By Bob Evans
The window closes far too soon to see Faust Theatre’s newest production, “Little Shop of Horrors” with such a short performance schedule Jan. 4-7 only; and, that’s a travesty because the bright, flashy, happy, comic musical deserves a longer run for Kansas City audiences to see just what this young theatre group brings to the metropolitan area.
Opening night brought a full house in cold temperatures to the Arts Asylum, and just after doors opened, prime seats were already occupied, so early arrival is a must for the best house seats. And those in attendance were not disappointed once the show began. The oft produced musical comedy, a favorite with wide audience appeal, brings lots of surprises with Faust’s version of the show.
Faust re-imagined the character of Audrey II and cast a full-voiced female as the voracious, carnivorous botanical. The change surprised the audience and brought a bright new focal point to the show. Also different is the prop that represents the plant. The new creation is more feminine and fits well with the new characterization. No one will miss the traditional casting of the story.
“Little Shop of Horrors” gets stellar performances from the entire cast. Not one should be singled out because they all deliver such strong performances from the trio of street urchins, to the dentist, to the leads. Not one character is minimalized in the show. Each of the characters sing, dance, and act their parts with exuberance.
Brilliant casting by Director Zach Faust brought some new, talented, fresh actors to the forefront with this production. Vocal prowess by the entirety of the cast set the tone for the entire production. The cast is: Bree Patterson as Audrey II, Daniel Verschelden as Seymour Krelborn, Abigail Becker as Audrey, Hewleek McKoy as Mr. Mushnik, Jacque Davidson as Orin Scrivello, Jenell Johnson as Crystal, Holly Jackson as Chiffon, Amari Lewis as Ronnette.
The production crew, led by director Faust is: Adee Dancy, music director; Randall Jackson, assistant director; Gabrielle Andrew, stage manager; Kenzi Parsons, choreographer; Catie Wolfe, assistant stage manager; Regina Lombardo, assistant choreographer; Breanna Rowe, lighting designer; Neema Rafizdeh, sound technician; Shantice White, costume designer; Gabrielle Fatino, production assistant; Reily Harker, production assistant.
The upbeat score for “Little Shop” would never succeed without a strong musical performance by the performance of the musical score. For this production, the small band went far beyond adequate and provided an uplifting sound for the performers to sing. Led by Adee Dancy, the band is: Caleb McCarroll, rehearsal accompanist/keyboard 1; Jeremy Jacobs, keyboard 2; Joe Donley, bass, AJ Bonci, guitar; John Gilmore, rums/percussion; Raheem Fieler Bey, bass (opening night).
For ticket assurance, Advance ticketing is suggested. Curtain up at 7:30. Theatre doors open at 7 p.m. The venue is general seating, so early arrival gets best seats. Opening night was a virtual sell out. Subsequent shows will be as well. Parking is difficult in the area, so plan ahead. Advance tickets can be secured via the Faust website for the production.
Tags: Faust Theatre, “Little Shop of Horrors”, Arts Asylum, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City