Monday, October 10, 2022

Little Shop of Horrors—Stumptown Stages—Downtown Portland

Seedy Botanical Beast

This dark comedic, musical has book and lyrics by Howard Ashman,music by Alan Menken, choreography by Jamie Langton, music direction by Adam Young and directed & designed by Steve Coker.  It is playing at The Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, through October30th.  For more information, go to their site at

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, a lone seeding was starving to death, as his planet’s life’s blood was diminished.  So, he took his chances and threw his fates to a passing meteor shower and eventually fell to earth onto Skid Row on the planet, Earth.  This seemed like a happy place to him, as the talented street urchins of the village, Crystal (Lydia Fleming), Ronnette (Kristin Robinson and Chiffon (Olivia Spohn) were always singing.

And the young nerdy fellow, Seymour (Jason Hays) who found him and cared for him and even named him, Audrey II (Kimo Camat, Liz Ghiz & Tim Giugni) was a nice enough fellow.  Seymour even was sweet on a not-so-bright co-worker, Audrey (Tawni Peterson).  But she was hung up on this “semi-sadist,” laughing dentist, Orin (Dustin Fuentes),who was not so nice to her.  And the shop’s owner, Mr. Mushnick (David Mitchum Brown), was a stogy old tightwad who seemed to care for no one.

But that was all soon to change, as there was a new character in town from out of this world and he was taking no guff off anyone!  And one more little thing…he had had found the …nourishment he needed for life but getting it was going to require some clever manipulations on his part.  Does this lead to a happy ending...depends on who’s telling the tale and it would be delicious talking with you in person sometime about it…yum!  --A/II

This story originally had its origin in the Roger Corman school of B-movies (notably for introducing Jack Nicholson to the film-going public in a small role).  It then went onto becoming a very successful Broadway play and movie and added music to its tawdry tale.  Margie Boule and Randall Stuart  had a couple notably revivals of this show some years ago and now we have Stumptown with Stever Coker at the helm and this genre fits him to a tee, having,in the past, very successful productions of a stage version of Queen’s, Flash Gordon, and an original film noir detective story about werewolves, and also a musical about werewolf cheerleaders from outer space (I kid you not) and all very well done!

All the versions I’ve seen of this play, my favorites have always been the Greek Chorus, the urchins, in this case,Fleming, Robinson and Spohn, who are a smash.  And the two leads, Hays and Peterson, are in terrific form, especially with the show-stopping, “Suddenly, Seymour.”  And the outrageous character of Orin (Fuentes) is over the top as the maniacal dentist.  And Camat as the voice of the plant gives just the right creepiness to the role.  And a special shout-out to the two set changers, Isaac Elmore & Genevieve Hildebrand-Chupp, who are kept very busy during the show of changing the scenes and “dislodging” the plant food.

This is a perfect show for the Halloween season and I highly recommend it.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.


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