Archive for March 2014

“Little Shop of Horrors” a co-production of ACT and the 5th Avenue Theatres

All you gardeners out there be wary of any plant that seems to demand too much fertilizer, especially if that fertilizer is blood! Poor innocent Seymour, the hapless assistant at Mushnik’s floundering skid row flower shop, he thought he had a real prize in the remarkable plant he nurtured. Little did he know the plant was a monster with a prodigious appetite! It never met a person it couldn’t digest.

This joint production of “Little Shop of Horrors” directed by Bill Berry is a rollicking, pure fun fairy tale where Audrey, a sweet young innocent, badly treated by a monster who happens to be a dentist (the properly mean and scary David Anthony Lewis), is rescued by the pathetic Seymour. Ah, life’s losers, there are enough of them here to make us all feel terribly satisfied with our own lives.

The production includes a lively cast led by Joshua Carter as Seymour and the lovely, talented and oh so naive Jessica Skerritt as Audrey. The ever reliable Jeff Steitzer plays Mushnik, the flower shop owner who eventually becomes plant food. Special mention must be made of the three back-up singers who provide lively musical commentary throughout the production. Nicole Rashida Prothro, Alexandria Henderson, and Naomi Morgan are simply wonderful. With well-blended voices and terrific energy they waltz in and out, up and down the stage adding the right tongue-in-cheek touch to this campy exercise.

Kudos to the puppet masters who have created and voiced that monstrous plant, lovingly named Audrey II after you know who.

It’s interesting to know that this began as a Roger Corman horror movie, then transmogrified into an off-Broadway hit before becoming a movie in 1986. It’s silly; it’s preposterous; it’s good fun.

Through June 15 at ACT 700 Union St. Seattle, (206 292-7676 or

Waves of color tell Northwest stories in Michael Dailey show

See my review in The Seattle Times:



Bellevue Arts exhibit puts plates at the head of the table

See my review in The Seattle Times:


At Cornish College, a vivid Robert C. Jones retrospective

See my review in the Seattle times:



“Pretty Fire” at Taproot Theatre

Taproot is on a roll! The fire that damaged its space and swept through its neighboring establishments a few years ago would have destroyed many another theatre company. But not Taproot. Instead, the company raised funds to expand. They now have a cafe offering light foods and drinks before and after theatre presentations, and they have a new black box theatre in addition to the slightly enlarged main stage.

The first production in the new theatre opened March 6, and it’s a propitious beginning. “Pretty Fire” Charlayne Woodard’s one-person play is laced with humor, filled with gentle sweetness, and includes some harsh reality. It’s the tale of a little girl from her premature birth to her upcoming adolescence. She happens to be African American but the play is about so much more than race. It’s about siblings, the love of parents and grandparents, and coming of age in Albany, New York.

Tracy Michelle Hughes as Charlayne captures all the innocence of a little girl as well as her joys and fears. Alone on a stage with only a wooden bench as a prop, she’s mesmerizing. Like so many little girls she plans talent shows, deals with the bullies of the neighborhood, shares secrets, runs errands for her mother, and dreams her dreams.

As it does for all of us, harsh reality intrudes occasionally on her happy life. For her, it relates to her skin color. When she’s sent to a school for the academically gifted and called “nigger” for the first time, her mother’s wisdom and lessons are heartwarming. When she visits her grandparents in Georgia and sees the Klan in action, her innocence is heartbreaking. At first she sees the flaming cross as “pretty fire.”

The play won the L. A. Drama Critics Award and NAACP awards for best play and playwright. It was produced in New York by the Manhattan Theatre Club and here in Seattle a number of years ago by Seattle Repertory Theatre. It’ a treat to have it back, especially in such a polished production.

Through March 22, Thurs.-Sat., in the Isaac Studio Theatre at Taproot, 208 N. 85th St., Seattle, (206 871-9707 or