more and more of the cast members disappeared and the plant (named Audrey II) grew and thrived, this led to a surprise ending to the show.
Seymour gave a solid performance while Audrey was girlishly sweet. Big innovations for this play rewritten by director Nicole Norton and her associates made it truly “an interpretation that you have never seen.”
One of the innovations was a move from a cast of 8 to one of around 50. Director Norton and her associates added scenes with Greek Choruses and songs such as “Somewhere That’s Green” “Call Back in the Morning “and “Don’t Feed the Plants”.
Different groups included The Dream Girls, (Sarah Breger, Hailey Hurlebaus, Marina Khazana, Abigail McMurrough, Anna Ehlers, Lauren Kester), Chiffon k(Emilea Suplick), Crystal (Leah Monteleone), Ronette (Jaden Wrabley), Cookie (Jenny Ammon), Angel (Elizabeth Barrickman) and Blossom (Eliza Davulcu). These girls sang and danced their way through many of the scenes adding “characture beauty and talent that was appropriate.
The winos (Zackary Cannon and Reade Keefer) added “color and humor” to some of the street scenes drinking their way through the nights.
Customers, shoppers and neighbors adding spirit and color to the crowd scenes were the customer (Josiah Taylor) Mr. Chang (Jack Moriarty, The radio interviewer (Brandon Tsai), Orin Scrivello (Will Lehmann), Bernstein (Soren Sheckells), Mrs. Luce (Katherine Turner), Skip Snip (Reade Keefer) and Patrick Martin (Anju Zhang).
The characters shown in the “Dream Sequences” were Dream Seymour (Thomas Moore) Dream Mushnik (Ben Hack) and several Dream Audrey’s(Rachael Tierney, Brooke Baumeister, Hillary Bond, Lindsay Bond, Sarah Linskens) The Ensemble players (David Akins, Lauren Attwell, Aurelius Craig, Moll Evanko, Kylie Harlan, Erika Hopkins, Hailey Knecht, Ashley Mariani, Jennifer Marmo, Madeline Martin, Meghan McCloskey, Natalie McKay, Madeline McMurrough, Aniruddh Mutnuru, Joseph Sciarra, Abigail Taylor, Murad Wali and Brienne Wilkey) made the stage come alive whether indoors or outsides.
Not to go unmentioned were the duo who handled the troublesome plant in such a humorous and effective manner puppeteer (Siddharth Panchanadam ) and plant voice (Zackary Cannon). Who had a very pleasing deep voice.
The pit orchestra conducted by Edward Otto handled their task well, did not drown out the actors, and maintained a wonderful pace to keep the action moving
Nichole Norton (Director) says “The show is about “dreams”. Once you have decided a show is about “dreams”. The sky’s the limit we fed the plant”. If this was a play about dreams you better be careful what you dream. They might come true. It was a fast paced play enjoyed by the players and the audience.