If you haven’t been to a Rome Little Theatre production recently, you need to go.
What those folks are doing over there is nothing short of FANTASTIC. Do yourself a favor and get tickets to an upcoming show.
This past Saturday night some friends and I went to dinner at Yummy Thai on Broad Street. If you haven’t tried it, my go-to is the chicken Massaman curry with its thick sauce and sweet flavor, accompanied by a bowl of Tom Kha soup.
But I digress. After dinner we walked next door to the DeSoto Theatre to see Rome Little Theatre’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors,” which was in its second and last weekend.
Now I’ve been to RLT productions before and I’m always impressed by the high quality. But this show reminded me just how much I need to remind the Rome community of the absolute GEM we’ve got in our local community theater group.
Just for background info, “Little Shop of Horrors” is about a little florist shop on skid row that sees its fortunes turn when an employee, Seymour, finds and nurtures an exotic plant. But as the story unfolds, we see that the plant has an appetite for human blood.
It’s a comedic musical but with a little bit of a dark twist.
First let me say that the initial thing that struck me about this show was that the director/producer chose to incorporate a live band and it absolutely was the right decision. There’s something about seeing the musicians up on stage accompanying the actors that really pulls you into the story. The musicianship was spot-on. It perfectly underscored the action.
The set design was great. There was so much detail put into making the stage look like a run-down part of town. But the thing that stood out for me was the way the set designers made the blood-eating plant (named Audrey II) come alive. As the story progresses, Audrey II gets bigger and bigger. Whoever created the plant did an amazing job since it not only had to look good, but it had to be be able to move and sing and swallow a couple different actors.
There were three sort of back-up or chorus singers who helped move the plot along with regular numbers that helped the story unfold. Hats off to these women for doing a fantastic job.
But of course all eyes were on the lead characters, and let me tell you how incredibly impressed I was with the level of talent our LOCAL actors have.
Three of the main characters especially stood out for me (and please keep in mind I’m NOT a theatrical expert by any means).
Seymour, the meek but loveable floral employee was played by Rick Williams. He did a superb job making his character one you could really pull for. You were rooting for Seymour. Williams truly brought the shy, loveable Seymour to life.
Russell Evans has been in several RLT productions and he’s truly one of Rome’s best talents. I’ve seen him in a variety of roles and he steals the show every time. He shines in comedic roles. In this production he plays several different characters, including an abusive boyfriend who’s also a sadistic dentist. You hate the character but you love the way Russell brings him to life.
But the absolute standout for me was the actor who played Audrey, Seymour’s floral shop coworker and secret crush. She was played by Maegan Williams. Her comedic timing was perfect and her Yankee accent was flawless (at least to my ears). The show may have been focused on Seymour and the blood-loving plant but Williams made sure audiences fell in love with Audrey.
I’m not trying to blow smoke up anyone’s...when I say that, in my experience, Rome Little Theatre productions are handled with a level of professionalism many in Rome don’t appreciate.
Now, all their shows aren’t hilarious musical comedies like “Little Shop.” The season is planned so that there’s something for almost everyone to enjoy, whether you like dramas or comedies or musicals or children’s productions.
But I’m asking you, if you haven’t been to a production recently, to pick one and GO. Take your kids. Take your friends. Take your parents. I promise you’ll be surprised at just how good our local community theater is.
Here are some upcoming shows:
“Beauty and the Beast” in December
“Funny Little Thing Called Love” in February
“I and You” in March
“Sister Act” in May
Get your tickets in advance. Better yet, get season tickets and go to as many shows as you can. I’m not asking you to support Rome Little Theatre for Rome Little Theatre’s sake. I’m asking you to go to these shows for you and your family’s sake. You’ll probably love it.
Oh and if it helps to sweeten the deal, snacks and delicious buttery popcorn are sold at the shows along with beer and wine. My only complaint is that I wish they would sell cocktails.
Take your family to the theater. Tell them Severo sent you.