By Tyler Trumbauer
This past weekend the Northern Lehigh Little Theater put on four performances of the classic musical, “Little Shop of Horrors.” This musical is the first for rookie director, Nick Sander, who has brought a remarkable increase in interest for theater to the Northern Lehigh community since his first show last fall, “And Then There Were None.”
This comedy horror rock show composed by Alan Menken and written by Howard Ashmen translated well on to the stage in Northern Lehigh High School’s auditorium. This production was surprisingly excellent. The biggest surprise was how well the pit orchestra played. The size of the pit was on the smaller side, but their boisterous beats echoed through the auditorium.
Sander made a daring move casting a theatrical rookie, junior Aidan Burke, as Seymour. Burke was a part of the last two musicals as a member of the pit orchestra. Sander spoke with me after the show and commented on Burke and his cast mates, “I see a lot of myself in Aidan and the rest of the cast. Burke is a lot like me when I was a student at Northern Lehigh as he stumbled in to the program. He is like me, but he is a lot more talented.”
Burke claims that emotion on stage was his biggest obstacle, “Trying to portray the amount of emotion that I need to portray [as Seymour] was the hardest for me. However, I feel that I overcame that.”
Burke’s leading role counterpart, senior Sydney Martin, played a remarkable Audrey. Martin’s experience shone through this role as she perfectly portrayed the beautiful, scatterbrain young lady who is in an abusive relationship and slowly falls for Seymour romantically as his social status skyrockets after discovering the world renowned plant named, Audrey II, in honor of Audrey the love of his life. Martin, who has been performing for NLLT for years, says Burke was great on stage. “Aidan is Seymour. He is fine. I have no worries about him out there performing.”
The set was absolutely marvelous. It perfectly captured the setting of “skid row” or the slums of a city. The different Audrey IIs that are needed throughout the show made for a lot of work. Northern Lehigh previously has won a Freddy award for their set design and this set may earn them their second victory in that category.
The Ronnettes were great throughout the show. They were composed of junior Brie Williams, junior Lydia Delong, sophomore Alexis Middaugh, sophomore Connie Hepner and freshmen Kasey Wayda. Williams and Middaugh really stood out with their spunky attitude in their lines that were perfect for the mood of the scene.
This production was one of the best coming from NLLT in years. The story was well portrayed and the characters were spectacular. Sander has this program moving in the right direction and with dedicated young actors and actresses the community can expect more intriguing shows coming out of Slatington.