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Little Shop of Horrors

a Musical Black Comedy
by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman

COMPANY : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Onstage Atlanta on Ponce [WEBSITE]
ID# 4681

SHOWING : February 20, 2015 - March 28, 2015



Seymour, the nerdish apprentice florist, finds his chance for success and romance. Too bad it is all due to the help of a giant man-eating plant with some sanguine culinary tastes.

February 20 - March 28, 2015

Fridays/Saturdays at 8pm
Sunday matinees at 3pm
Tickets $13-$23

Choreographer Colleen Hargis
Music Director Paul A. Tate
Director Barry N. West
Props Design Chris Franken
Lighting Design Tom Gillespie
Stage Manager Mary Susan Moore
Costume Design Tony Smithey
Sound Design Abra Thurmond
Set Design Darrell Wofford
Drums & Percussion L. Gerard Reid
Audrey II (puppeteer) Adrian "Dre" Camacho
Seymour Chase Davidson
Orin, et al. Paul Edward Gourdeau
Chiffon Courtney Loner
Audrey II (voice) Nat Martin
Crystal Jennifer Morse
Audrey Katie Patterson
Mr. Mushnik Scott F. Rousseau
Ronnette Bethany Rowe
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Quiet Shop of Horrors
by playgoer
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Onstage Atlanta has gone all-out on its costume budget for "Little Shop of Horrors." Costumer Tony Smithey has provided outfit after outfit for the nine cast members, with matching outfits for the three urchins (Courtney Loner, Bethany Rowe, and Jennifer Morse) in scene after scene. Add in Chris Franken’s admirable props and Darrell Wofford’s nifty, space-effective set, and you have the elements for a "wow" of a production. The show itself doesn’t live up to that promise.

Tom Gillespie’s light design is generally effective, although the lip of the Mushnik Florist set doesn’t seem to be evenly lit. Where the production really falls down is in Abra Thurmond’s sound design. The balance of voices to the fine orchestra, under the direction of Paul Tate, is generally very good, but there are two cases where voice amplification really should have been used. One is when Orin is trapped in a helmet. Paul Gourdeau has a booming voice, but his choking sounds and the muffling of the helmet combine to make his words often indecipherable. The other case is much more serious: male lead Chase Davidson does not have the volume to compete with anyone else onstage. That’s fine when he’s singing the harmony part of a duet, but it damages the production when he can’t be heard singing in counterpoint to the rest of the cast. Vocally, there’s an empty hole where the center of the show should be.

Performances are good. From past performances, I knew to expect fine singing and snappy interaction from Jennifer Morse (Crystal) and Courtney Loner (Chiffon), and wasn’t disappointed. Of the three urchins, however, I was most impressed by the performance of Bethany Rowe as Ronnette, who most ably embodies the streetwise demeanor needed in the trio. Dre Camacho and Nat Martin are behind the scenes most of the time, as the puppeteer and voice of Audrey II respectively, but their onstage work is as impressive as their behind-the-scenes work. Like them, Paul Gourdeau plays multiple roles, but his braying energy is pretty much the same in each role, eventually becoming a bit tiresome. Katie Patterson’s Audrey makes use of the typical "Audrey accent" initiated by Ellen Greene, so her performance doesn’t seem fully her own, but the quietness of her "Somewhere That’s Green" works remarkably well. Scott Rousseau threatens to dominate the proceedings as Mushnik, although he seemed to me to be slightly ill-at-ease in the dancing and singing elements of his performance that he nevertheless triumphed in.

Director Barry N. West has put together an entertaining version of an entertaining show that is apparently playing to sell-out audiences. It has lots of stage spectacle, but it lacks the powerhouse performances in all roles that is needed to make the show truly sparkle. Colleen Shannon Hargis’ choreography keeps things moving and Paul Tate’s music direction keeps the show sounding good (aside from some sour notes from Paul Gourdeau and some unheard notes from Chase Davidson), but there’s a lack of freshness in the lead roles that prevents the show from really catching fire. The Audrey and Seymour we see are well-played, but the actors haven’t been encouraged to put their own stamps on the roles, and the show suffers.
in defense of the sound designer by tgillesp
This show did not use live-mics, other than Audrey II and the introductory offstage voiceover, so any balance or volume issues cannot be placed on the sound designer. The space at OSA simply is not conducive to mics for the performers; the space is too intimate, there is no workable placement of speakers that would allow amplification without creating new problems. With amplification, the front-row audience members would hear the voices emanating from overhead, even when the performer is only a few feet in front of them. I am not saying that your critique is unwarranted, just that the person you have singled out was not in fact responsible.


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