A killer night time out: The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Pageant’s mainstage eschews Shakespeare in favor of ‘Little Store of Horrors’

For those who’ve prevented the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Pageant due to its … properly, its Shakespeare, I’ve excellent news: There’s nothing in any respect intellectual concerning the LTSF 2023 season’s one and solely mainstage manufacturing, Little Store of Horrors.

The truth is, its roots are in Roger Corman’s 1960 B-movie of the identical title—a cult traditional that was conceived by screenwriter Chuck Griffith and Corman throughout a drunken binge, written over a weekend and shot in simply three days.

The splendidly bizarre story was reimagined by powerhouse writing crew Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, as a 1982 off-Broadway musical and as a campy 1986 movie musical starring Steve Martin and Rick Moranis. In 2003, the massively fashionable musical debuted on Broadway.

For these of you unfamiliar with the frightfully foolish plot (confession—that was me till just lately), right here’s the gist. Shy, clumsy, nerdy Seymour Krelborn (performed by Steven Huynh) and the article of his affection, his ditzy blond co-worker, Audrey (Adrian Grace Bumpas), work at Mushnik’s Flower Store on Skid Row, a tough New York neighborhood the place just about nobody ever buys flowers. Poor Mr. Mushnik (M.A. Taylor) decides it’s time to shut the store for good … till Seymour reveals the odd plant he present in Chinatown through the latest photo voltaic eclipse. When a buyer glimpses it by means of the store window and is drawn in to make an enormous buy, Mushnik is over the moon. Maybe the uncommon species, which Seymour names Audrey II after his beloved co-worker, might save the store? Mushnik locations it in prime place within the window; the store begins getting cash hand over fist; and Seymour is a hero.

Nobody else is aware of what Seymour has found concerning the plant’s food regimen—it wants blood to outlive. To maintain his job and save the store, he has been pricking his fingers to feed the beastly plant. However as an alternative of curbing its urge for food, it solely makes Audrey II larger and hungrier—till blood will now not fulfill it. Now it must eat individuals.

In the meantime, Audrey has been courting Orin Scrivello, DDS (Mark Bedard), a sadist who satisfies his personal urge for food to inflict ache by abusing Audrey and his dental sufferers. Seymour’s no predator, however he’ll do something to guard Audrey and maintain Audrey II fed. He units his sights on Scrivello, considering possibly he can kill two birds with one stone.

Oddly sufficient, this grisly story is about to an upbeat, ’60s-style doo-wop soundtrack stuffed with surefire earworms.

How, pray inform, do you create a man-eating plant that grows to monstrous proportions over the course of two hours on stage? “Two phrases: large puppets,” defined producing creative director Charles Charge. And superb puppets—and puppeteers—they’re.

The complexity of those plot particulars and staging are the rationale behind the choice to have just one mainstage manufacturing this 12 months.

“It’s an anomaly this 12 months,” he stated. “The set design for Little Store and the puppets are so advanced that we are able to’t put the arrange and take it down on daily basis.”

Really, the set and the size of the puppetry are spectacular sights to behold. Plus, the excessive stage {of professional} expertise among the many forged, as each actors and singers, makes the whole efficiency totally entertaining and gratifying from begin to end. Highlights embody Bedard as an Elvis-like Scrivello in addition to a number of different characters who seem all through the present, and the vocal abilities of the three feminine road urchins, a Greek-chorus-style trio with Chiffon (Kris Lyons), Ronnette (Sydney Jaye) and Crystal (Sydney Alexandra Whittenburg). Lyons, specifically, is magnetic, and her voice astonishingly good.

To be honest, it’s exhausting to not take pleasure in a present at Sand Harbor, with its views of Lake Tahoe at sundown, delicate temperatures and scrumptious meals ready on the venue’s on-site restaurant, Shakespeare’s Kitchen. It’s sort of a bonus that the present is killer, too.

Little Store of Horrors is carried out at numerous occasions and dates by means of Sunday, Aug. 20, as a part of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Pageant. Exhibits happen at Sand Harbor, 2005 Freeway 28, in Incline Village. Tickets begin at $17; attendees should additionally buy a Nevada State Parks entrance move for $10. For tickets or extra data, go to laketahoeshakespeare.com.