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Little Shop of Horrors
by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken

COMPANY : Professional Tour
VENUE : The Fabulous Fox [WEBSITE]
ID# 1190

SHOWING : February 01, 2005 - February 06, 2005



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not big enough for its britches (4.5)
by Okely Dokely
Wednesday, March 2, 2005
This may be a bit short, as it's been almost a month since I saw this. Firstly, the biggest reason I went to see this when it came to the Fox was to see Anthony Rapp (the original Mark in Rent) as Seymour. I didn't find out until I got there that he was no longer with the tour. The most likely reason was that he had to leave to go film the Rent movie, which I think is also why Idina left Wicked when she did. I was mortally wounded by this news...until I saw the Replacement Seymour. Jonathan Rayson is doing the honors now. He understudied Seymour and Orin et al. on Broadway, and briefly took over the role of Seymour between the time Hunter Foster left and Joey Fatone joined. He was fantastic, but the thing I take with me about him the most is his surprisingly sweet singing voice. He could belt (the "I don't know..." part in Feed Me, the "My future's starting..." part in The Meek Shall Inherit), and he could be tender (Suddenly, Seymour and the "Sudden changes surround me..." part before Feed Me). He seamlessly ran the gamut.

So, what do you do when you're mounting a national tour of one of the most recognizable shows in all of musical theatre, not to mention a common staple of high schools and community houses? You sprinkle a little originality and take some of the familiar parts even further. I wish I had taken notes, but some of my favorite new twists were: the total eclipse of the sun Seymour speaks of in Da Doo physically happening to the "sun" on the stage, the long-ass pause (at least 30 seconds) between Audrey 2's first line and Seymour's response to that line, the long-ass pause before the last verse of Now (It's Just the Gas), Orin pulling out his drill and using it as a microphone during Dentist, and many more. I loved how Seymour giving the plant a "few drops" during Grow For Me happened to the rhythm of the music, rather than pausing the song for this to happen, and Seymour's little "come on" gestures right before he exits at the end of Grow For Me. There's some good stuff I'd love to stea...uh, pay homage to if I ever get to do this show again. I appreciated that the actor playing the Dentist also played all the other roles that actor is supposed to play, although I have too consistently seen the Mrs. Luce character sung in a male register during The Meek Shall Inherit, and feel that it works better when the guy is singing an octave higher in mock falsetto.

All in all, I'm glad I saw this, and I discovered an unexpected star in Jonathan Rayson. I am glad the Broadway experiment is over, though, and I must echo the critcs who reviewed the Broadway production in saying that LSOH shouldn't be on such a big stage. It works best with more intimate settings. As hard as it tried to fill its stage, the pants kept falling down. Who wants to see Forever Plaid at the arena in Madison Square Garden? Hopefully you get my point. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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