Make us your home page
Instagram

Cast delivers laughter, fun in Stage West's 'Little Shop of Horrors'

Victoria Primosch stars as Audrey, Keith Surplus as Seymour and Stan Kane as Mr. Mushnik in Little Shop of Horrors.

Courtesy of Carol Ballard

Victoria Primosch stars as Audrey, Keith Surplus as Seymour and Stan Kane as Mr. Mushnik in Little Shop of Horrors.

How do you create a near-perfect little musical?

Ask director, music director and costume designer Carol Ballard, who did what needed to be done to create two hours of laughter and fun with the darkly funny musical Little Shop of Horrors, playing through Sunday at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill.

Start with a terrific cast, topped by five of the Tampa Bay area's best performers filling roles it seems as though they were born to play.

Keith Surplus, a familiar face to regional theatergoers but a first-timer at Stage West, portrays the nebbish nerd Seymour Krelborn, clerk at Skid Row Florists and discoverer of the menacing plant that makes him famous. Surplus plays the quintessential Seymour — shy, unsure, self-effacing, fearful — but a tiger-in-waiting when it comes to his secret love, Audrey, the assistant clerk. Surplus, in owlish spectacles, red baseball cap pulled low over his forehead, shoulders slumped in humility, makes his delightfully unexpected melodramatic moves into show highlights.

The multi-HAMI Award-winning Victoria Primosch proves her versatility again (Fantine in Les Mis, Roxie in Chicago) as Seymour's object of affection, the fashion-challenged Audrey. She turns her gorgeous mezzo-soprano (Somewhere That's Green, Suddenly Seymour) into a squeaky Bronx accent for her spoken lines and shows off Ballard's skin-tight costumes to create an unforgettably adorable Audrey.

Stan Kane plays flower shop owner Mr. Mushnik with a mix of callousness and caring, depending on what ends up in the cash register. Kane's Mushnik isn't too mean, nor is he too soft; he's just right.

And Paul Wade, also a multi-HAMI winner, roars and shrieks as the cruel, heartless, abusive Orin Scrivello, Audrey's dentist boyfriend. His dentist office scene with Seymour is a jewel, as Orin literally laughs himself to death.

All this works because of the outstanding performance by James Muriel, who does the voice for the snide, impertinent Audrey II, the plant that actually roars. Muriel has the intonation, accent and sound of the rapacious plant, and he synchronizes perfectly with Michael Muriel's manipulation of the big plant's big mouth. (Suggestion: The Muriels should be given the final bows at the curtain call; after all, they are the heart and soul of the show.)

All of this is done to the doo-wop and pop of the trio, Chiffon (Jada Crandle), Crystal (Angelena Burrow) and Ronette (Kristen Ballard), three talented young women who add spunk and spark to the proceedings with their Greek chorus-like commentary (Little Shop of Horrors, Da-Doo, Ya Never Know, Dentist!). Brady Lay adds good laughs playing Bernstein and Snip, though microphone glitches on opening night marred some of his best lines.

Carol Ballard's four-piece combo is just the right size for this smallish show; Lynda Dilts-Benson's set works well for the cast and movement of the stage action; Kathy Muriel's choreography and stage management round out a good production; and the ensemble adds heft to the already hefty show.

Little Shop of Horrors, a musical, runs through Sunday at Stage West Community Playhouse, 8390 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill. Tickets are $20 and $10 for students under 19, reserved seating. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. today and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call (352) 683-5113.

>>if you go

Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors runs through Sunday at Stage West Community Playhouse, 8390 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill. Tickets are $20 and $10 for students under 19, reserved seating. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. today and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call (352) 683-5113.

Cast delivers laughter, fun in Stage West's 'Little Shop of Horrors' 11/13/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 4:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Artist exchange creates Tampa-Havana friendships

    Visual Arts

    SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — Bad weather rocked the Southwest Airlines flight from Havana to Tampa.

    Marian Valdes of Havana, Cuba, who is a resident artist through the Tempus Projects artist exchange program, stands for a portrait at the non-profit art space in Tampa, Fla., on Monday, July 17, 2017. Valdes has an upcoming exhibit titled “Addicted Involution.”
  2. Bar review: Attic Cafe and Bar, brews with views of downtown Tampa

    Bars & Spirits

    It's ironic that Tampa Bay WaVE — an entrepreneur incubator with an eye on growing Tampa's tech startups — keeps its offices in a century-old building originally used as an auditorium for the adjacent Masonic Lodge.

    One big plus at the Attic Cafe & Bar is its patio and balcony, where you can spy City Hall and a few other landmarks in downtown Tampa. Local history also figures prominently.
  3. Local craft beer of the week: Joosy Froot IPA from Tampa Bay Beer Works

    Bars & Spirits

    Tampa Beer Works has always been a bit of an odd duck. Originally opened as ESB Brewing Co. by the owners of the adjacent homebrew supply store, the company rebranded and reopened last year with a new name, new head brewer, new recipes and a new brewing philosophy. This includes a range of beers treated with novel …

    Photo by Justin Grant/special to tbt*
  4. Behind the lens: To capture an exhilarating moment, it's better to be lucky AND good

    Travel

    Editor's note: Boyzell Hosey, our Assistant Managing Editor - Photography/Multimedia, shot this image while on a family vacation in Alaska. Below is his description of the shot.

  5. Looking Back: The Ybor City Streetcar gets a new life (Dec. 27, 1991)

    Attractions

    Before World War II Tampa's public transportation needs were covered by a network of Birney streetcars, with a peak of 24 million passengers in 1926. When a local streetcar enthusiast came across a 1920's model, she contacted the Tampa Trolley Society with an eye towards restoration. That streetcar would become the part …