By Peter Roslovich
Little Shop Of Horrors is truly a very unconventional musical. It began as a black-and-white comedy film by Roger Corman in 1960. In 1982, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken premiered their musical version of the film as an off-Broadway production. This caught the attention of Frank Oz, who adapted it to the screen once more in his 1986 version. And in 2016, it finds its way to Brooklyn Tech’s stage with Edwin Velazquez as director. Its multiple iterations have certainly added to its overall oddness, as over the years the show has created a combination of humor, romance, horror, and up-beat rock music. It sure sounds like it would make an absolute mess of a show, but it’s actually an extraordinarily fun time and Brooklyn Tech’s version is no different!
The story follows Seymour Krelborn (David Raufova) who is a lowly and timid employee in Mushnick’s Flower Shop, owned by Mr. Mushnick (Joshua Kogut), who is plagued by financial problems. The other employee of Mushnick’s Flower Shop is Audrey (Madelaine Lebetkin) whom Seymour has developed a crush on, with the only problem being her sadistic boyfriend Orin Scrivello (Dedrick McAlmont). On the day of an eclipse, Seymour finds an extremely odd plant which he dubs Audrey II (voiced by Fleurevca Francois and puppeted by Nikolas Almodovar, Chris Panagakos and Kristoff Modeste) that he brings back to the flower shop. The popularity caused by the plant is enough to solve the Shop’s financial problems, as well as Seymour’s. However, there is only one question: What does the plant eat?
Everybody in the play brings their own manic energy to the stage further adding to the play’s oddball fun. Whether it be the Seymour’s naiveté, Audrey and Mushnik’s caricature-esque 1950s Brooklyn Jewish accents (which were part of what made the original film so odd and original) or the manner in which Orin revels in his own sadistic actions, everybody on the stage owns their part and everybody has a distinct acting style which makes it very easy to distinguish characters and, in turn, creates a very clear and concise narrative.
In truth, the play is very atmospheric and the little touches go a very long way. The background portrait of the Brooklyn Bridge is beautiful and changes color with the lights. It really adds to the atmosphere, instead of being something that just needs to be there. When an actor exits the stage, they go through two sets of doors (one out of the shop and another out into the street). The neighborhood girls (Ahnashalo Selassie, Lexi Murman, Emma Fountain, Sandra Kralik, Fadwa Yousef) who begin and end the play as well as acting as backup singers, always sit in the foreground (where the street is supposed to be) making the shop and street feel like living, breathing places not just sets of a play. Everything adds up to a great experience.
However, perhaps the greatest part of the play is what it means to the people that partake in it.
David Melo ‘17 who plays Patrick Martin in the play says:
“It’s my second year doing this and it’s very special to me since this is where I found my first group of friends. I’ve found that theater has always been something important in my life. Although it’s stressful it’s also something very fun to do.”
Sandra Kralik ‘17 who plays Chiffon says:
“This year’s production of Little Shop of Horrors was an amazing experience! Aside from all the long hours and the hard work put into bringing Mushnik’s Flower Shop to life, we all made some unforgettable memories and unbreakable friendships. I have such a passion for the arts and I loved every second of rehearsals, whether it was going over harmonies, tweaking choreography, or fixing blocking. Musicals in Tech have always been such an amazing experience because, in an engineering school, I didn’t expect to meet people that are so gifted in the arts. This was truly an unforgettable experience!”
Grace McCallister ‘17 who plays Skip Snip says:
“Being in the play has been one of my best experiences at tech because I met so many people I could relate to and feel comfortable with, which is a significant feat in this massive school. Also, Little Shop of Horrors is one of my favorite musicals, and it was super enjoyable to be able to perform in it.”