Tom and Vonne Barnes, San Clemente

We enjoyed another outstanding performance by the theatre arts program at San Clemente High School. Little Shop of Horrors is quite a hoot. Not the easiest play to stage, it was done with aplomb by the students. As with all her productions, director Laurie Mason gets everyone involved, and the proverbial “cast of thousands” makes the show very special. The enthusiasm of the large cast is infectious.

The set design is especially important, and as the plant Audrey Two (voiced brilliantly by Braxton McGrath) grows to man-eating size, we wait in anticipation of its request to “feed me.” Zach Thomas is a convincing Seymour with the right combination of “nerdiness and neuroses” in the role. Francesca Monson is just right for the role of the ditzy, but sometimes cerebral, Audrey. Zack Mallgrave and Justine McCoy competently round out the primary cast as flower shop owner Mr. Mushnik and biker/dentist Oren Scrivello.

Special recognition should go to the Greek Chorus of Emma Rhodes, Carlie McCleary, and Emma Dawson as Crystal, Ronnette and Chiffon who show that South Orange County girls can play the tough New York “broads” of late 1950s. Their voices blend beautifully and there acting helps carry the story.

San Clemente has something special in the theatre arts program. What other high school performs in a facility that is a cafeteria and was once called a multipurpose room? All other high schools have real theaters, especially ones with more than 3,000 students.

A school more than 53 years old that still does not have a performing arts facility is shameful. When is the Capistrano Unified School District going to build a modern theater for these brilliant programs? There seems to be plenty of money available for the facilities of other programs, why not live theater?

Editor’s note: A new performing arts center is scheduled on the San Clemente High School facilities master plan, but construction dates have not been determined.

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