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  Little Shop Of Horrors Reviews
Little Shop Of Horrors
Mercury Theater

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Sun Times- Highly Recommended

"...Audiences who stroll into the Mercury Theater for “Little Shop of Horrors” expecting a tuneful, B-movie bloodbath might be surprised to discover something else: a love story. While director Walter Stearns take on the classic Alan Menken musical still features an evil, carnivorous plant as its centerpiece, the poor leafy dear can’t hold a candle to the star-crossed lovers Seymour and Audrey. Actors Christopher Kale Jones and Dana Tretta render the pair with such a deep wellspring of emotion that there’s little Audrey II (that’s the plant) can do but cede the spotlight and hope for the best. Audrey II is a killer, but it’s the chemistry between those two that kills."
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Alex Huntsberger



Chicago Reader- Somewhat Recommended

"...Among the best elements of this production are Serena Sandoval's costumes and Martin P. Robinson's puppets. The chorus, an impeccable trio of women, is perfectly in step and deserving of its own musical. Transitioning from 90s schoolgirls to decadent divas, they are muses and quasi-feminists, encouraging Audrey to leave Orin (albeit for another man to protect her). There's much more text-wise that should have been left behind, but stellar direction and the choreography by Christopher Chase Carter keeps us entranced and looking ahead."
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Yasmin Mikhaiel



Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended

"...But nothing can spoil the fun of this shrub that eats showbiz, or detract from the show’s crack-brained caution against consumer crazes. The eight zanies of this zealous ensemble generate several tons of industrial-strength fun. They are as as cunningly caricatured as the ashcan realism of Alan Donahue’s deliberately disadvantaged set, Serena Sandoval’s period-perfect, Eisenhower-era costumes, and Christopher Chase Carter’s ferociously funky choreography. As the song says, “Don’t It Go to Show Ya Never Know.”"
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Lawrence Bommer



Splash Magazine- Highly Recommended

"...Kearns has engineered this often produced favorite into a highly enjoyable and lively show, highlighting the be-bop music, the wacky sci-fi elements, the strongly delineated personalities, and not missing an emphasis on the underlying moral/societal admonitions central to the story. Careful casting generates a watchable ensemble and memorable featured characters."
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Debra Davy



Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...There are musicals, that no matter how many times you see them, you find yourself seeing new things each time. Part of this can be attributed to the director, some to the musicians who make the music truly shine out, but a great deal must go to the performers, each bringing their own special interpretation to the story. It is with a great deal of pride that L. Walter Stearns, greeted the opening night audience to the Mercury Theater Chicago’s version of “Little Shop of Horrors”. For more than 30 years, this wonderful little piece with a book by Howard Ashman ( who also did the lyrics) and music by Alan Menken, has attracted audiences, almost forming a “cult” of followers."
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Alan Bresloff



NewCity Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"...But unlike the hypnotic allure of its strange and interesting plant, "Little Shop," even with its self-aware humor and pastiche musical-comedy charm, comes off as a hard sell in 2019. Many of the "jokes" made at the expense of Orin physically abusing Audrey are cringeworthy. The clever premise of using sixties doo-wop and rock and roll music to tell this story comes across dated and bland when white actors are assigned the leads (the "urchins," played by Nicole Lambert, Adhana Reid and Shantel Cribbs, walk away with the show vocally)."
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Ben Kaye



WTTW- Highly Recommended

"..Staged with great zest by director L. Walter Stearns and choreographer Christopher Chase Carter, with music direction to match by Eugene Dizon (and his band that includes Celia Villacres, Scott Sedlacek, Dan Kristan and Lindsay Williams), this “Little Shop” also has been impeccably cast."
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Hedy Weiss



Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...Mercury Theater, under the capable direction of Walter Stearns and Eugene Dizon keeps producing some of the most enjoyable musical productions to be found in Chicagoland. With warm weather and the spring gardening season just around the corner, audiences can enjoy this lavish, professional production of Menken and Ashman's clever, captivating musical science fiction satire about a man-eating plant. This exciting, expertly crafted and creatively directed production is sure to be remembered and talked about for years to come. It features some of Chicago's finest talent performing at the top of their game. In addition to a thoroughly entertaining script and an unforgettable musical score, audiences will leave the show with four words of warning throbbing in their brains: Don't Feed the Plants!"
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Colin Dougla



The Fourth Walsh- Highly Recommended

"...Director L. Walter Stearns has cast a dream team. His stellar ensemble hit the notes and the comedy with zest. The harmonious lady trio, Shantel Cribbs (Chiffon), Nicole Lambert (Crystal), Adhana Reid (Ronnette), sing and sass with hand-waving, head-tilting, eye-rolling attitude. And their evolving green wardrobe, designed by Serena Sandoval, goes from drop-out chic to fringe fantastic. Each of their individual outfits have a unified girl group look. They must change costumes 5+ times."
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Katy Walsh



Chicagoland Musical Theatre- Highly Recommended

"...Director Stearns milks every ounce of talent from his cast, nowhere better seen than in the scene-stealing comedy of Tommy Novak as Mushnik. It's heartening to see the asterisk in the program next to Novak's name, indicating Equity union status, after seeing him perform in many comedic roles on area stages (his Mr. Braithwaite, the ballet class accompanist, in Porchlight's Billy Elliot is especially memorable). Novak's part in "Mushnik and Son" rivals David Sajewich's "Be a Dentist" for the funniest moment of a very funny show. Though seeing Sajewich make the necessarily quick costume changes to play marketing opportunists of all looks is hilarious, too."
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Barry Reszel



Third Coast Review- Highly Recommended

"...Little Shop of Horrors is fantastic, whatever version of it you see; but there’s just something about a massive plant singing like Levi Stubbs while a geeky guy feeds it body parts that you need to see live. Mercury Theater’s production of Little Shop of Horrors does this flawlessly, with the incredible acting, singing, and puppetry from the entire cast coming together in perfect symphony. So, if you’ve wanted to see Little Shop of Horrors in all its onstage glory, I’d highly suggest Mercury Theater’s production."
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James Brod



The Hawk Chicago- Recommended

"...Director L. Walter Stearns and the creative team behind Mercury Theater’s production of Little Shop of Horrors take the first approach, offering up a solid recreation of the well-known 1986 film. And while the resurrection of the nasally Ellen-Greene-Audrey-voice makes for a fun theatrical evening, the lack of reworking rouses some cringe-worthy moments. The revival suffers from being presented in this #MeToo era, and Mercury's production suffers from an adherence to the show's past iterations."
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Emily Schmidt



PicksInSix- Highly Recommended

"...Ashman’s script continually winks to the colorfully uncoordinated costumes which are the stellar work of designer Serena Sandoval. With Kristof Janezic’s lighting and top-flight sound by Carl Wahlstrom, every detail of Stearns’s high-flying production, from the Christopher Chase Carter choreography to the ruddy Skid Row atmosphere and fanciful suburban billboards promising “TRAIN fares are SO CHEAP!” combine to make “Little Shop of Horrors” a slithering, smashing success!"
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Ed Tracy