Little Shop Of Horrors – American Blues Theater

Mark David Kaplan, Ensemble Member Michael Mahler, Ensemble Member Dara Cameron. Photo by Johnny Knight
Little Shop Of Horrors American Blues Theater

Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman

Music by Alan Menken

Directed by Jonathan Berry

Music Direction by Austin Cook

Produced by American Blues Theater

At the Greenhouse Theatre, Chicago

Laughs galore in terrific production of classic chamber musical

In a rare venture into musicals, American Blues Theatre has mounted one of the finest, spirited, and funny productions of the 1982 off-off Broadway hit chamber musical – Little Shop Of Horrors! As one of the most popular musicals, Little Shop Of Horrors has been an audience favorite as its cute, gruesome nerdy florist assistant raises a man-eating plant as his way out of the Skid Row. This musical features a fine score of rock, doo-wop, and Motown as well as power ballads by Alan Menken.  Tunes such as “Skid Row (Downtown),” “Somewhere That’s Green, ” and “Suddenly, Seymour” have become familiar.

Ensemble Member Michael Mahler. Photo by Johnny Knight (2)

Howard Ashman’s book features a zany group of characters including a nerdy assistant, Seymour (a terrific turn by Michael Mahler), an abused woman, Audrey (Dara Cameron), and a sadistic motorcycle-riding dentist, Orin (Ian Paul Custer). But the real star here is the ever-growing blood-thirsty plant, Audrey II (voice by Lorenzo Rush, Jr.). Fueled by outrageously funny situations, Horrors is a side-splitting  funny and  toe-tapping night of musical theatre.

Eunice Woods, Camille Robinson and Jasondra Johnson. Photo by Johnny Knight

While I personally never cared much for Little Shop Of Horrors, I must report that the creatives at American Blues Theatre, under the smart leadership of director Jonathan Berry, have mounted a slick, funny and musically interesting production of the campy classic. Playing most of the show over-the-top with a fine trio of Greek Style chorus (Jasondra Johnson, Camille Robinson and Eunice Woods sing R & B) with the antics of shop owner Mr. Mushnik (the funny Mark David Kaplan) adding humor and heart, this Little Shop Of Horrors delivers.  The intimacy  of the stage at the Greenhouse Theater  and the terrific sound mix by Rick Sims makes this production a technical triumph. It is so often that a rock-based musical overwhelms both singers and audiences, yet here both singers and audiences get to feast. Lovers of Little Shop Of Horrors will embrace this winner. 

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Date Reviewed: May 6, 2016

Jeff Recommended

For more info checkout the Little shop Of Horrors page at theatreinchicago.com

At the Greenhouse Theatre, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., chic ago, IL, call 773-404-7338, www.americanbluestheater.com, tickets $19-$49, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Saturday matinees at 3 pm, Sundays at 2:30 pm, running time is 2 hours with intermission, through June 26, 2016.