Last week Little Shop of Horrors debuted as part of the 2015 Encores! Off-Center season. The cast included Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal as Seymour, Tony Award Nominee Ellen Greene reprising her legendary performance as Audrey, Saturday Night Live player Taran Killam as Orin, Joe Grifasi as Mushnik, Anwar Kareem and Eddie Cooper (son of Tony Award winner, Chuck Cooper) as the killer plant Audrey II, and Tracy Nicole Chapman, Marva Hicks, and Ramona Keller — best known for their performances as the Radio in the musical Caroline, or Change — star as the Urchins.
From The New York City Center Website;
Before Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid, there was a sinister little houseplant saying, “Feed me.” Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s giddy, gory musical Little Shop of Horrors was their first major hit, running Off-Broadway for five years and spawning a 1986 cult-classic film. Now the show returns to City Center in a special event starring Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal as Seymour Krelborn, a hapless florist who pursues a doomed romance with his ditzy, lovable co-worker Audrey (Tony Award nominee Ellen Greene) by acquiring a plant that feeds on human blood.
The production only ran for three performances July 1 – July 2, and each show was completely sold out! And for good reason, as the show received mostly positive reviews from critics.
What made this production particularly exciting was forgoing the usual extensive special-effect puppet that is Audrey II, and instead having the plant on stage as a fully visible little boy (play by Anwar Kareem) that eventually transforms later, to a large man with a soothing bass voice (played by Eddie Cooper). The choice seemed to sit well with most critics as the USA Today stated;
Eddie Cooper brought a booming voice and a chilling gregariousness to the part of the bloodthirsty plant (named Audrey II), who brings money and fame to Seymour and the shop but makes increasingly heavy demands on our hero’s conscience.
Tracy Nicole Chapman, Marva Hicks and Ramona Keller lent witty, sultry support as the three ladies who function as the show’s girl-group chorus. “You know the meek are gonna get what’s comin’ to em,” they tease Seymour towards the end.
The show was last seen on Broadway in New York in a 2003 production starring Hunter Foster and Kerry Butler, the show closed on August 22, 2004 after 40 previews and 372 regular performances.
Next up for Encores! Off-Center, The Wild Party which begins July 15 and stars Sutton Foster, Steven Pasquale, and Brandon Victor Dixon.
Once On This Island’s Hailey Kilgore Will Make Her Solo Concert Debut!
Tony & Grammy Nominee Hailey Kilgore will make her solo concert debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below this month! The Once On This Island star makes her debut following the closing of the Tony-winning revival, and she’s clearly got more stories to tell!
The concert entitled Mirrors is a night of celebration including the music that has influenced her meteoric rise. On January 30th 9:30 pm she shares her personal life story as a young girl to a young woman on the Broadway stage.
The 19-year-old vocalist has a set list that ranges from Jason Robert Brown to Alicia Keys. One thing we can say is that this show will sell out! So, stop waiting for life to begin and mark your calendars.
About Last Night: Montego Glover, Nicholas Christopher, Brandon Victor Dixon & More!
Broadway may go dark on Mondays, but Broadway Black stars were still shining all over New York City last night.
First up was the New York POPS Underground performance. Formerly known as “Cabaret Evening,” Underground is the intimate offering of New York Pops orchestra. Hosted at the infamous Feinstein’s/54 Below the benefit supports NY Pops music education program, PopsEd. Last night’s special guests were Tony Yazbeck and Tony Award nominee Montego Glover. The ever joyful Glover performed a few musical favorites including “I Loves You Porgy,” “I Dreamed a Dream,” and a jazzy rendition of the Memphis delight, “Someday.”
Before recognizing Queens P.S. 175 Principal Patricia Cooper as the first honoree of the NY PopsEd initiative, Glover shared, ” I know from experience that music has the power to save, to guide, to inspire. I am standing as living proof that music has done exactly that.”
Glover and Yazbeck closed the show with an exciting duet of “Feelin’ Good” featuring Tony’s incredible tapping skills and Montego effortlessly belting notes that only dogs can hear. Hate that we couldn’t share it with you, but we were just too busy being entertained to capture it on film!
Next, it was down to the West Village to see Darling, a developmental piece by Ryan Scott Oliver. Following the smooth Nicholas Christopher (Hamilton) as Peter and the vocally stunning Kerstin Anderson as Wendy “Darling,” this abstract musical is a contemporary telling of Peter Pan like you’ve never imagined it before.
Producers, Motown Choreographer Warren Adams and Hamilton star Brandon Victor Dixon, were on hand to introduce the show to an enthusiastic audience at the hip Le Poisson Rouge. The brilliant musical arrangement told a captivating story while highlighting the young cast’s musical aptitude and artistry. Vocal standouts included leads Christopher and Anderson, singing for the GODS for the duration of the show, the Lost Boys, with their soulful, sassy musical quips, and Les Miserables vet Brennyn Lark, taking sexy to a WHOLE other level. The recorded event concluded with a thunderous standing ovation from the audience, confirming this show is exactly what young theater lovers want. Keep an eye out for this one. It’s gonna be big!