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. Comedy legend Jerry Lewis dead at 91

    Obituaries

    LOS ANGELES — Jerry Lewis, the manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons, has died. He was …

    In this Sept. 2, 1990, file photo, entertainer Jerry Lewis makes his opening remarks at the 25th Anniversary of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon fundraiser in Los Angeles. Lewis, the comedian whose fundraising telethons became as famous as his hit movies, has died according to his publicist. [Associated Press]
  2. If you miss out on Retro Futura tour, you'll be needing a little 'Tenderness'

    Blogs

    Closing out Retro Futura Week is a little bit of a cheat. We started the week with the English Beat and we end it with an offshoot of the Beat, the band General Public and their hit …

  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 20

    Events

    The Art of the Brick: An elaborate display of more than 100 pieces of Lego artwork including the life sized sculpture of a man ripping open his chest, a 20-foot-long T. rex skeleton, a giant skull and replicas of famous works including Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night and Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona …

    Eliana Goldberg, 5, of Wesley Chapel looks at a Lego sculpture called "Everlasting" at The Art of the Brick exhibit, which opened Friday in Tampa and runs through Sept. 4. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 19

    Events

    Monster Jam Triple Threat Series: Come early for the Pit Party ($15 or free at local Ford dealers) to meet the drivers and get pictures with the trucks. 7 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $15-$80. (813) 301-2500.

    A crew member from the El Toro Loco monster truck, installs a truck tire, Thursday, 8/17/17 in preparation for Saturday's  Monster Jam Triple Threat Series at Amalie Arena, Tampa. The event will be held Saturday at 1pm and 7 pm.