Theater Review: Howard Steven Frydman
aka “The Howard
Production: Little Shop of Horrors – The Musical
Theater: ACT of Connecticut
Book & Lyrics: Howard Ashman
Music: Alan Menken
Director: Jason A. Sparks
The Howard’s Exhale – “Little Shop of Horrors” – A Monster of a Musical Treat!
Hello my little Halloweenies – going Trick or Treating I see, if you are, than be like me and take the first broomstick you find, (I strongly suggest a Nimbus 2000), and head toward the bewitching New England township of Ridgefield, CT and their premiere theatrical venue – ACT – A Contemporary Theater of Connecticut and take in their “fab-boo-lous” first production of the 2019-2020 season – the sci-fi rock musical comedy, “Little Shop of Horrors” – it’s a blast!
Boy-chicks and girl-chicks, this was my first jaunt to the ACT theater – and let me tell you they were the nicest folks I have ever met, I personally want to thank Daniel Levine – ACT Artistic Director, Heather Porter, General Manager; and Amanda Duff for their gracious invitation to ACT and believe you me – I was mighty impressed – the theater is a WOW! – absolutely gorgeous! The quaint New England Village of Ridgefield is filled with quaint shops, restaurants and now in its second year – ACT , which is a wonderful addition to the town, providing top notch Broadway worthy productions – folks I was impressed – and so will you! We greatly acknowledge that in their 2018 inaugural year, ACT of Connecticut, was awarded 11 BroadwayWorld CT Awards and nominated for two CT Critics Circle Awards and now in its second season – ACT is fast becoming the number one professional theatrical venue for the ARTS in Fairfield County. Bravo ACT!
What’s Halloween without a bit of horror and “ACT of CT” is the perfect place to get a bit of the upcoming “H” on with their horror-rific musical production of “Little Shop of Horrors” playing from October 3rd till November 3rd, book and lyrics by Howard Ashmam, music by Alan Menken, directed by Jason A. Sparks, and perfectly cast- starring Robb Sabb as Seymour, Laura Woyasz as Audrey, Daniel C. Levine as Dentist Orin Scrivello, William Thomas Evans as Mr. Mushnik, Kent Overshown as Voice of “Audrey 2” and our three “skid row doo-wop divas” – Kadrea Dawkins as “Chiffon”, Rachelle Legrand as “Ronnette” and Ashley Alexandra Seldon as “Crystal”. What a satisfying cast indeed as they provide us with such memorable tunes including, “Suddenly Seymour”, “Somewhere That’s Green”, and “Skid Row”. Folks this production is indeed a monster hit of a musical “doo-wop spook-tacular” – shall we humbly say – hip hip horr-ahh! Mr. Levine – your production of “Little Shop” is devil-lisiously good in every way!
On this mid Autumn day, the theater is literally packed with folks and lotsa kids too – they be monster and musical lovers of all ages – for they know something nightmarishly good this way comes! In fact, it’s hard not to notice that throughout the two hour performance, that the audience is totally in sync with this show- folks are singing along, doing in seat dance moves – one dad sitting in front of me is even dropping candy “Junior Mints” down into his two daughters outstretched awaiting mouths – synchronized whenever our living plant “Audrey 2” cries out FEED ME!! Too too cute and a bit scary too! Folks of all ages are loving this production – the takeaway- It’s heavenly, it’s humorous, it’s one hell of a good time!
“Little Shop of Horrors”, like its voracious man-eating space plant- “Audrey 2”, started its growth to becoming a Broadway musical initially as a fledgling seedling – a 1960 Roger Corman film, before it was transformed musically in 1982 to the Orpheus Theater Off-Broadway. The dark bloody out of this world tale – in the words of the immortal Howard Ashman, “On the twenty-third day of the month of September, in an early year of a decade not too long before our own, the human race suddenly encountered a deadly threat to its very existence, and this terrifying enemy surfaced as such enemies often do in the seemingly most innocent and unlikely of places” – Aha! NYC SKID ROW! Here we are introduced to the ever cranky Mr. Mushnik (William Thomas Evans) his struggling floral shop, the inept but lovable Seymour Krelborn who strives to improve his life (Robb Sapp), the gal Seymour longs for, the drowsy and accident prone Audrey (Laura Woyasz) and the mysterious man-eating plant that is named after his beloved – AUDREY 2- let the bloodletting begin- oh my!! But just remember the moral of the tale – DON’T FEED THE PLANTS!!
I send major kudos firstly to Scenic Director Ryan Howell for the ultra realistic skid row/florist set – an absolutely amazing turntable design. Our two leads Mr. Sapp and Miss Woyasz are tremendously talented. I so enjoyed their comic timing, vocals and their performances – provided with such true heart, integrity and devotion to character. They so well deserved their standing ovation at production’s end. I look forward to seeing them both in upcoming productions. This reviewer was mighty proud of this dynamic duo! Lastly, the coveted “Howard Noticed You Award” goes to Mr. Daniel C. Levine – you little “scene stealer” you – we so enjoyed your many various “quick change” configurations especially that of the deranged dentist – Orin. Sir, you were simply splendid! Much appreciation to ACT of CT and to the company of this delightful production. Enjoy!
“Little Shop of Horrors” will run October 3rd till November 3rd, 2019. Curtain times are Thursdays at 7pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 2pm. Please contact the ACT Box Office for tickets at 475-215-5433 or visit www.actofct.org for further information.
Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96 and a member of the CCC. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at TheHoward24@gmail.com.