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A killer night time out: The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Competition’s mainstage eschews Shakespeare in favor of ‘Little Store of Horrors’

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For those who’ve averted the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Competition due to its … nicely, its Shakespeare, I’ve excellent news: There’s nothing in any respect intellectual in regards to the LTSF 2023 season’s one and solely mainstage manufacturing, Little Store of Horrors.

In actual fact, its roots are in Roger Corman’s 1960 B-movie of the identical title—a cult basic that was conceived by screenwriter Chuck Griffith and Corman throughout a drunken binge, written over a weekend and shot in simply three days.

The splendidly bizarre story was reimagined by powerhouse writing workforce Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, as a 1982 off-Broadway musical and as a campy 1986 movie musical starring Steve Martin and Rick Moranis. In 2003, the vastly fashionable musical debuted on Broadway.

For these of you unfamiliar with the frightfully foolish plot (confession—that was me till just lately), right here’s the gist. Shy, clumsy, nerdy Seymour Krelborn (performed by Steven Huynh) and the thing of his affection, his ditzy blond co-worker, Audrey (Adrian Grace Bumpas), work at Mushnik’s Flower Store on Skid Row, a tough New York neighborhood the place just about nobody ever buys flowers. Poor Mr. Mushnik (M.A. Taylor) decides it’s time to shut the store for good … till Seymour reveals the odd plant he present in Chinatown in the course of the latest photo voltaic eclipse. When a buyer glimpses it by way of the store window and is drawn in to make an enormous buy, Mushnik is over the moon. Maybe the uncommon species, which Seymour names Audrey II after his beloved co-worker, may save the store? Mushnik locations it in prime place within the window; the store begins earning money hand over fist; and Seymour is a hero.

Nobody else is aware of what Seymour has found in regards to the plant’s weight loss plan—it wants blood to outlive. To maintain his job and save the store, he has been pricking his fingers to feed the beastly plant. However as a substitute of curbing its urge for food, it solely makes Audrey II greater and hungrier—till blood will not fulfill it. Now it must eat individuals.

In the meantime, Audrey has been relationship Orin Scrivello, DDS (Mark Bedard), a sadist who satisfies his personal urge for food to inflict ache by abusing Audrey and his dental sufferers. Seymour’s no predator, however he’ll do something to guard Audrey and hold Audrey II fed. He units his sights on Scrivello, pondering perhaps he can kill two birds with one stone.

Oddly sufficient, this grisly story is about to an upbeat, ’60s-style doo-wop soundtrack stuffed with surefire earworms.

How, pray inform, do you create a man-eating plant that grows to monstrous proportions over the course of two hours on stage? “Two phrases: big puppets,” defined producing creative director Charles Charge. And superb puppets—and puppeteers—they’re.

The complexity of those plot particulars and staging are the rationale behind the choice to have just one mainstage manufacturing this yr.

“It’s an anomaly this yr,” he stated. “The set design for Little Store and the puppets are so advanced that we will’t put the arrange and take it down day by day.”

Really, the set and the dimensions of the puppetry are spectacular sights to behold. Plus, the excessive stage {of professional} expertise among the many forged, as each actors and singers, makes the complete efficiency totally entertaining and pleasurable from begin to end. Highlights embrace Bedard as an Elvis-like Scrivello in addition to a number of different characters who seem all through the present, and the vocal abilities of the three feminine road urchins, a Greek-chorus-style trio with Chiffon (Kris Lyons), Ronnette (Sydney Jaye) and Crystal (Sydney Alexandra Whittenburg). Lyons, particularly, is magnetic, and her voice astonishingly good.

To be honest, it’s exhausting to not get pleasure from a present at Sand Harbor, with its views of Lake Tahoe at sundown, gentle temperatures and scrumptious meals ready on the venue’s on-site restaurant, Shakespeare’s Kitchen. It’s type of a bonus that the present is killer, too.

Little Store of Horrors is carried out at numerous occasions and dates by way of Sunday, Aug. 20, as a part of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Competition. Reveals happen at Sand Harbor, 2005 Freeway 28, in Incline Village. Tickets begin at $17; attendees should additionally buy a Nevada State Parks entrance go for $10. For tickets or extra info, go to laketahoeshakespeare.com.

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