Reviewed by Judy Richter
Based on the 1960 cult film by Roger Corman, the show is set in a rundown floral shop on Skid Row in the early '60s. The place is owned by Mr. Mushnik (Alex Perez), who has two employees. One is the nerdy but endearing Seymour (Adam Cotugno). The other is the sexy Audrey (Adrienne Walters), whose self-esteem is so low that she's willing to put up with the abuse by her sadistic boyfriend, dentist Orin Scrivello (Jeff Clarke).
The shop's fortunes improve when Seymour brings in a strange plant. Named Audrey II (voiced by James Devreaux Lewis), it comes to demand unusual nourishment before growing ever larger. Soon Seymour becomes famous, but he also must confront a moral dilemma.
Serving as a kind of Greek chorus are three street-wise young women, Crystal (Lyn Mehe'ula), Chiffon (Melissa Baxter) and Ronette (Megan Coomans).
The two-act show is full of bouncy tunes by Alan Menken with clever lyrics by Howard Ashman, who also wrote the book. One of the more amusing songs, especially for those who recognize the references, is Audrey's "Somewhere That's Green." In it she expresses her dream of marrying Seymour and moving to a nice place like Levittown, where their children can watch "Howdy Doody" on their big-screen, 12-inch TV.
Director Milissa Carey has chosen an excellent cast of community members and students. Led by Cotugno as Seymour, Walters as Audrey and Perez as Mr. Mushnik, every member of the large cast does well in this energetic production. Musical values are strong, thanks to musical director Dolores Duran-Cefalu, who leads four other musicians from the keyboard. Well executed choreography is by Amanda Folena. The serviceable set is by Yusuke Soi with lighting by Michael Rooney and costumes by Margaret Toomey. The sound, which experienced a brief problem during the night reviewed, is by Ken Kilen.
"Little Shop of Horrors" has been done on the Peninsula before. For example, TheatreWorks staged it in 1986, and Broadway by the Bay and (the now defunct) American Musical Theatre of San Jose both offered it in 2008. Still, it never gets old because it's so much fun, especially when done as well as this production by FMT.
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