Friday, September 4, 2015

Feeding Audrey II at the RTC Little Shop of Horrors Cast Party

Little Shop Feedings from John Panepinto on Vimeo.

Little Shop Feedings from John Panepinto on Vimeo.

Memo from the RTC: The Set of LSoH Has Been Struck
By Norm Scott
The Wave, Sept. 4, 2015
By 11:30 of the Monday after the previous day’s closing performance of Little Shop of Horrors, Tony Homsey’s crew had dismantled the magnificent set with the revolving stage (no one had room in their backyard) and the stage was bare. By 3PM, a chunk of the set for the October opening of the Peggy Page Directed Neil Simon play, “Plaza Suite” was up. (Many RTC regulars know Peggy from her amazing work behind the ticket counter, but are possibly not aware of how great a director she is).
The house pretty much was close to a sellout for all 4 performances by a heroic cast of on and off stage performers. Director Susan Corning is often modest about her work – but being part of a crew working with her is magic. And having the King of RTC, John Gilleece as his co-director and the Queen of RTC, Susan Jasper, as producer, didn’t hurt. See a video of the Skid Row number at And a fun video at the cast party as everyone was fed into Audrey II. (video by John Panepinto, who played the sadistic dentist.)
Not seen on stage were was the fabulous voice of RTC newcomer Kyle Benoit-Cartier as the behind the scenes voice of the plant. It is too bad the audience didn’t get to see much of Kyle, who had a small on stage part early in the show, because he is such a physical presence. I hope we see more of him.
Then there are the 2 puppeteers – our 13 year old wonder Steven Wagner (an upcoming 8th grader at Scholars Academy who gave up one of his final days off to work with the construction crew), who, appropriately, played the young Audrey II flesh eating plant and Andy Guzman who operated the 2 grown up versions of the plant.
Andy operated the super-giant puppet for every performance from inside and many feel his mastery of puppeteering was one of the keys that made the show work so well. And at the Saturday night performance, Andy was a true hero when the supports for the giant puppet collapsed as the real Audrey was fed into the puppet and she fell on top of him, trapping him underneath. Quick thinking by the crew excavated Reanna Flemons, playing Audrey ( got chills everytime she belted out “Suddenly Seymour”), from the mouth of the puppet as the lighting crew turned off the lights so the audience wouldn’t notice. Andy was still trapped with the collapsed puppet on top of him and the show could have gone down the drain at that point. But he kept operating the damaged massive puppet for the rest of the show.
Such are the trials, tribulations and excitement of live theater. I have so many good things to say about the show that I would run out of room. The talent pool at RTC overflows. This cast was as diverse a cast as I’ve seen and with new talent flowing in there are even dreams of how the Urchins played by Janicke Steadman-Charles, Tenna Torres and Renee Steadman would do some amazing job in a show like Dream Girls. Imagine a show like that at our little outpost in Fort Tilden! Talk about bringing east and west Rockaway together. But let’s leave those dreams of Dream Girls for another day as I take a short break from my RTC columns for a while and will focus on my other column, School Scope, as a new school year of chaos begins.
Norm blogs at

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