By Chris Arneson, Broadway World Denver
Little Shop of Horrors may not be the happiest musical, but there’s something about a plant wreaking havoc on a bunch of downtrodden folks that might offer a bit of momentary schadenfreude. And if you don’t get it from that, Town Hall’s production is likely to scratch your itch for a well-designed production bursting with talent.
For Littleton’s Town Hall Art Center, the oversized campiness of the show lends itself well to the intimate space. Directed by Bob Wells, with music direction by Donna K Debreceni and choreography by Kelly Kates, the production’s energy and and timing is matched by a spectacular lighting design by Brett Maughan and simplistic yet detail set design by Michael Duran. Another special shoutout to some amazing costumes designed by Terri Fong-Schmidt.
If you’re somehow unfamiliar with the classic story, it follows Seymour (Carter Edward Smith), a flower shop worker who acquires a new plant that demands to be fed. The shop is owned by owned by Mr Mushnik (Jim Hitzke). Seymour names it Audrey II (voiced by Preston Adams), after the coworker he’s in love with (Abby McInerney), but she’s in an abusive relationship with demented dentist, Orin (Charlie Schmidt). While the plant’s growth skyrockets the shop to fame, it also has other plans for world domination. The cast also features a wonderful trio of Urchins (Anna Maria High as Crystal, Faith Goins as Ronnette, and Rajdulari as Chiffon).
Smith’s Seymour is perfectly nerdy and likable, as you’d expect from him. His love Audrey is played with a lovely complexity by McInerney, who shines brightest in her strong notes. Hitzke feels right at home in his portrayal of Mushnik. Schmidt’s Orin has a fabulous cackle, which is only a sprinkle on his comedic wit. Adam’s voices Audrey II like James Brown has inhabited the beast, also giving it an incredible laugh. In classic fashion, both Adams and Schmidt tackle multiple extra roles, which really showcases Schmidt’s humorous range. Each of the Urchins get many opportunities to shine with satisfying beltiness, and the trio’s harmonies are smooth and balanced.
The show feels like a welcome escape into a familiar world, showcasing a variety of talents all in one place. They say don’t feed the plants, but in this case, the plant really feeds you — and it’s delicious.
Little Shop of Horrors plays Town Hall Arts Center through March 6.