WEEKEND: ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ to take root in Sequim
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Jaden Rockwell, Mindy Gelder and Anna Unger, from left, comprise the chorus in Little Shop of Horrors, opening tonight at Olympic Theatre Arts in Sequim. -- Photo by Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — There’s a lot of growing in this show. It hurts sometimes, but the music eases the pain. We have here a rhythm and blues opera, replete with three big-haired backup singers, a live band and one young man in love.

“Little Shop of Horrors,” the romantic tale that also stars a bloodthirsty plant, blossoms tonight at Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave., and continues for a three-weekend run. It’ll be a scenic ride, promises director Loren Johnson.

“Little Shop” begins when Seymour, played by the appropriately green Danny Willis, suddenly sees the opportunity to gain everything his heart desires: fame, fortune and, most of all, love.

“But this opportunity comes at a very high cost,” Johnson says. “How far down the road to perdition is he willing to travel?”

The story unfolds, and that carnivorous plant named Audrey II grows, through the catchy, campy songs. There’s “Skid Row” about the setting, “Git It (Feed Me)” from the growing plant, and “Dentist,” the sadistic doctor’s soliloquy.

“Little Shop” has a generous supply of silken female voices, too. There’s the chorus: Crystal, Ronette and Chiffon, played by Mindy Gelder, Jaden Rockwell and Anna Unger. And in platinum blond tresses comes Nikki Adams as Audrey, Seymour’s love interest. She pours herself into her songs, beginning with “Somewhere That’s Green,” Audrey’s dream of a life far from Skid Row.

“There are so many great moments,” said Jaie Livingstone, “Little Shop’s” musical director.

“Nikki’s offering of ‘Somewhere That’s Green’ is spot on,” she added.

Livingstone also limelighted Willis’ wholehearted, whole-bodied portrayal of Seymour. She loves the physical comedy between Willis and E.J. Anderson III, who plays the mean dentist and Seymour’s rival for Audrey’s affection.

Other well-known local artists bring other roles to life: Sean Peck-Collier is Mushnik, Seymour’s florist boss; Colby Thomas plays Audrey II and the band is composed of keyboardist Darrell Plank, percussionist John Reid, guitarist Richard Crowell and bassist Lee Harwell. Livingstone herself adds keyboard effects.

The music, Johnson noted, comes from Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, the same team who wrote for Disney’s movie versions of “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin.” With their R&B numbers to inspire her, Sequim’s own Laurel Herrera did the choreography for “Shop” at Olympic Theatre Arts.

“We have a very talented cast,” Johnson added, “and visually, the show is stunning.”

Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays tonight through Feb. 23 and at 2 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 24. An additional family matinee is slated for 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, with tickets at $5 for youth 17 and younger.

Regular tickets are $22 for general admission, $20 for Olympic Theatre Arts members and active military service people, and $11 for youth 16 and younger. For reservations, phone the OTA box office 360-683-7326 or visit www.OlympicTheatreArts.org.

Livingstone summed up “Shop” as a satisfying tale with yes, a gruesome twist.

“It’s got comedy, it’s got romance, it’s got a man-eating plant,” she said. “What’s not to love?”

Last modified: February 07. 2013 6:17PM
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