LITTLE FALLS -- The Hole in the Day Players of Little Falls have created an entertaining version of "Little Shop of Horrors," complete with toe-tapping music, good acting and singing, and a special effect worthy of the musical's off-Broadway roots.
Directed by Hole in the Day veteran Mary Jo Morgan, "Little Shop" features a man-eating plant that grows from pot-size to pool-size during the course of the show.
Designed and built by Linda Stumpf -- and manipulated during the production by son Jacob and daughter Miranda -- the special effect steals the show.
In its largest version -- the plant occupies most of stage right -- it gobbles up the play's characters, delivers a jazzy musical solo or two and adds a polished coat to the glossy sheen of the Players' performances.
Mushnik (Mike Johnson) interrupted a group of "skid row" girls with a song of his own during "Little Shop of Horrors" in Little Falls. Mushnik owns the flower shop where the legendary man-eating plant carries out its work.
The production opened last weekend and will continue at 8 p.m. today and Friday. Tickets are $9 at the entrance to Charles Martin Auditorium at Little Falls High School.
Here's the story line (as most of the audience already knows): Seymour (Thom Haggerty), a meek and mild flower store clerk, discovers an unusual plant on the way to work and deposits it on the store's shelves.
He names the plant Audrey II after his co-worker, a bleached blond, tight-skirted Audrey (Denise Cheney) who is the secret apple of his eye.
Mushnik (Mike Johnson), the owner of the Lower East Side floral shop where most of the play's action takes place, rejects the plant as unsuitable for his shop, until customers suddenly show up for a look at the rare species.
Seymour (left), Audrey and Mushnik, the principal characters in the Hole in the Day Players' production of "Little Shop of Horrors," played a scene in Mushnik's Lower East Side floral shop, where most of the action takes place.
With business booming, Mushnik redecorates the shop, increases inventory and orders Seymour to do everything he can to keep Audrey II alive and well.
Mushnik doesn't realize, of course, that Audrey II is quickly growing into a man-eater with an insatiable appetite for humans.
Taking his instructions literally, Seymour begins to feed the plant, starting with Audrey's sadistic dentist boyfriend, Orin (Jerry Tanner), with others to follow.
As the drama unfolds, Seymour's botanical fame spreads far and wide, and agents and reporters arrive at the shop in pursuit of the clerk and the plant's story.
Seymour (left), played by Thom Haggerty, drew the attention of promoters and press, including an agent played by Jonathan Bengtston, during the "Little Shop of Horrors" production by Hole in the Day Players of Little Falls.
Even Audrey begins to take note of her fellow worker, a change in attitude that Seymour relates to his new-found botanical fame.
As the plant grows from seedling to psychopath, the show becomes more and more surreal with music, dancing and humor mixed with mortifying moments as the plant consumes its meals.
With music direction by Jeff Engholm, the show offers 16 song and dance numbers, with solos by Seymour, Audrey and Mushnik and bigger numbers involving the cast.
Some of the richest music is sung by Audrey II, featuring the voice of Rande Erickson.
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