Just in time for Halloween, Hatrix Theatre is bringing “Little Shop of Horrors” to life at the Moose Hall, Oct. 26-28 and Oct. 31-Nov. 4.
The cast and crew are excited to bring the quirky Alan Menken and Howard Ashman-penned 1960 musical horror comedy about shy, poor flower shop worker Seymour and his crush Audrey’s adventures with a mysterious alien man-eating plant to the stage. Most people know it from the 1986 movie staring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin.
“But the musical and stage play ends very differently than the movie,” observed director Brian Quinn.
Victoria Nestorowicz, who was also in last year’s production of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, is excited to return to the Hatrix Theatre stage.
“I’d seen the movie but never saw the musical, though I went to school for theatre, so we studied the script there,” said Nestorowicz, who plays Audrey.
She is joined by castmates Terri Browning (Ronnette); Aaron Brozat (Audrey 2 voice, Wino 2); Brent Devos ( Audrey 2 Puppeteer); Evan Herbert (Seymour); Christian Johnson (Orin); Cassandra Pollock (Chiffon); Dave Ranson (Wino); Derek Taylor (Mr. Mushnik); Sheri-Lynn Taylor (Crystal) and Aaron Tyslau (Bernstein, Skip Snip).
“It’s been a lot of fun. She’s a lower-class gal living on Skid Row,” she said, adding Audrey is dating an abusive, sadistic dentist.
“When she meets Seymour, it’s like a breath of fresh air because Seymour is nice to her. So there’s that little love story but it’s about a florist who brings in a new species of plant from a Chinese market and from there the plant becomes so popular and grows bigger because Seymour keeps feeding it blood,” she said, noting as the plant takes over, things take a turn for the worse.
Her favourite part of the show has been working on the choreography with Miss Candy Chiselle-Williams.
“It’s been a really great experience. She’s really been nice to work with,” she said, noting she is looking forward to performing the show in front of an audience.
“I’m looking forward to hearing people laughing and having a good time,” she said.
Evan Herbert, who performed in Hatrix’s 2015 production of Avenue Q, was drawn to “Little Shop of Horrors” because of the musical score of composer Alan Menken, who also composed the score for “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin” and “Pocahontas.”
“I’m a big fan of his work and always wanted to perform in one of his shows,” said Herbert, who was originally slated to play the evil dentist Orin but recast as Seymour when the original Seymour dropped out.
“Seymour is a really meek guy with very little backbone. He’s very easily manipulated which turns out to be his downfall. Everything he he does, he does for the right reasons, but he’s still murdering people,” Herbert observed, noting the plant promises to make all his dreams come true.
“He‘s surrounded by all of these cartoonish characters, even Audrey, who he falls in love with, and when bad things start befalling those ‘bad’ people in the neighbourhood, he’s just there,” he said, noting the more powerful the plant gets, the more confident Seymour gets, which results in his eventual downfall.
“I’m just excited for people to see the show,” Herbert said.
Director Brian Quinn is excited about the show.
“We‘re working with choreographers Mark Litchfield and Miss Candy. It’s a small cast and it’s a good show,” he said, adding it is fun working with Ethan and Asia Taylor playing young street urchins.
“What ever we’ve asked them to do, everybody has really stepped up,” Quinn continued, noting the show is set in the ’50s.
“It’s a really fun show,” he said, adding though it is a comedy, it also explores some serious issues.
“It can be interpreted as being about the dangers of greed, power and even fascism,” he said. “Its a very theatrical play. There’s thunder crashes, gunshots and a lot of laughs,” Quinn said.
His wife, Pat Piekema, who also designed the puppets for Avenue Q, designed and built the puppets for this show as well.
The show runs Oct. 26-28 and Oct. 31-Nov. 4 Tickets are $25. Doors open at 7 p.m. The show begins at 8 p.m. each night. Tickets are available at Java the Hut, outside the Moose Hall during regular hours.