Theatrikos’ Little Shop of Horrors opened its curtains Friday and will run until August 18. Theatrikos brings a contemporary classic to the Flagstaff stage, featuring solid comedy and quality performances.
Little Shop is co-directed by Jan Raminger and John Propster, two veterans of Flagstaff theatre. According to the Theatrikos Theatre Company website, the troupe found a home on Cherry Street in 1989. Since, the stage has been alive with song and dance.
The whole operation is volunteer-run, from the actors and tech to an initiative to rebuild the building’s basement. In April r, Theatrikos fell victim to a flood which destroyed dozens — if not hundreds — of costumes, set pieces and lighting equipment.
“This was full of costumes. It was loaded and every single costume needed to be dry cleaned," Baringer said. "Anything that was on the floor was thrown away, but a lot of it was irreplaceable.”
The theatre is currently utilizing temporary storage to make up for the damaged space, but are struggling to make up for their sentimental and financial losses.
“These restrooms had just been remodeled. A few volunteers got together and pooled their money, so we got brand-new toilets. Then almost within six weeks we had the flood,” Baringer said. “And it wasn’t because of the toilets, it was some other construction. In the sewer lines, a bunch of rags right outside on the street, so it just backed up to the closest sewer line.”
The light at the end of this tunnel for Theatrikos is their many dedicated volunteers, coming together to help the theatre in a time of desperation. And the show must go on.
Little Shop of Horrors comes with its conveniences and challenges. While many facets are malleable, the show as a whole requires quite a bit of technical strength.
“It’s a great show for a lot of reasons. The show itself as a musical is really tight — it’s really well-balanced and it’s a classic. It’s easy for us to cast and it’s a single-unit set,” Baringer said. “The challenge, of course, is always tech. We have to synchronize voices with movement and the puppeteer has to practice with the puppets.”
The show was cast via an open call bringing actors from all over Flagstaff. Father-son duo Joe and Aj Maniglia portray Mr. Mushnik and Seymour Krelborn, performing side by side as mentor and boy and eventually, father and adopted son.
“There’s a cool little number called ‘Mushnik and Son’ where Mr. Mushnik wants to adopt Seymour for the wrong reasons, so they actually play father and son for a little bit,” Baringer said.
Joe Maniglia as Mr. Mushnik is a reprise to his performance of the same role a decade ago.
His playbill bio reads, “Eleven years ago, I got to play Mr. Mushnik… Two differences between then and now: I don’t need makeup to gray-up my hair and my son came to every performance. Now, I have the wonderful honor of sharing the stage with him.”
Aj Maniglia fills the role of Seymour during the latter two weekends of the show — August 8 through August 18. Seymour will be played by Zachary Mauck opening weekend.
The entirety of the cast puts their all into the performance. Audrey II — a blood-thirsty alien fly trap — is portrayed throughout the play using four different puppets, two puppeteers and a voice actor singing from the light booth.
As the show progresses, the plant grows larger and more obnoxious. The contraption and its puppeteer remain synced with the music and voice of Audrey II, tricking the audience into thinking it’s a one-man operation.
Abigail Stokley as Audrey brings the softness and pity one comes to expect from the character. Stokley comes off as mousy and superficial, yet brings Audrey to life with vulnerable and heart-filled renditions of “Somewhere That’s Green” and “Suddenly Seymour.”
The strong vocals all-around do the songs justice. The Doo-Wop Girls, played by Aimee Lucas, Chrissy Dobba and Danielle Moreno belt out their songs, paying homage to the original gospel and doo-wop stylings Alan Menken intended.
The cast gracefully pulls off their harmonies — the majority of the time — and remain in sync through quick-paced dialogue and unexpected musical cues.
Theatrikos’ Little Shop of Horrors is worth a trip to the theatre — you can get tickets at theatrikos.com. Theatrikos is currently looking to raise $75,000 for renovations. They’ve already raised $45,000, but to help them reach their goal, visit their site or call them at (928) 774-1662.