New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


Did you know NJ Stage offers FREE Event Listings? Nearly 100,000 listings were viewed in January. Be sure to add your events to our calendar and get your shows noticed!

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



More Articles You Might Like

The Simon & Garfunkel Story Comes To The Basie On January 23
The Simon & Garfunkel Story Comes To The Basie On January 23
"Kinky Boots" Comes To Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
"Kinky Boots" Comes To Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
Dreamcatcher To Hold Junior Summer Theatre Program In July
Dreamcatcher To Hold Junior Summer Theatre Program In July
Paper Mill Playhouse Presents "Benny & Joon"
Paper Mill Playhouse Presents "Benny & Joon"
New Jersey Stage Seeks Writers To Cover Plays Across The State
New Jersey Stage Seeks Writers To Cover Plays Across The State
Two River Theater To Honor Its Founders at 25th Anniversary Gala
Two River Theater To Honor Its Founders at 25th Anniversary Gala






Event calendar
Friday, Apr 26, 2019


MUSIC

Bobby Bandiera Band with special guest Bliss @ The Wonder Bar, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

Motor City Revue @ Tim McLoones Supper Club, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

RPR with The Annie Donahue Trio at the Minstrel @ Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, Morristown - 7:30pm

Uprooted Band @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 8:00pm

John Pizzarelli A Centennial Celebration of Nat King Cole @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 8:00pm


THEATRE

Girls Night: The Musical @ Avenel Performing Arts Center, Avenel - 8:00pm

Benny & Joon @ Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn - 8:00pm

THE SOUND OF MUSIC @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 7:30pm

DIY Theater Festival @ The Lewis Arts Complex, Princeton - 12:00pm and 6:00pm

HER DREAM / HIS NIGHTMARE @ Hamilton Stage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm

String Around My Finger @ Oakes Center, Summit - 8:00pm

The Crucible @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 7:30pm

Heartland @ Luna Stage, West Orange - 8:00pm







COMEDY

Italian Bred with Candice Guardino @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 8:00pm


DANCE

PILOBOLUS @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

something happens in between @ Hearst Dance Theater - Lewis Arts Complex, Princeton - 8:30pm


FILM

"Getting Over" screening @ Art Tank, Asbury Park - 7:00pm


MISC

Celebrate Passover with iPlay America @ iPlay America, Freehold - 11:00am

Australias Thunder From Down Under @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

View all events










 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2019 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.