The Surprising "Little Shop of Horrors"

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A few days ago, I was invited to watch Ateneo Blue Repertory’s “Little Shop of Horrors.” The only thing I know from this play is that it is directed by Toff de Venecia who is a good friend and has always been a wonderful partner of the company I work for. Since Toff is a friend and I’m free to watch the show, I have decided to give my support to go to Ateneo De Manila University - a long time rival of my university whose grounds I’ve been to less than my hands could count so I have to ask a favor from my very loving fiancé to drive me there.




The director: Toff De Venecia

Given that I’m not familiar with the place, when we reached the university grounds, we asked a security guard standing outside Gonzaga Building where the Fine Arts Theater in Gonzaga Building is. Surprisingly, the security guard pointed us to another direction where the theater is supposed to be although it is written on the invite which I’ve received that the theater is inside Gonzaga Building. Because my fiancé and I believed the invitation more, we have parked opposite Gonzaga Building and went inside it to check if the theater is really there. As we go up on the 3rd floor, the theater is there! I think the guard smelled that I am an alumna of their rival university so he wanted to drive me away but he failed. Hahaha! It’s good that I followed my senses.



Darrell Uy, Maronne Cruz and Luis Marcelo

While waiting for the show to start, there were students welcoming us. I was prepping myself that this is a student’s production so I must not set my standards really high. Going in the theater, I noticed that the theater is quite small, the set is quite simple and they had plastic chairs so it made me feel that this is really a student’s production.



Gelo Lantaco

When the play started, a trio of girls started to sing. The trio is composed of Crystal (played by Roxci de Leon), Ronette (played by Cassie Manalastas who by the way can talk like an African-American) and Chiffon (played by Abi Sulit). My mouth almost fell open with their voices! They had the most beautiful mixture of voices any student music group would want to have!



Abi Sulit, Roxci de Leon and Cassie Manalastas




Abi Sulit and Roxci de Leon

As the series of events go on, each character started to appear with Mushnik (played by Darrell Uy) coming out first. Then followed the careless, nerdy, good boy but miserable Seymour Krelborn (played by Luis Marcelo) stumbling out.



Darrell Uy




Luis Marcelo

Later on enters Seymour’s colleague and the love of his life, Audrey (played by Maronne Cruz).



Maronne Cruz

We learned from the dialogues that Audrey has a boyfriend named Orin (played by Gelo Lantaco), who will later on come in the picture, has a very crazy but infectious laughter. Gelo will also play other roles as well with different accents in a snap.



Gelo Lantaco

As the challenges were presented by Mushnik, Seymour introduced to everyone his new found solution, Audrey Two (played by Tina Ramos). Audrey Two is a weird looking plant with an attitude that will shoot Seymour to fame but also create troubles for him.



Tina Ramos with Luis Marcelo

As the show went on, I have totally forgotten that these actors and actresses are college students. They sang and hit the high or low notes perfectly. Their voices blended harmoniously that one will feel happy or sad as the story went on.



Maronne Cruz with the trio at the back

By the end of the show, I have nothing but praises for all these actors and actresses. I told them that they should try acting professionally and try to audition for roles outside of school. I really think that they can make it out there. I also asked when they started rehearsing for their roles since they really look very used to their roles. They answered that they started end of May and have ever since practiced every night for the show. No wonder they’re so good because they were really trained well by Toff!



Gelo Lantaco and Tina Ramos

By the way, my fiancé thought that they were professional actors and actresses until the press con after the show started. He was so surprised that these are college students acting! Good job, kids!



The trio

Aside from the casts, the lighting effects are really good! The lighting directors Jie Dela Paz and Anj Florendo did a fantastic job!



Luis Marcelo with Gelo Lantaco

An understudy of Audrey, Carmela Tan, will be on some shows. The other members of the artistic team are Arya Herrera as Assistant Director, Ejay Yatco as Artistic Director, Miyo Sta. Maria in charge of lighting design, Monica Sebial for set design, Gabi Perez and Maronne Cruz for costume styling, and Nina de Leon together with Nikki Surtida for choreography.



The Artistic Director, Ejay Yatco, explains the theme of their shows this season which is man against himself

The production team is led by Company Manager Tomik Tendero, Abbey Manliclic as Production Manager, Dupsy Rillo as Head Technical Director, Bien Marasigan as Props Head, Georgia Uy as Head Stage Manager, Chiz Jardin, Antoinette Altomonte and Angela Escudero as Stage Managers, Mica Fajardo as FOH Head, Aldrich Alcantara as Marketing Head, Sam Lim as Promo Head, Dar Uy and Anna Gabriel as Finance Representatives.



The casts with Toff De Venecia

“Little Shop of Horrors” will run until August 27, 2011 at the Fine Arts Theater, 3rd Floor, Gonzaga Building, Loyola Schools, Ateneo De Manila University. Shows are on Wednesdays to Saturdays at 7:30pm. There are matinees on Saturdays at 2pm. For tickets, contact Mica Fajardo at 09178908795. I assure you that going to ADMU and watching the show will be so worth your time!


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