Entertainment » Music

Little Shop of Horrors - New Off-Broadway Cast Recording

by Jason Southerland
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Jan 15, 2020
Little Shop of Horrors - New Off-Broadway Cast Recording

The 2019 off-Broadway revival of "Little Shop of Horrors" did a magnificent job of retaining the vital sweetness of the original, while successfully bringing it into the 21st century. The cast album from Ghostlight Records, which features outstanding arrangements and orchestrations by Will Van Dyke, highlights the strengths of the production and is a delight to listen to, even for those who are attached to previous incarnations.

Standout vocal performances from Jonathan Groff as Seymour and Christian Borle as the Dentist (and a variety of other characters) anchor the recording. Groff's Seymour is nerdy, for sure, but there's a slickness that begins to emerge allowing us to hear his character transition from putz to glitz. On the other extreme, Borle deftly jumps from one character to the other, with a keen sense of where the line separates satire from camp — he only crosses it sparingly and when the material calls for it.

One of the highlights of "Little Shop" is the Greek chorus — three black "street urchins" who narrate, play random characters, and move the story along. As embodied by Ari Groover, Salome Smith, and Joy Woods, they provide a powerful vocal counterpoint to the leading players. Tammy Blanchard's Audrey lacks some of the vocal personality and innocence that Ellen Greene brought to the original recording. Her performance is fine if somewhat less successful than her counterparts at communicating nuance. Tom Alan Robbins (Mr. Mushnik) and Kingsley Leggs (Audrey II, a.k.a. The Plant) round out the cast nicely.

The recording includes several musical sequences that were omitted from the original 1982 original cast recording, and they are exciting and welcome here. This includes the extended version of "The Meek Shall Inherit," one of the most exciting scene/song integrations in any musical. When Groff belts out "My future's started..." you know he's fully given in to Audrey II, and the world is doomed.

"Little Shop of Horrors - New Off-Broadway Cast Recording"

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