Friday, August 21, 2015

Little Shop of Horrors Opens Tonight at Rockaway Theatre Company

A quick break from ed politics.

I'm just back from a full day of final stage tuneups for tonight's opening. This stage has been the most work - the details are amazing. Tony and I just to the lumber yard to pick up some more stage junk for Skid Row -- wait till you see what we found. Tonight is sold out but there are tickets available for most other shows - this weekend a Sat and Sun matinee and next Thurs night would be a good bet - email me and I will reserve tickets in your name - $18, $15 for seniors - and free parking at Fort Tilden beach - go in for a swim before or after the show.

Below is my column for last week's Wave which didn't get in and is now in this week's Wave. We'll take what we can get.

The Urchins - wait till you hear these gals belt it out

Little Shop Of Horrors - Opens!

Memo from the RTC 

I’ve been hard at work with Rockaway Theatre Company Master Builder Tony Homsey to finish the set in time for the Aug. 21 opening of Little Shop of Horrors. Well, Tony has been hard at work while I mostly watch. From the big stuff - need a stage that can turn 360 degrees?

To the small stuff –need a clock whose hands turn without seeming human involvement? Tony’s got the answer. Need a giant man-eating plant? Well, that’s not Tony’s bailiwick – we just have to make sure he doesn’t wander too close or we’ll never get another stage built.
One problem even Tony can’t seem to solve – or contain - is the explosive excitement and enthusiasm on the part of Director Susan Corning and her cast over this show. We’re really getting worried that the roof may blow off as this tornado of a show heads into the final week of rehearsal.

Susan told me that one of the reasons the cast with many RTC first timers is so extraordinary is that they are such fans of Little Shop and have dreamed of appearing in a production. Here are some of their comments:

Reanna Flemons (Audrey): I love the Rockaway Theatre Company (this is my third summer show I’ve done), the people, the patrons, the production value, their sweet little theater by the beach... I could go on and on! — But what I am most excited about this particular production is the opportunity to play this role again, on a New York stage, and as a grown adult that’s been through theater school! I played Audrey in high school, and it’s such a great memory, but I’ve always wanted to revisit the role. Now I finally get the chance, with a director I adore and a phenomenal cast! Audrey is one of my favorite female characters in musical theaterplus I’m a huge B- movie fan, so this is the perfect kind of musical for me! It will be my pleasure to be eaten by this plant every night!

RTC vet Renee Steadman (Sarah in Guys and Dolls): I play Crystal, one of the street urchins. Crystal is the urchin with the most sass. She always has a snarky comment and a comeback for everything. The Urchins are so much fun to play; they are full of attitude and basically run Skid Row! I am so lucky not only to play this fun character but to be a part of this tremendously talented cast!

Donald Gormanly (Seymour Krelborn): Why I’m excited about this production: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS has been my favorite show since I first saw the musical film in the mid-80s. I was always enamored with Seymour because he is such an unlikely hero. Also, the music in the show is so memorable that it captured my attention from the first song. I also could never resist the plant as an entity, on film and stage. It has been a fabulous time working with the amazing people at RTC.

Fred Grieco (Mr. Mushnik) – RTC vet Susan Corning directed him in Brighton Beach Memoirs: From the first moment I heard RTC was presenting Little Shop of Horrors as part of the 2015 season, I knew I wanted to be part of the show. I auditioned and, happily, was cast as Mr. Mushnik. Yes, it’s great to be in another RTC show (I’ve done five), and yes, it’s great to be working again with this director, and yes, I am surrounded by a beyond talented cast. But the best part is being able to share the stage with the amazing Audrey II, who I haven’t seen since we both studied acting under Lee Strasberg at the Actor’s Studio.

Enough! I’ve given you barely a hint of what’s to come. Now it’s your job to call the RTC hot line 718-374-6400 and get tickets to what is sure to be a sold-out show for its eight performances over ONLY two weekends. Here’s the skinny: Evenings at 8 p.m., Aug. 21, 22, 27 (a rare Thursday night performance), 28 and 29. Matinees at 2 p.m.: Aug. 22 (a Saturday, meaning two performances that day like Broadway matinee days), 23 and closing on the 30th, which means on Aug. 31, I meet Tony at the theater to start taking down the beauty of a set we built and start to build for Plaza Suite (opening Oct. 2). Anyone need a 12 foot wide revolving stage?

For those few who miss Norm’s comments on education this week, check out his scurrilous blog at

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