A musical that won't give you a cavity box Wednesday, Sep 17 2008 9:09 am
Posted By: Andra Coberly

There’s a school of thought out there that calls musicals the cotton candy of the theater world — sugary and fun and pretty and lacking any nutritional value. In fact, they’ll likely make your teeth decay and probably give you diabetes later in life. Yes, there are those out there (and they are not hard to find) who actually hate, deplore, detest musicals. You’ll recognize them because they’ll act surprised when no one laughs at their Beckett joke. For me, theater always comes down to pure entertainment. There’s been many an evening of musical theater when I’ve thought to myself, “Wow, I might just be a worse person for having experienced this.” But there’s also been moments when I’ve secretly wished I were on stage belting out “Pour, oh pour the pirate sherry.” Sure, call me a closet musical fan. Most musicals in Fort Collins come out of Carousel Dinner Theatre, an always popular choice if you love the classics (Music Man, anyone? Cats? Carousel?), or Nonesuch Theater, a wonderful, baby of a theatrical space in Old Town. Nonesuch specializes in music-driven works with small casts that can fit on the small stage, like Forever Plaid and Nunsense. But occasionally, the other theater company’s in town will tackle a musical in their regular season. OpenStage Theatre & Company opened Little Shop of Horrors in late August. Performances will run through Sept. 27 in the Lincoln Center Mini Theater. Little Shop of Horrors is a different breed of musical. It’s not sugary. It’s not pretty. But it is fun (in an it-feels-so-good-to-be-so-bad kind of way). It’s bloody, dark humor with a wickedly catchy array of musical numbers. If you can find humor in violence, poverty, dentists who love inflicting pain, and giant, talking plants that crave human blood, then this show’s for you! While it’s set in a different time and different place, Little Shop somehow becomes relevant to me, today: it envelopes me in its enticing, unusual plot, mesmerizes me with catchy-but-not-grating songs, appeals to me with characters that are kitschy without becoming caricatures. It brings me down on Skid Row, into the plant shop, and into the belly of Audrey II. OpenStage goes full throttle with its production of Little Shop of Horrors. Except for a few sound glitches – you often can’t hear what the plant saying – the show is wonderful, lively, smooth, and aptly executed. The set is huge, functional and detailed. The acting is well done on all accounts, and brings to the stage some of Fort Collins’ most talented actors. The singing is solid -- perfectly unperfect because nothing is perfect on Skid Row. Overall, it is exceptionally entertaining. And look mom, no cavities.

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