Broadway in Our Backyard: Little Shop of Horrors at ACT of CT

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This post is sponsored by ACT of CT, but the opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting our sponsors.

In my adult life before kids, the majority of my time was spent in a theater. Stage managing, directing, acting, singing, dancing, playing in the pit band, building sets, hanging lights…I’ve kind of done it all. Now in my life with young kids, my role has largely changed to that of an audience member. So when I heard there was a new equity theater right in Ridgefield, I took the opportunity to see a show I’ve never seen before. That’s right, I’ve done hundreds of shows over the past 20+ years, and I’ve never done or seen Little Shop of Horrors. (I was in the song “Skid Row” during my college show choir days, but that’s about it!).

My mom and I arrived at ACT of Connecticut (ACT stands for A Contemporary Theatre) for their matinee performance. I was impressed by the grounds and was hoping the inside would be just as welcoming. I was blown away. The theater space is gorgeous. Canvases of previous performances line the halls, and I loved the modern feel of the entire lobby. The theater has a bar and concessions near the box office, featuring beers from Nod Hill Brewery located right in Ridgefield. (I have to say, I’m a bit jealous this theater wasn’t there when I was living in the area and doing shows all the time!).

If you’re like I was, and aren’t familiar with the story of Little Shop of Horrors, a trio of women, otherwise known as the Urchins (Kadrea Dawkins, Ashley Alexandra Seldon, and Rachelle Legrand) tell the story which takes place on Skid Row, a place you try to move away from, not a place you would ever move to. A local flower shop is on the verge of closing when the shop clerk, Seymour (Robb Sapp), presents his boss Mr. Mushnik (William Thomas Evans) and coworker Audrey (Laura Woyasz) with Audrey II (Kent Overshown), a “very interesting plant” he has been raising. Seymour comes to realize that the plant craves a very special liquid, and once it gets a taste, the plant begins to grow…and grow…and grow. 

This dark comedy has several twists and turns, and you might not be able to guess what exactly is coming up next! Artistic Director Daniel C. Levine (who also plays the Dentist, as well as several other roles), says, “Little Shop of Horrors is truly the perfect show for ACT. The real ‘star’ of the show is Audrey II (the man-eating plant) and I can’t wait for our audiences to see what we have in store. In fact, those in the front row may want to bring a can of Roundup for protection!”

This theater is such an intimate space, and you are guaranteed an excellent view of the stage from any seat you choose. I’m always partial to 4th row center, and that’s exactly where we were seated! I was amazed to learn that the actors only have three weeks to learn the entire show and the pit band only has two days. Even with the abbreviated rehearsal time, the audience would have been none the wiser. This group of performers presented a wonderful show.

As good as the performance was, I do have to add that this show does have some adult themes that could be triggers for those people who have experienced relationship/domestic abuse. Although there were a handful of children in the audience, ACT of CT has also recommended that children under 13 not attend. I would have to agree with them on this one, and I’d save this particular show for a moms’ night out or date night instead!

Little Shop of Horrors (Jason A. Sparks, Director and Choreographer; P. Jason Yarcho, Music Director) is the opening production for ACT of CT’s second season and runs through November 3rd. The show times are: Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2.p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. A sensory-friendly performance is offered free of charge for those with sensory needs on Sunday, November 3rd at 2 p.m. Purchase tickets HERE.

For more information about ACT of CT, ticket and annual subscription sales, fall education programs, sponsor/donor opportunities, and other theatre-related news and announcements, visit www.actofct.org.

Production dates for their next shows are below:

Godspell: February 6th– March 8th, 2020

Broadway Unplugged, Featuring Derek Klena: Monday, Dec. 16th at 7pm

Nickel Mines: March 19-29th, 2020

Freaky Friday: May 14th– June 14th, 2020

Overall, my experience at Little Shop of Horrors was amazing. The cast was outstanding and super tight, the set and lighting put you right on Skid Row, the production quality was Broadway-caliber, and the staff was friendly and so helpful, even letting me take a picture onstage with Audrey II after the show! I had a great time at this absolutely stellar production and can’t wait to go back and catch another show in the future!

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Charity is originally from CT, but grew up in New Hampshire. She returned to CT in 2000 for college, and currently resides in Monroe with her husband (married in 2011) and three children (A son born in 2012 and identical twin daughters born in 2017). Charity works part time as a Speech-Language Pathologist for the CT Birth to Three system. She thinks it's the best of both worlds because she gets to work in a job she loves (and needs to pay off those hefty grad school loans!) and be home a few days a week with her children. Charity enjoys theatre, and brings her son often. This past year, she discovered her gifts as an intuitive medium. You can visit her personal website at: www.charityferrisintuitivemedium.mypixieset.com.

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