Meanwhile, the intimate Texas Repertory Theatre uptown is doing things right. This little theater that could is showing that classic little show that could, Little Shop of Horrors. Nothing about this musical is ordinary. Have you ever seen a man-eating plant smile? Or watched it bop to a '60s tune while it tries to snap off a finger or two of the young man who holds it, nurtures it, feeds it with his own...blood? Well then, you'd better get to Texas Rep Theatre for your fix of the delicious little musical parody that ate NYC and practically every other theater venue over the last 27 years. Superbly crafted, amazingly clever and one hell of a good time, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's 1982 work, adapted from Roger Corman's cheesy sci-fi flick from 1960, opened on Broadway without much hype or hope, and within days had ticket buyers lining up off-Broadway. The show ran for five years and kicked the writing duo into the waiting arms of Disney, for whom they penned Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid and Aladdin, before Ashman's death in 1991. Little Shop is still their best work, and TRT lovingly produces it with all the theatrical know-how at its disposal. I don't think this show's ever looked, or sounded, so good. This is the way a musical's supposed to be: pepped up, slickly paced and gloriously acted, with all the little details thought out completely. Hats off to director Craig Miller, conductor Luke Kirkwood, actors Joshua Estrada, Blythe Kirkwood, Matthew Wade and Steven Fenley, and puppet creators Elliott Jordan, Joshua Clark and Daniel Roberts, who gave life to a really bad-ass blood sucker.
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