“Little Shop of Horrors” is a comedy rock musical by composer Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. The musical is based on the low budget 1960 black comedy film of the same name. It opened Off Broadway in 1982 where it played for five years. It has received numerous awards before moving to Broadway in 2003 and has since toured all over the country as well as the UK.
I’ve seen several productions of the play and I have to say that the one now playing at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts is absolutely wonderful. Not only has director J. Bailey Burcham assembled a super talented cast but he has reset the musical in Skid Row in Los Angeles, 1994.
When the play opens, we meet Seymour Krelborn (the excellent Elijah Macomb) who is a poor orphan living on skid row. He works in a flower shop and has a major crush on his co-worker, Audrey (the terrific Catriona Fray). Unfortunately for Seymour, Audrey is involved with Orin, (Rile Reavis) a sadistic dentist, who derives great pleasure in beating her.
The flower shop owned by Mr. Mushnik (Paul Panico) is on the verge of closing due to lack of business, but that all changes when Seymour buys a sweet little plant which he names Audrey II (puppeteer, Lora Hakanson). Well, the plant doesn’t stay sweet for long. In fact, after the plant almost dies from lack of eating, Seymour accidentally feeds it a drop of his blood and discovers what Audrey II needs to survive and it’s not plant food.
“Little Shop of Horrors” is filled with great music which combines Motown, 1960s rock and roll and doo-wop, and it has great characters that you can’t help but cheer for, as well as care about. Besides the two leads, Terika Jefferson (Crystal), Fay James (Ronnette) and Oliva van den Berg (Chiffon) make this a must-see musical.
The play opened at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts located at 403 W. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks on June 2nd, and runs Friday and Saturdays at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm, with additional performances on Thursday, June 8 at 8pm and Saturday June 17th at 2pm. The final performance is Sunday, June 18th at 2:00pm.
Tickets are $25 with discounts for student and seniors. Tickets can be purchased by going to panicproductions.org, calling 805-381-1246 or visiting the box office.
Photo courtesy of Panici Productions