Foothill gets down ‘n’ dirty with ‘Little Shop’

Foothill Music Theatre’s rousing version of “Little Shop of Horrors” prompts the question: Why isn’t this bloody good show produced more often?

The dark comedy, an off-Broadway hit about a flesh-eating, soul-singing plant who brings fame and fortune to its caretakers in a skid-row florist shop, is a delicious, irresistible mix of black humor, the Faustian legend and catchy doo-wop tunes.

The Foothill cast makes the most of the material, written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (years before their Disney megahits such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Little Mermaid”) and based on Roger Corman’s 1960 ultimate B-movie of the same name.

Under direction by Milissa Carey (who keeps the staging simple on the compact set) and musical direction by Dolores Duran-Cefalu, the actors, all stellar singers, give great performances.

Adam Cotugno hits the right notes as Seymour, the nerdy fellow in love with sexy, ditzy Audrey (Adrienne Walters gives her sweetness and depth) who names his one-of-a-kind plant Audrey II when he brings it to the sad store run by Mr. Mushnik (Alex Perez, who is wonderfully put-upon).

Overseeing the action is the neighborhood girl-group Greek chorus: Lyn Mehe’ula as Crystal, Melissa Baxter as Chiffon and Megan Coomans as Ronette do a terrific job with extensive, difficult harmonies.

Meanwhile, Jeff Clarke as Orin Scrivello, Audrey’s sadistic dentist boyfriend, and James Devreaux Lewis as the voice of Audrey II revel in their villainy.

David Kirk and Erik Scilley operate the musical’s showiest character, the ever-growing Audrey II, which morphs from a seemingly innocuous, small houseplant to a massive, toothy, human-chomping monster. Watching Audrey II — a succession of larger and larger, wilder and wilder puppets apparently on the community theater circuit — transform with an insatiable hunger is one of “Little Shop’s” chief charms.

The five-piece band, headed by Duran-Cefalu on keyboards and cleverly semihidden behind a brick wall at the side of the stage, provides the perfect accompaniment to the proceedings. From start to finish, “Little Shop” is nothing but fun — and there’s still time to catch a performance during the final weekend of the show’s run.


Little Shop of Horrors

Presented by Foothill Music Theatre

Where: Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $10 to $28

Contact: (650) 949-7360,

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