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Monday, August 29, 2005

Little Shop Of Horrors... Live!

Saturday night caught me at the thee-ay-ta to see the fancy-shmancy touring production of Little Shop Of Horrors. The 1960 Corman quickie is one of my all-time favorites, and if my mind wasn't like a steel spaghetti strainer I'd have the entire script memorized by now. Mel Welles (Gravis Mushnik) has a website that hasn't been updated in ages. The 1986 Frank Oz musical taken from the campy stage play is also great, and I like the happy ending much better. Oz's film also made wise changes and deletions from the source material. "Ya Never Know" sounds a lot better as "Some Fun Now" and the added "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space" makes "Now (It's Just The Gas)" and "Mushnik & Son" irrelevant.

The stage show is the least of all three Little Shop options. It's too long and tunes fall flat. It ends on a depressing note that doesn't need to be. Sure the 1960 film ends with Seymour dying, but it's his payback and the kicker of "I didn't mean it!" is hysterical. The stage show ends with the urchins talk-singing that Audrey II cuttings went around the world and they grew up and ate everybody. It's redundant since it was more than implied in the prior scene.

The set was great and the different plants were mechanical marvels. I'd love to see a high school production of Little Shop. It makes more sense on a small budget with non-professional actors. I'd REALLY love to see the 1960 script filmed as a tele-drama like Playhouse 90. Here's my favorite lines from the Corman classic:

(Gravis, being asked for a discount) "Look on me, Mrs. Shiva. Vat am I, a philatelist? I sell on Skid Row nothing but cheap carnations, and I should give you a cut rate. I can't even afford water for the flowers. To my own throat I would be giving a cut." (G, after arguing with Dr. Farb on his measly flower order) "Who am I to argue with science?" (G, after Seymour asks if he was being yelled for in the back) "No, I was calling John D. Rockefeller for to make a loan on my Rolls Royce!" (on radio as S enters mother's apartment) "This is Radio KSIK. You've been listening to "Music For Old Invalids". Our next selection is titled "Sick Room Serenade" (S's Mother, giddy upon pulling out bottle from paper bag) "Doctor Slurpsaddle's Famous Tonic. (Reads label) To be taken internally or externally for pain of neuritis, neuralgia, headache... if hit by a truck, call your physician... alcoholic content , 98%!!!! Oh Seymour, you'll never know what this is going to do for me (drinks) Oh, I can feel that surge of warm health going through me already (burps)" (G to S when he hesitates revealing the name he gave the plant) "Vat, you gave it a dirty name you can't even mention it?!" (A) "Don't feel sad Seymour." (S) "Don't waste your pity on me, Audrey. I'm not worth it." (A) "Who says you're not?" (S) "Everybody." (A), "Yeah, I know.... I think you're a fine figurative of a man." (A to S) "Don't worry, You'll be another Luther Glendale". (S, correcting her) "Pasadena". (A) "Burbank". (S to Audrey Jr. upon realizing it feeds on blood) "Who woulda thought it? Well, I guess there's just no accounting for people's tastes." (G, admiring the plant's initial growth) "It grows like a cold sore from the lip." (G, choking up while talking to two high school girls) "You got ta-ta-ta two thousand dollars just for to spend on flowers? Who died, the Chamber Of Commerce?" (G to S when he fantasizes he'll be rich) "Do you see that big sign in the sky? It says 'Gravis Mushnick'... in French!" (G, upon seeing the dying plant) "I can see it all now, We are in the poor house. That big sign in the sky, it's reading 'Seymour Krelboined, R.I.P, in Arabic !!!!" (S to newly talkingA Jr.) "I never been to college and I ain't been around much, but I'd be willing to bet there ain't no such thing as a talking plant... but I'll take your word for it." (G to A in restaurant) "Now dat is what I call a salad. What do you call that salad?" (A) "Caesarean." (Dr. Farb looking in Seymour's mouth) "I'll have this one, and this one, and that one, and I have to have this one Seymour!!!" (S) "It's only one tooth." (F) "Seymour, who's the dentist here, you or me? Are you practicing dentistry without a license?" (Wilbur Force to S as dentist) "Now, no Novocaine. It dulls the senses." (A Jr. to S, carrying a dead body) "Feed Me!!!!" (S) "Aw, take it easy, Dracula. What do ya think I'm carrying here, my dirty laundry?" (G to A Jr.) "Who would you like to have tonight?" (A Jr.) "You look fat enough." (G) "We not only got a talking plant, we have one that makes wit smart cracks. Well, you listen to me, you botanical bum, food you wouldn't get, not from Gravis Mushnick!" (S) "There ain't another cook in the whole world like my ma." (Mother) "That's what your old man said before the louse ran out on me." (Prostitute to S) "How's the rain on the rhubarb?" (Seymour's Mother to police officer Frank Stoolie) "Let me see your tongue.... know what you got? (Stoolie) "Just the facts, maam."


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