WCT feeds laughs to audience with ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

Stop feeding those exotic plants because Whittier Community Theatre (WCT) just began their 94th season with the hilarious off-Broadway comedy, horror, musical smash hit, “Little Shop of Horrors,” to an eager crowd of all ages.

Based on the book by Howard Ashman with ideas from the 1960s film by Roger Corman, this musical production is directed by Karen Jacobson, who brings to life a bloody-thirsty tale of Mushnik’s Skid Row Florist, a flower shop in skid row downtown about to close their doors due to hard times.

Just as they’re about to call it quits, Seymour Krelborn, an under appreciated employee with low self-esteem, surprises shop owner Mr. Mushnik, and coworker Audrey, with a new plant recently purchased during a total eclipse of the sun as a “new attraction” to boost revenue.

As business blossoms, so does the tiny little plant that Seymour names Audrey II, but Seymour hides a dark secret: the plant does not feed on water, plant food, or the sunlight, it needs something else; something that might be connected to some mysterious disappearances from people around skid row downtown; including Audrey’s hot-tempered boyfriend, Dr. Orin Scrivello, D.D.S.

Jacobson keeps the pace moving right along and the characters are “real” characters and they are developed to meet the demands of the performance.

Jonathan Tupanjanin, known for other stage productions such as Johnny Guitar and Witness for the Prosecution, portrays a very likeable Seymour Krelborn. Tupanjanin’s acting and singing were enjoyable and easy to follow, making him stand out with such songs as, “Grow for Me,” and “Suddenly, Seymour.”

Mallory Kerwin, known for recent acts such as The Fox on the Fairway, and Once Upon a Mattress, delivered a very lovable, kind, Audrey. Kerwin’s voice is out of this world, with songs like, “Somewhere That’s Green,” and its shocking reprise. Her accent was a sweet touch to her character, and Kerwin seemed relaxed through her acting; delivering her lines flawlessly.

Matthew P. Berardi, who previously starred in Johnny Guitar as Johnny Guitar, delivered the cruel, and intimidating Orin so well he stole Act I with his “Now (It’s just the Gas)” number. Berardi, who previously played the hero, returns as a very believable villain for a short duration, but very well executed.

Richard De Vicariis portrayed Mr. Musnik, the shop owner who mistreats Seymour until he starts profiting from Audrey II. Although he shows signs of kindness from time to time, and even adopts Seymour at one point, his greed ultimately plays a part in his demise. Vicarris did an excellent job as Mr. Mushnik. His singing in “Mushnik and son” with Tupanjanin was one of the crowd favorites.

Bear C.A. Sanchez, who voices the exotic flower, and Sam Maytubby, with the help of Steven Sanborn, helped in making the enormous plant a singing success.

Overall, the musical direction by Kevin Wiley with the choreography of

Shannon Kane, and the help of the whole cast and crew made the musical a must see for the whole family.

For anyone interested in catching a one-of-a-kind show, check out Little Shop of Horrors, at Whittier Community Theatre.

The musical continues it’s run this Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m., through Sept. 26, with a matinee on Sept. 20 at 2:30 p.m.

For more information go to: http://www.whittiercommunitytheatre.org/index.htm or in person at: 7630 S. Washington Ave. Whittier, CA 90602 (562) 696-0600

Photo credit: Avis Photography