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Review Roundup: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS At The Drury Lane Theatre

September 17, 2018 at 3:17 PM

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Drury Lane presents Little Shop of Horrors, with music by Alan Menken and book by Howard Ashman and direction and choreography by Scott Calcagno with music direction by Roberta Duchak. Little Shop of Horrors runs September 6 - October 28, 2018, at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace. The press opening is Thursday, September 13 at 8:00 p.m.

The cast of Little Shop of Horrors is led by Kelly Felthous (Audrey), returning to Drury Lane after earning a Jeff Award nomination for her performance as Roxie Hart in Chicago, and Will Lidke (Seymour Krelborn) who was last seen at Drury Lane in Saturday Night Fever. The production also features Melanie Brezill(Ronette), Candace C. Edwards (Crystal), Melanie Loren (Chiffon), Ron E. Rains (Mr. Mushnik), Lorenzo Rush Jr. (Voice of Audrey II), and Steven Strafford (Dr. Orin Scrivello D.D.S.). Audrey II will be brought to life by puppeteer Matthew P. Sitz.

The creative team includes Kevin Depinet (Scenic Design), Lynda Myers (Costume Design), Ryan O'Gara (Lighting Design), Ray Nardelli (Sound Design), Cassy Schillo (Properties Design), Martin P. Robinson (Puppet Design), Claire Moores (Wig & Hair Design), and Sammi Grant (Dialect Coach).

This gem of a musical inspired by the 1960 dark comedy horror film will charm your heart with infectious doo-wop songs and endearing characters. A down-on-his-luck resident of Skid Row is offered the girl of his dreams, fame, and success from an all-powerful, R&B singin' carnivorous plant, but at what cost? Little Shop of Horrors is the winner of the Drama Desk Award for Best Musical.

Little Shop of Horrors is recommended for ages 13 and up. Please be advised that there is light violence and brief strong language.

Let's see what the critics have to say!

Chris JonesChicago Tribune: I've heard a whole lot of people do "Somewhere That's Green" in my time, but I think Felthous sings it better than I've ever heard. It's just so in the moment: she mines every minute idea in the song (even in the middle of a lyrical line) and her eyes take on such a hopeful glaze that you want to send her a delivery of shrink-wrapped furniture, just so she can keep it neat and clean. Aside from the fabulous voice, the key is that she doesn't condescend to Audrey. She lives her. When the song I ended, I was ready for an instant reprise.

Scott C. Morgan, Daily Herald: Calcagno's cast is top notch, with each ensemble member emphasizing both the comedy and pathos of the material. Felthous is particularly affecting in her "I want" song of "Somewhere That's Green." Strafford and Calcagno oddly de-emphasize the expected Elvis Presley swagger in the abusive Orin, but that's a minor quibble.

Alan Bresloff, Around The Town: Smoothly directed and choreographed by Scott Calcagno, the show grabs you in the first few minutes and locks you in for the entire two hours ( including 15 minute intermission). Kevin Depinet's flower shop is divine and very realistic as is his Skid Row. Lynda Myers does great costumes of the period and some extreme numbers for the ladies ( Take That Supremes). The sound ( Ray Nardelli) and lighting ( Ryan O'Gara) along with the props (Cassie Schillo) are all perfect as are the musicians under the leadership of Chris Sargent at the Keyboard. As usual, the music direction is handled to perfection by Roberta Duchak. The show is suggested for ages 13 and up due to some strong language and a situation or two.

Karen Topham, Chicago On Stage: Drury Lane, of course, does it extremely well. With Calcagno at the helm, the three singers (whose sparkling, wonderful costumes are provided by Linda Myers) perform like classic girl groups of the era, complete with Supremes gestures and harmonies and dynamite vocal chops. Calcagno uses them to create a kind of visual barrier between us and the horrific goings-on at the florist shop, while using the many ludicrous character portrayals (starting with Audrey but including every character played by Strafford as well) to keep us at a distance from any potential for reality. (The decision to go with only a single actor to take on all of these parts ramps up the camp even more, and Strafford has a great time with it.) Felthouse and Lidke are perfect as the lovers, from the comic speaking voices they adopt to their wonderful vocals in their songs. Rains is excellent as the overwhelmed Mushnik, and Rush creates a dangerous enemy in the plant using just his deep, resonant voice.

Catey Sullivan, Chicago Sun-Times: Puppet designer Martin P. Robinson has done a killer job creating Audrey II. From flower-pot cutie to voracious beast, this is one impressive piece of greenery. Puppeteer Matthew Sitz's performance has teeth, making the Venus-flytrap-on-steroids creature a winning violent/verdant hybrid.