On “Little Shop of Horrors Day” remembering Arkansas Rep’s 1996 production

Because it is referenced in the script, September 21 is “Little Shop of Horrors” day.  That brought back memories of productions I have seen and in which I have been involved.

But it also brought back a memory of a production I nearly did not get to see.  In September 1996, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre was preparing to open its season with LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.  When horror struck.

During the Wednesday, September 4, preview performance, actor Kaleo Griffith injured himself severely enough that surgery would be required. He had no understudy.  The show was set to open on Friday, September 6.  The September 5 preview and opening night were cancelled.

Rep Founder/Artistic Director Cliff Baker, production director Brad Mooy and Rep staff sprang into action to try to find someone who could play the part on short notice. Howard Pinhasik, who had played the part before and was available, arrived in Little Rock, rehearsed with the cast, and the show opened one day late on Saturday, September 7.

Others in the cast were Joseph Conz, Kathrynne Haack, Tim Reynolds, David Johnson, Ericka Cooper, Tracey Lee and Tammi Phillips

The show played the rest of its run through September 29, 1996, without incident.  Well other than people getting fed to a talking plant every night.

The Twenty-First Day of the Month of September: A Remembrance of LITTLE SHOP at Arkansas Rep

Because it is referenced in the script, September 21 is “Little Shop of Horrors” day.  That brought back memories of productions I have seen and in which I have been involved.

But it also brought back a memory of a production I nearly did not get to see.  In September 1996, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre was preparing to open its season with LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.  When horror struck.

During the Wednesday, September 4, preview performance, actor Kaleo Griffith injured himself severely enough that surgery would be required. He had no understudy.  The show was set to open on Friday, September 6.  The September 5 preview and opening night were cancelled.

Rep Founder/Artistic Director Cliff Baker, production director Brad Mooy and Rep staff sprang into action to try to find someone who could play the part on short notice. Howard Pinhasik, who had played the part before and was available, arrived in Little Rock, rehearsed with the cast, and the show opened one day late on Saturday, September 7.

Others in the cast were Joseph Conz, Kathrynne Haack, Tim Reynolds, David Johnson, Ericka Cooper, Tracey Lee and Tammi Phillips

The show played the rest of its run through September 29, 1996, without incident.  Well other than people getting fed to a talking plant every night.

Creative Class 2016: Jane Morgan Balgavy

cc16-balgavyFrom attorneys to local news anchors to MTV actors to Fortune 500 executives, Jane Morgan Balgavy, has molded many lives in her career teaching theatre, debate, and forensics.  As an actor, she has graced many stages in Little Rock and Central Arkansas.  Among her most recent performances are Grace in Bus Stop, Carrie in The Trip to Bountiful, M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias and Jane in A…My Name Is Alice.  She also appeared in the 2014 Listen to Your Mother.  As a director, she has helmed many productions at area high schools and for non-profits.  She is currently rehearsing the cast for her upcoming Little Shop of Horrors.

But it is in role as a teacher she has probably made her most lasting impression.  Whether the students ultimately end up on stage as a career is not her goal. Her primary aim is to use the arts to instill confidence, self-worth, a zest for life, a zeal for learning, and respect for others.  Currently she is the Department Chair of the Arts District at the new Jacksonville High School.  When not on stage, she is usually taking her students to see shows at various Central Arkansas theatres.  She has won numerous awards as an educator, but she would probably say her biggest title is to be: Rocky & Neva’s daughter, John’s wife, Hayden’s mom, and lover of animals.

Little Shop of Horrors at UALR this weekend and next

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock Theatre Department is hosting several performances of the play, “Little Shop of Horrors,” about a hapless florist shop worker who raises a man-eating plant, in October.

Little Shop of HorrorsPerformances started on October 9 and continue tonight (October 11) and again on Oct. 16, 17, 18.

The first week’s showtimes on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are all at 8 p.m. For the second week’s shows on Thursday and Friday, performances are at 8 p.m., and the last Saturday’s performance is a matinee at 2:30 p.m.

Performances will be at University Theatre in the Center for Performing Arts at UALR. Ticket prices are $10 for the general public and $5 for  senior citizens and UALR students, faculty, and staff.

For more information or tickets call 501.569.3456.

The cast includes Heidee Alsdorf, Hope Boyd, Marquis Bullock, Brian Chambers, Gabrielle Confer, Brianna East, Jeremy Grandison, Katie Greer, Ashley Mahan, William Wofford, and Jay Raphael.

Little Shop of Horrors is an award winning musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics and book by Howard Ashman.

 

Little Shop of Horrors continues at The Studio Theatre

LSOHTSTThe second production of The Studio Theatre is the award winning 1983 musical Little Shop of Horrors.  Featuring book and lyrics by Oscar winner Howard Ashman and music by Oscar winner Alan Menken it is based on an early film from Roger Corman.

The cast includes Sharayah Wallace, Jess Carson, Denai Brown, Jeremiah James Herman, Gabi Baltzley, Jeremy Hall, David Weatherly, Duane Jackson and Mark Burbank.

The show is directed by Michael Henderson with music direction by Matthew David Mentgen.  Brandon Nichols is the choreographer.

The show opened on Thursday, September 11.  It continues tonight, September 18-20 and September 25-27 at 7:30pm.  On September 21, there is a special 5pm performance.

Tickets are $20.

Wiz Biz at Ark Rep

Melson, Williams, Stewart and Alexzander (photo by Cindy Momchilov, courtesy of the Arkansas Rep)There will be a whirlwind of activity as the Arkansas Rep opens The Wiz tomorrow night. This Tony Award winning super soulful retelling of The Wizard of Oz features a witty book by William F. Brown and a score by Charlie Smalls that is infused with blues, R&B, gospel, disco, jazz and good old fashioned razzmatazz.

This production (which runs through April 1 – no fooling, it closes that day) is directed by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, who has directed A Raisin in the Sun and Dreamgirls at the Rep.  The cast includes Carla Stewart at Dorothy, Nik Alexzander as the Scarecrow, Tony Melson as the Tin Man, Darryl Jovan Williams as the Lion, and Baci as Toto.  Sinclair Mitchell plays both Uncle Henry and the title character, while Zoie Morris plays both Aunt Em and Glinda.  Jennifer Leigh Warren, who was in the original New York casts of Little Shop of Horrors and Big River will be playing Addapearle (a good witch) and Evilene (the wicked witch).

The creative team for this production includes Set Designer: Mike Nichols, Lighting Designer: Douglas Cox, Costume Designer: Rafael Colon Castanera, Properties Designer: Lynda J. Kwallek, Sound Designer: M. Jason Pruzin, Music Director: Charles Creath and Choreographer: James Harkness.