What follows is an unadulterated rave for the Encores! Off-Center presentation, at City Center, of the beloved Howard-Ashman-Alan Menken Little Shop of Horrors, as adapted from the 1960 Roger Corman movie.
Sure, I was biased. Chicago was my kind of town. And I was pretty sure all the New York City bluster about how there is no other place like it; about how it's the city that never sleeps; the crossroads of the world etc. etc. was all bull.
This past season has been lackadaisical for new Broadway musicals, with the best of them--arguably After Midnight, Beautiful and A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, in alphabetical order--falling in the slightly-less-than-exhilarating class.
So extraordinarily good was the one-night Encores! Off-Center staged concert reading of the Jeanine Tesori-Brian Crawley Violet, directed by Leigh Silverman, that it calls for some serious transfer-it-somewhere-else-fast thinking.