New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


BIG NEWS! Here's the latest Issue of NJ Stage Magazine -- Click here

Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!

By Spotlight Central

originally published: 10/18/2018

Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!

Little Shop of Horrors is a smash Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi musical that has devoured the hearts of theatergoers for over 30 years. Now, Toms River, NJ’s Exit 82 Theatre Company has developed a unique rendition of the show created by Howard Ashman and Alan Menkin, which is currently running at their new Exit 82 Studio Theatre located on Main Street in downtown Toms River.

Named for the Garden State Parkway exit number for Toms River — the town where the group was originally founded — Exit 82 Theatre Company is currently celebrating their 10th year of operations.

According to Little Shop of Horrors co-producer, Lexi Davenport, the company is a non-profit organization which, for the past decade, has produced shows at a number of venues around Ocean County. Their very first production of On the Town was performed in the Toms River Intermediate School East auditorium back in 2009 for 1300 audience members.

The company continued their string of successful performances with shows including Grease and Legally Blonde at Ocean County College, a rendition of Rock of Ages at Toms River High School North, and a production of Be More Chill at The Strand Theater in Lakewood, NJ which was seen by nearly 5000 lovers of musical theater from the US, Canada, the UK, and Brazil.

To celebrate the company’s 10th anniversary, Exit 82’s founders — Billy Cardone and Keely Davenport, Lexi’s sister — wanted to return to their home base of Toms River. As a result, they opened their new Exit 82 Studio Theatre on Main Street where, in July, they presented their first production, The Drowsy Chaperone. The show was performed in the venue’s three-dimensional space, which has 82 seats arranged in two rows around much of the perimeter of the room. With this immersive set-up, the closeness of the actors draws theatergoers into the plot in a way that a more traditional theater set-up cannot duplicate.



The article continues after this ad

 


As a follow-up to The Drowsy Chaperone, the company has chosen to present Little Shop of Horrors. As many already know, Little Shop is a musical which takes place on Skid Row, the home of street urchins, Crystal, Ronette, and Chiffon.

Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!

Here, Seymour Krelborn works for his boss, Mr. Mushnick, at his failing flower shop.

Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!

Seymour is secretly in love with his co-worker Audrey.

Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!

But she has the misfortune of dating a sadistic dentist, Orin Scrivello.

Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!

Once Seymour discovers the powers of a mysterious plant which he names Audrey II, good things begin to happen. The only problem is, for Audrey II to survive, Seymour must feed it…. BLOOD!

Exit 82 founding member Billy Cardone makes his directorial debut with this presentation of Little Shop. When asked why he and Exit 82 selected this particular play, Cardone explains, “At first, we were a little reluctant to do Little Shop, but it is a cult classic which people love, and October is the perfect time of year to do a show like this.”

Not to mention the fact that Cardone also came up with a unique way to present the show.

Reveals Cardone, “I envisioned something out of a Twilight Zone TV episode, where audience members would step right through the big white front door of our theater space, and it would be like walking into a living black and white movie. Everything on Skid Row and inside Mushnik’s flower shop is monochromatic — even the characters — except for Audrey II, which is in color.

Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!

“Once Seymour and the others begin to receive benefits from the plant, however, the plant’s colors start to make their way into the gray scale colors of the characters and the environment. So as the play goes on, interesting colors start to appear as parts of the set, in the various costumes, and even in the individual characters’ make-up.”

Another creative idea Cardone employs in this production of Little Shop is the use of television. States Cardone, “In the 1950’s and ’60s, when TV first started to become mainstream, people flocked to their black and white television sets for news, entertainment, and more. As a result, in our production, we’re incorporating TV and media directly into the show through the use of close circuit television equipment.”

And, of course, a third unique aspect of this production of Little Shop is the use of the immersive performance space provided by Exit 82’s Studio Theatre, which the company used to great effect in The Drowsy Chaperone.

Explains Cardone, “One half of the audience is seated inside Mushnik’s flower shop and the other is seated right in the heart of Skid Row.”

Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!

When asked if any of the novel theatrical elements Cardone has introduced have had an effect on the original storyline or dialogue, Cardone exclaims, “No, we didn’t have to change the script at all!”

Starring in Cardone’s vision of Little Shop is actor Ryan Everett Wood who plays the role of Seymour.

Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!

Wood is a fan of the Hollywood film version of Little Shop, acknowledging, “This is a movie I grew up with, and at this time of year, it’s my go-to movie.”

Wood — who recently starred as Michael in Exit 82’s sold-out production of Be More Chill — talks about the challenges of playing Seymour when he says, “It’s a marathon of a role — Seymour really doesn’t leave the stage much.”

“Seymour is so giving and kind — it’s terrible to see what happens to him. There are nothing but problems around him, but he always tries to push through things, constantly trying to decipher what is good and what is right.”

When asked to comment on the challenge of performing his role in this immersive and monochromatic rendition of Little Shop, Wood replies, “Being a super fan of the show, I knew that any production of it would have to be intimate, and so the fact that we get to do it here in this immersive space is really special. Also, I’m excited because we’re the first and only theater company to do a black and white version,” adding, “because of the black and white factor, as an actor, I constantly have to determine when I physically benefit from the plant, forcing me to look even deeper into the script, and adding yet another level to the performance.”

Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!

Carly Cosentino plays Seymour’s love interest in Little Shop of Horrors — the role of Audrey, his co-worker.

Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!

Remarks Cosentino, “This role for me is a dream come true. Little Shop was the very first show I was ever in — I was a 12-year-old student at Toms River Intermediate School East — and I just fell in love with it! It’s so great to get to come full circle, since I’ve been with Exit 82 Theatre Company for 10 years now, and I get to be a part of Little Shop as an adult!”

“The other coincidence,” adds Cosentino, “is that Joseph Hausvater, who plays Mr. Mushnick in this production, was the choreographer of the show I did at Intermediate East when I was a student, so I’m thrilled to get a chance to perform the musical with him now!”

Hausvater, who portrays Mr. Mushnick, agrees declaring, “I am really enjoying working with Carly!”

Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!

“I was her choreographer when she was in middle school,” he continues, “and I also designed all of the wigs for the current production, so last night when Carly put on her wig for the first time, I got very emotional when I saw her! It’s been really lovely to see her grow over the years.”

“Also, working with Ryan Wood is wonderful,” continues Hausvater, “and this production is so unique and different — it’s fresh and new without losing any of the meaning of the show. In addition, it’s fun to play with the audience, since — with the immersive nature of this theater space — the audience ends up becoming another cast member too.”

Declares Hausvater, “People who love this show will be dazzled — visually, it will be stunning,” before suggesting, “It’s a whole new show without being a new show!”

Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!

Director Cardone agrees commenting, “Doing this production in such an unusual way was a risk which required a real leap of faith.” But when he, the cast, and the crew started to see “all of the puzzle pieces coming together,” it made the experience “extremely rewarding.”

Concludes Cardone, “With this new production of Little Shop of Horrors, we’re not only reimagining the show but, in the process, we’re actually reinventing theater!”

Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!

Little Shop of Horrors has performances on Thursday, October 25 at 7pm; on Friday, Oct. 19 and Oct. 27 at 8pm; on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 2pm; on Saturday, October 20 and Oct. 27 at 8pm; and on Sunday, Oct. 21 and Oct. 28 at 2pm at their new Exit 82 Studio Theater located at 73 Main Street in Toms River, NJ. For tickets, please go to exit82theatre.tix.com. For more information, please click on exit82theatre.com.


Photos by Love Imagery

Spotlight Central. Your source for Jersey entertainment news and reviews

Love Imagery Fine Art Photography. all you need. peace/love/flower/power





For more by this author, click here



Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater present Teahouse by Lao She
(PRINCETON, NJ) --Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater at Princeton University will present Teahouse by Lao She on November 16, 17 and 18 at 8:00pm and November 17 at 2:00pm in the Donald G. Drapkin Studio at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus. Teahouse is considered a masterpiece of contemporary Chinese theater, spanning 50 years in modern Chinese history from the collapse of the Qing dynasty and the Republican Revolution to the birth of the People’s Republic, bringing together over sixty characters who represent all walks of life. The production is directed by senior Changshuo Liu.
Axelrod's Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts Program Presents "Peter Pan"
(OCEAN TOWNSHIP, NJ) --  A family musical that’s perfect for the holiday season, “Peter Pan” is flying onto the Axelrod stage December 8-16. Axelrod’s award-winning Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts program presents one of Broadway’s timeless classics in a fully staged production directed by Lisa Goldfarb with musical direction by Randy Hurst and choreography by Wendy Roman.  
Mile Square Theatre Presents It’s a Wonderful Life: a live radio play
(HOBOKEN, NJ) --  Mile Square Theatre, Hudson County’s leading professional theatre, revives its beloved production of It’s a Wonderful Life: a live radio play by Joe Landry. Mile Square Theatre becomes a live recording studio in the golden age of radio, and MST theatre goers become the studio audience as WMST “goes on air” to broadcast Frank Capra’s popular holiday story. The production begins performances on Thursday, November 29 and runs till Sunday, December 23.  
East Lynne Theater Company presents "O. Henry's Christmas Tales"
(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- "One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That's all I have, and tomorrow is Christmas," sighed Della in "The Gift of the Magi," just one of the O. Henry stories adapted and performed by Gayle Stahlhuth, who brings to life thirty-plus characters in her memorized, unique tour-de-force storytelling style. For seven times only, the award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company will present "O. Henry's Christmas Tales."  With the exception of "Gift of the Magi," these stories have never been performed before by Stahlhuth.  Performances take place on Friday and Saturday, November 23 and 24, Sunday, December 2, Thursday through Saturday, December 6 – 8, all at 8:00 p.m. with a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Saturday, December 8.
Broadway Stars To Perform At Paper Mill For 2nd Annual Broadway Beats Hunger Event
(MILLBURN, NJ) -- Broadway’s best will come together for the holidays to support the second annual Broadway Beats Hungerp erformance at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey on December 10 at 7:00pm. All proceeds raised will go directly to Summit Medical Group Foundation and Community FoodBank of New Jersey’s joint initiative, Food, Health and Hope: An Answer to Diabetes,which is committed to reducing the impact of New Jersey’s deadly diabetes epidemic.


Broadway’s Next H!T Musical LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s Friday, October 26, 2018, and the Broadway’s Next H!T Musical cast is just about ready to take the stage at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, located on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ.
The Last Apple Pie: "Apples In Winter" Opens At Centenary Stage
Jennifer Fawcett’s new play centers around a mother in a kitchen, doing something countless people across America will take part in over the upcoming holiday season: making an apple pie.
See Andrea McArdle LIVE! in Annie at Deal Park’s Axelrod PAC!
Leapin’ Lizards! Annie’s finally made it to the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park, NJ, and it stars Broadway’s original Annie, Andrea McArdle, as Miss Hannigan!
"It's a Blast!" Go See Rock of Ages 10th Anniversary Tour NOW! at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino!
The five-time Tony award-nominated Broadway musical, Rock of Ages, returns to the stage with a 10th Anniversary Tour at Atlantic City’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino! Performed in the venue’s ultra-modern Sound Waves theater, Rock of Ages runs from now until November 4, 2018.
There's One In Every Family: "Charley's Aunt" at The Shakespeare Theatre
On stage now through November 18 at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, “Charley’s Aunt” is described as “part Oscar Wilde, part ‘Fawlty Towers,’ with a dash of South American spice!” This side-splitting British farce from 1892 has drag, mistaken identity, romance and plenty of physical comedy. Join Jesse and Dave at rehearsals in Florham Park to hear from the cast and director what makes this such a hilarious and enduring show.

Features You Might Like

The Last Apple Pie: "Apples In Winter" Opens At Centenary Stage

The Last Apple Pie: "Apples In Winter" Opens At Centenary Stage

Jennifer Fawcett’s new play centers around a mother in a kitchen, doing something countless people across America will take part in over the upcoming holiday season: making an apple pie.


See Andrea McArdle LIVE! in Annie at Deal Park’s Axelrod PAC!

See Andrea McArdle LIVE! in Annie at Deal Park’s Axelrod PAC!

Leapin’ Lizards! Annie’s finally made it to the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park, NJ, and it stars Broadway’s original Annie, Andrea McArdle, as Miss Hannigan!


Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!

Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!

Little Shop of Horrors is a smash Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi musical that has devoured the hearts of theatergoers for over 30 years. Now, Toms River, NJ’s Exit 82 Theatre Company has developed a unique rendition of the show created by Howard Ashman and Alan Menkin, which is currently running at their new Exit 82 Studio Theatre located on Main Street in downtown Toms River.


Two River Theater Presents The World Premiere of "Pamela's First Musical"

Two River Theater Presents The World Premiere of "Pamela's First Musical"

If anyone ever doubts that New Jersey is home to great theatre, just point them to the world premiere of “Pamela’s First Musical” at Two River Theater. The cast and creative behind this show by Wendy Wasserstein and Christopher Durang includes a combined total of more than 25 Tony Award nominations and seven wins. It’s a cast that would look impressive at any theatre – Broadway  or otherwise. According to one of the stars, the opportunity to work with the 10-time Tony Award nominee director/choreographer Graciela Daniele and to be part of a new musical was too good to pass up.








Event calendar
Monday, Nov 12, 2018


MUSIC

DAVID SANCIOUS & WILL CALHOUN @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

WHEN BROADWAY GOES DARK, VAN DYK GOES LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

Bickford Benefit All-Stars @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 7:30pm

In Dreams: Roy Orbison in Concert – The Hologram Tour @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 7:30pm

MUDDFEST 2019 @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 7:00pm


THEATRE

Elf The Musical @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:30pm

Auditions: Cinderella or the Story of Bigfoot @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 6:30pm







FILM

Free Solo @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 7:00pm


LITERATURE


View all events










 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.