Westside Theatre, Off Broadway
Lucky me, I’ve had a chance to see several shows in Manhattan recently, and the darkest, funniest award goes to LSOH, the 1982 musical by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken and revived by Michael Mayer.
“A certain carnivorous plant has been repotted in Hell’s Kitchen, and I am delighted to report that it’s thriving there,” reviewed Ben Brantley for The New York Times.
[LSOH], staged in a 270-seat theater, restores the show to its original scale and sensibility, reminding us of the special potency of grisly things that come in small, impeccably wrapped packages.
Working with an ace design team, Mayer heightens the show’s classic pulp elements, its aura of low-rent noir splashed with flecks of blood-red.
The Corman film of “Shop” was, like many horror and sci-fi flicks of the Eisenhower years, a fable of the atomic age, playing to a nation’s fears of science run amok. This triumphantly revitalized musical has its own sly message for an era in which celebrity is regarded as a constitutional right:
Embrace fame at your peril. It’s a killer.
My youngest daughter was an Urchinette in her middle school’s production of the show. In keeping with the plant-out-for-blood theme, another mom and I baked and decorated 100 Audrey II cupcakes for the cast party. Fun!
Here’s how we made edible “Audrey II’s,” the mysterious man-eating plant.
Step 1. Gather your ingredients. Rather than make fondant from scratch, we used Fondarific. Supplies included cake mix, baking cups, canned icing, Wilton icing, food coloring, rubber gloves, romaine lettuce, spoons,wax paper, Wilton Decorating Bags and Tips, Swedish Fish candy and Cake Boxes.
Step 2. Prepare fondant decorations. After the Fondarific was warmed and softened, rubber gloves were donned, and food coloring was mixed in by hand. Small balls of fondant were pressed onto spoons. Then romaine leaves rubbed onto fondant created leaf impressions. After carefully lifting fondant leaves off of spoons, they were layered with wax paper and left to set. (I put them in a container covered with foil, not refrigerated, overnight.) The leaves needed to be stiff enough to stand up, but pliable enough to form LSOH’s man-eating plant.
Step 3. Bake cupcakes according to package directions. Food coloring was also mixed with vanilla canned icing then spread on cooled cupcakes. Icing the cupcakes kept them fresh while the fondant leaves set overnight and formed a base to work on.
Step 4. Assemble Audrey II’s (or whatever decoration goes with your theme). Lynn said that, though the canned icing was good for a base, the stiffer Wilton icing made better leaves surrounding the “plants” and fangs on the Audrey II’s. She used Wilton Tip #103 to form surrounding leaves and Tip #4 for the fangs. Mini Swedish Fish candies became tongues. Eww and yum!