Wednesday, February 27, 2019

OPENING: Little Shop of Horrors at Mercury Theater March 1 through April 28, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
March 1 through April 28



LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS has long been one of my favorite musicals and I can't wait to see Mercury Theater's unique take on this classic. My son and I are beyond excited to be catching the press opening Sunday, March 10th, so check back soon for my full review. This is a great pick for multigenerational appeal.

Seymour Krelborn is in search of an escape from his poverty-stricken life on an urban skid-row. He discovers a mysterious carnivorous plant, which survives on human blood.  This man-eating plant quickly blossoms into a fully-fledged local attraction and propels Seymour to success. Before long, Seymour discovers the plant’s extra-terrestrial roots and its’ ultimate desire for world domination.

This hit sci-fi musical has devoured the hearts of audiences around the world for more than 30 years, following the story of floral assistant who stumbles across a new breed of carnivorous plant that promises to grant him fame, fortune and all his desires – as long as the blood keeps flowing. LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS will feature the creative talents of Walter Stearns (Director), Eugene Dizon (Musical Director) and Christopher Carter (Choreographer)

Walter Stearns, Executive Director of Mercury Theater Chicago, announced the cast and creative team of the upcoming LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, running on the main stage from March 1 through April 28. 

Leading the cast of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS is Christopher Kale Jones as Seymour, Dana Tretta as Audrey and Tommy Novak as Mr. Mushnik.  LITTLE SHOP also features Shantel Cribbs (Chiffon), Nicole Lambert (Crystal), Adhana Reid (Ronnette), David Sajewich (Dr. Orin and Everyone Else), Jonah Winston (Audrey II Voice) and Sam Woods (Audrey II Puppet). The creative team includes Walter Stearns (director), Eugene Dizon (Musical Director), Christopher Carter (Choreographer), Alan Donahue (Set Designer), Scott Deter Flores* (Assistant Stage Manager), Kristof Jarezic (Lighting Designer), Kristi J. Martens* (Production Stage Manager), Serena Sandoval (Costume Designer) and Carl Wahlstrom (Sound Designer).









Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (Disney's The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin) are the creative geniuses behind what has become one of the most popular shows in the world. LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS is based on a Roger Corman thriller from the 1960’s (which featured a young Jack Nicholson).  As a musical it has delighted and enthralled audiences since it’s opening off-Broadway in 1982. The original production won several awards, including the 1982–1983 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical, and the Outer Critics Circle Award. 

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS runs from March 1 through April 28. The press opening is Sunday, March 10 at 7:30pm. The performance schedule is Wednesdays at 8pm, Thursdays at 8pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 5pm and 8:30pm and Sundays at 3pm. Individual tickets range from $35-$65 and are available online at www.MercuryTheaterChicago.com, over the phone at 773.325.1700, or in person at the Mercury Theater box office at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago.

About the Cast of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS:

CHRISTOPHER KALE JONES* (Seymour) is thrilled to be making his acting debut at Mercury Theater Chicago, revisiting a role he first tackled at famed Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C. Perhaps best known for playing Frankie Valli in the 1st National Tour of Jersey Boys (including a Tonight Show appearance), Chris's other favorite roles include Chris in Miss Saigon (Foothills Theatre), Sebastian in Twelfth Night (Orlando Shakespeare Theatre) and Mercury in Olympus on my Mind (Bristol Riverside Theatre). Chicago-area credits include: Miracle on 34th St. (Theatre at the Center), The Ballad of Little Jo (Steppenwolf), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), The King and I and 2018’s Jeff-award winning production of Ragtime (Marriott Theatre). Also, a recording artist, Chris recorded four albums and toured internationally with his former band, PBS sensation “Under the Streetlamp”. Chris is a graduate of Northwestern, a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, and thankful to be partnered with Gray Talent Group. Love to his wife and original Audrey, actress Jenna Coker-Jones, and of course to his little Audrey II, daughter Presley Rose Jones.  Last year, Chris partnered with Mercury Theater Chicago to record his latest album DARIN: Live at the Mercury, a celebration of the hits of Bobby Darin.

DANA TRETTA* (Audrey) returns to the Mercury Theater Chicago, having last appeared as Gilda Radner in Bunny Bunny. Other Chicago theatre credits include work with TimeLine Theatre (In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, Fiorello!), Paramount Theatre (Hair, A Christmas Story), About Face Theatre (The Homosexuals, We Three Lizas), Porchlight Music Theatre (A Class Act, Mack and Mabel), Marriott Theatre (Wizard of Oz, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown), Writers Theater (The Frog Prince), Route 66 Theatre (High Fidelity), Griffin Theatre (Company), Theo Ubique (Cabaret, Some Enchanted Evening),The House Theatre (Rose and the Rime), and Boho Theatre (The Glorious Ones, Pippin - Non-Equity Jeff Award). Dana is represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent.

JONAH WINSTON* (Audrey II - Voice) is overjoyed to be returning to The Mercury Theatre Chicago where he was recently seen as Trekkie Monster in the Mercury's smash hit production of Avenue Q! Fresh off of his performance as Little John in The Cleveland Playhouse's production of Ken Ludwig's Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood in Cleveland, Ohio, some of Jonah's favorite Chicago credits include: Mr. Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre), the Maître d' in The Merry Widow (Lyric Opera of Chicago), and Newt Lee/Riley in Parade (Writers Theatre). Jonah has also worked regionally at The Indiana Repertory Theatre, The Green House Theatre, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Porchlight Music Theatre, American Blues Theatre, and Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre. Television and Voice Over credits include Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Senor Wolley, Skittles, Kool Aid, and Nestle. A native of Indianapolis, Indiana, Jonah holds duel bachelor's degrees in Theatre Performance and Vocal Music from the Butler University Jordan College of the Arts, as well as a Master of Letters Degree from the Flinders University Drama Center in Adelaide, South Australia.

SAM WOODS (Audrey II - Puppet) is overjoyed to be returning to Mercury Theater Chicago after spending time with them on Avenue Q understudying Princeton and Nicky! Some of his favorite regional credits include: Ali Hakim in Oklahoma! (Crane River Theatre Co.), Warner in Legally Blonde: The Musical (Paul Bunyan Playhouse), Mercutio in an immersive re-telling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and Jamie Wyeth in Nureyev's Eyes, both with the Bluebarn Theater. When not performing theatre, Sam can be found improvising with his team Hero's Journey or writing his next play or sketch.  

TOMMY NOVAK* (Mr. Mushnik) is thrilled to be making their Mercury Theater Chicago debut with Little Shop of Horrors after returning from an international directorial debut in Jinan, China, where they directed a production of Peter Pan, and embarking on a tour of China with a production of Seussical. Select Chicago credits include: Hairspray (Skylight Music Theater), Do Re Mi and Billy Elliot (Porchlight) and Robin Hood at First Stage.

NICOLE LAMBERT (Crystal) Nicole Lambert is thrilled to be making her Mercury debut. Her favorite Chicago credits include: Sour Kangaroo in Seussical (Marriott Theater); Ensemble in Memphis (Porchlight Theater); Daniella u/s and Ensemble in In the Heights (Porchlight Music Theater); Jennifer in Creatives (Chicago Workshop Theater); Peggy in Godspell (St. Sebastian Players); Mimi in Rent (Bright Side Theater); Carmen in Fame the Musical (Real Clear Theater). Nicole received her training from Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

ADHANA REID (Ronnette) is a recent graduate of Northwestern University where she focused on studying musical theatre and marketing. She is thrilled to be making her debut at Mercury Theater Chicago with this talented cast and crew of Little Shop of Horrors. Chicago credits include Fantastic Mr. Fox (Emerald City Theatre); Eclipsed (Pegasus Theatre); Big River (Theatre at the Center); Stick Fly; Sweet Charity (Northwestern University); and Spring Awakening (Marriott Theatre).

SHANTEL CRIBBS (Chiffon) is excited to make her Mercury Theater Chicago debut. Chicago credits include: Beauty and the Beast (Silly Girl, Ensemble, Babette u/s) at Drury Lane Theatre; Memphis (Ethel, Ensemble, Felicia u/s, Jeff nominated) at Porchlight Music Theatre; Marie Christine (Women 2, Beatrice, Marie Christine u/s, Jeff nominated) at BoHo Theatre; Hairspray (Dynamite) at Windy City Music Theatre. Shantel worked with Chet Walker at The School at Jacob’s Pillow where she performed in A Jazz Happening at Ted Shawn Theatre. Shantel is a proud Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit alum. Shantel received her BFA degree in musical theatre performance from Columbia College Chicago in 2017.

About the Creative Team of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS:

L. WALTER STEARNS (Director) As Executive Director of Mercury Theater Chicago, Walter is a champion for Chicago artists and productions and has overseen the physical and cultural revival of a beautiful theatre. He has directed over 40 musicals including his Jeff Award-winning productions of The Addams Family and Ragtime as well as the Jeff Award nominated productions of Mary Poppins, The Producers, The Addams Family, Avenue Q, The Color Purple, Barnum-The Circus Musical, The Christmas Schooner, Nine the Musical, Ragtime, Gypsy, The Secret Garden, Sweeney Todd, Company, A New Brain, Into the Woods, Merrily We Roll Along and Falsettos. He was pleased to produce The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes, which was awarded the Jeff Award for New Work. Most recently, he opened the new Venus Cabaret Theater with Stephen Sondheim’s Company and Stephen Schwartz’s Pippin. Walter has received the Jeff Award, BroadwayWorld Award, After Dark Awards, the Larry Sloan Advocate Award (for his support of Season of Concern), the first Guy Adkins award for his contributions to the art of musical theatre and the Franny Award as a distinguished alumnus of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

EUGENE DIZON (Musical Director) is thrilled to be collaborating with this talented cast and crew of Little Shop of Horrors. Eugene has been musical directing for over two decades garnering 6 Jeff Awards (Ragtime, Sweeney Todd, Amadeus, Company, Into the Woods, Merrily We Roll Along), Jeff nominations for A Grand Night for Singing, Candide, Nine the Musical, Closer Than Ever, A Little Night Music, Passion, Colette Collage, Falsettos; 4 After Dark Awards (Ragtime, Sweeney Todd, A New Brain, Merrily We Roll Along), and BroadwayWorld nominations for Company, Hair, Mary Poppins, The Color Purple. Additionally, he has musical directed Pippin, The Producers and Barnum at the Mercury. He is honored to have been inducted into the Chicago Filipino Hall of Fame. Eugene has co-produced 6 “Season of Carols” CD’s (with Cory Goodrich) which features some of the brightest talent in Chicago theater today, for which Season of Concern awarded him the 2013 Larry Sloan Advocate Award and the Season of Concern 2018 Larry Sloan Legacy Award for consistently and passionately being a trailblazer on behalf of Season of Concern.

CHRIS CARTER (Choreographer) is thrilled to return to Mercury Theater Chicago with Little Shop of Horrors. Selected credits include: Hair (Mercury Theater Chicago); Memphis. Dreamgirls, In the Heights and the Porchlight Revisits productions of They’re Playing Our Song and Chess (Porchlight Music Theatre); Five Guys Named Moe (Court Theater); The Legend of Georgia McBride (Northlight Theater); and Sweeney Todd, Godspell, The Secret Garden, Pirates of Penzance (Grand Valley State University); Show Boat, Oklahoma (Lyric Opera Chicago); Show Boat (San Francisco and Houston Grand Opera); Hairspray (Drury Lane Oakbrook); Duke Ellington’s Queenie Pie (Chicago Opera Theater); Oliver, Carousel, Brigadoon (Music Theatre Works); The Wiz, 42nd Street, Guys and Dolls (Theatre at the Center); Smokey Joe’s Café (Circle Theatre); The Wild Party (Actor's Theater). Chris has been the choreographer for the Grand Rapids Civic's SRT for the past five years. He was a Debbie Allen Dance Academy Scholarship student and has additional credits including national tours, commercial, industrial and concert work.




About Mercury Theater Chicago
The beautifully renovated Mercury Theater Chicago is located in the heart of the Southport Corridor at 3745 North Southport Avenue, within a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful destination, Mercury Theater Chicago is a live-theater seating 290 people, adjoining Venus Cabaret Theater (seating 80). Guests are taken care of from the moment they arrive with valet service and luxe farm-to-table dining at its adjoining restaurant, Grassroots.

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