‘Little Shop of Horrors’ returns to the stage

By Olivia Pool  Special to The Post and Courier – Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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Provided Audrey and Seymour in “Little Shop of Horrors.” What If? Productions will stage the musical beginning Friday at the American Theater.
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“The Exact Center of the Universe”
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    Provided “The Exact Center of the Universe”

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Charleston Stage professional resident actor Arielle Kook as Mary Lennox in “The Secret Garden.”
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    Provided by Charleston Stage Charleston Stage professional resident actor Arielle Kook as Mary Lennox in “The Secret Garden.”

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A piece from Zach Mallard’s exhibit “Traffic.”
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    Provided A piece from Zach Mallard’s exhibit “Traffic.”

Many of us have seen, or at least heard of, the tale of the hapless florist shop worker and his man-eating plant, the gas-huffing sadistic dentist and his abused girlfriend, otherwise known as “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Starting Friday night, check out What If? Productions’ version of the rock musical at the newly restored American Theater, 446 King St.

Two of Charleston’s biggest local theater stars will be performing: Brian Porter (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Cabaret”) and Mary Fishburne (“Tell Me on a Sunday,” “The House of Yes”).

“Little Shop of Horrors” will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Wednesday-Jan. 31 and Feb. 1-2, with 7 p.m. shows Sunday and Feb. 3. Tickets are $28, $20 for students with a valid student ID.

Find out more at www.whatifproductions.org.

‘The Secret Garden’

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden,” Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote in the lovable children’s story “The Secret Garden.”

Starting this weekend, Charleston Stage’s Professional Resident Acting Company will bring this family-friendly play to life at the Dock Street Theatre.

In case you don’t remember the story, here’s a recap:

Young Mary is left orphaned after a cholera epidemic hits British India. Discovered living in the house alone, she is sent to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven, in Yorkshire, England. A kinship grows between Mary, a maidservant and the gardener, who tell her stories about the late Mrs. Craven and her love of her private garden, which she locked and hid the key. Mary happens upon the key and makes her way into “The Secret Garden,” where she finds the estate’s deepest secrets.

The show will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Feb. 1 with 3 p.m. shows Saturday-Sunday and Feb. 2-3. Tickets are $22.50 and can be purchased by calling 577-7183 or going to www.charlestonstage.com.

The Dock Street Theatre is at 135 Church St.

‘Center of Universe’

“And you thought your mother was bad. ... Wait until you meet Vada Love Powell, the original ‘Steel Magnolia,’ ” Pamela Galle of Threshold Repertory Theatre said when talking about its current play, “The Exact Center of the Universe.”

This Southern deep-fried comedy already has folks laughing at Threshold Rep, 84½ Society St. The play will run through Feb. 10, and there are performances at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Call 277-2172 or go to www.thresholdrep.org.

‘Traffic’

“Vehicles on a similar path may experience congestion. To prevent this issue, all drivers are taught a common set of rules for the where and how to operate their vehicle in sync with other drivers/vehicles on the path. Often there are unforeseen and unforced errors resulting in a delay in expected speed or the overall stoppage of vehicles. This phenomenon is known as traffic,” said local artist Zach Mallard.

On Friday at 6 p.m. at Huger and North Tracy streets, Mallard will be showing his newest collection of two- and three-dimensional works called “Traffic.”

The pop-up exhibit will consist of sculptural installations and large-scale paintings and will run through Jan. 31.

“It is ... my sincere hope that it may be a chance to share new paintings with the public in an environment that moves attendees from viewer to participant, creating a dialogue that the viewer can reflect on while in the space, after the show or perhaps the next time they are a part of the pastime we know as ‘Traffic,’ ” Mallard said.

‘Investable Art’

One of the best things about purchasing a beautiful piece of art is finding out that you’ve also made a great financial investment.

The first exhibition of the year at Ann Long Fine Art, 54 Broad St., is about just that. “Investable Art” will open Friday and run through Feb. 23.

With the show’s focus on investment-quality work, all featured artists are internationally known and museum collected.

Expect to see works by Kamille Corry, Louise Fenne, Jill Hooper, Ben Long, Frank Strazzulla and Charles Weed.

“Of particular note are two self-portraits by Ben Long from 1975 and 1985 that have been in personal collections for decades, a new large still-life by Charleston painter Jill Hooper, and fresh paintings by highly collected Florence Academy of Art painters Louise Fenne and Charles Weed,” said Susan Kridler of the gallery.

Call 577-0447 or go towww.annlongfineart.com.