By Madison Petro
“Little Shop of Horrors” combines the triple threat of acting, singing and dancing into a rock musical that mixes comedy with horror. The show is adapted from the low-budget 1960 black comedy film “The Little Shop of Horrors.”
Senior Destiny Washington plays Crystal the Urchin.
“In this show, I am doing a lot more singing and dancing together than I have done in any musical before,” Washington said of the demands for performing in the show. “There is a lot of choreography plus you gotta stay on your note, plus you gotta showcase your character.”
The Urchins act as the Greek chorus for the show.
“We are the voice of the audience,” said Washington. “We say what they are thinking and narrate the show for them.”
“It’s a challenge, because you want to focus on one aspect instead of all three,” said sophomore Samuel Kashefska about incorporating acting, singing and dancing in the show.
Kashefska plays Seymour Krelboyne, who owns a plant with a taste for flesh and blood.
“We haven’t had a major choreographer before. This show isn’t always done with a lot of dance, but we wanted to add as much as we could. We’ve made this a heavy dance show,” said “Little Shop” director Dr. Margaret Ball, chair of the theatre department. “We have a bunch of good male and female dancers and we wanted to take advantage of that and play to their strengths.”
“It’s a 1960s dance style that isn’t common nowadays. A hip swing now is so different than how it was in the 1960s,” said “Little Shop” choreographer and ESU alumnus Tara Coyle of the dancing in the show. “It’s nice to see that evolve into the time periods of the 1960s.”
“Being in college, the thing is finding the energy to work on a musical. With projects, classes and other group activities,” added Coyle, saying that the cast has found that energy. “Musical theater has acting, dancing and singing, and combining these three makes it the hardest genre in theater as opposed to a regular play.”
In addition to the show incorporating acting, dancing and singing, the production also includes puppets.
“I’ve never had a chance to work on a mainstage show with puppets – and a puppet as a main character,” said Ball. “For the first weeks of rehearsal we only worked with a voice, not a puppet. It’s exciting to work with the physical puppet.”
“I’ve never had to talk to a puppet before. I’ve been rehearsing with a plant so far,” said Kashefska. “There are 4 different puppets for the plant, so you get to see the growth of the plant. You see it as a little baby and then it’s like a ten foot puppet – I don’t know the exact size, but it’s big.”
“I’m not on stage for this role,” said sophomore Tamir Cousins-Ali, who plays the voice of the puppet, Audrey II, “so trying to coordinate with the puppeteer will be challenging.”
The cast and crew of “Little Shop of Horrors” have had about four weeks of rehearsals before opening, which is one of the shortest rehearsal periods for an ESU mainstage production according to many members of the show.
“It’s coming together faster than any other show I’ve worked on, and I think that’s a testament to how excited everyone is about this show. It’s very high energy,” said sophomore Josh Weidenbaum, who plays Mr. Mushnik. “I hope this is one of the best shows ESU will put on and I think it will be. The audience will laugh and they’re gonna cry at the end.”
“At rehearsal every day with everybody else, we’re always bouncing off each other,” said sophomore Angelica Ramirez, who plays Audrey. “We find our roles by feeding off each other. We definitely help each other out. We find each of our characters not just through us but through everybody else.”
“‘Skid Row’ is my favorite to see and perform on stage. I love how it foreshadows the show, the hopelessness. Everything is horrible,” said sophomore Marcell McKenzie, an ensemble member in the show. “Skid Row is the dump of the musical and there’s no hope for anyone, there’s nowhere to go from there. And it connects to the characters because they get stuck with nowhere to go, too.”
“Chase what you want, but know when enough is enough,” said Cousins-Ali of the message behind the show. “You need to learn to not be selfish about it.”
“The message behind the story is, as cheesy as it is, if you grow up in an area feeling trapped, don’t be afraid to get out and try new things,” said Ramirez.
“Don’t feed the plant!” said Kashefska with a laugh.
This production is accompanied by a live orchestra.
The show is recommended for ages 10 and above.
Show times are April 19 to 22 at 7:30 p.m. and April 22 to 23 at 2 p.m. in the Smith-McFarland Theatre at Fine Arts. Tickets are $5 for youth; $7 for students with ID; $10 for faculty, staff and senior citizens with ID; and $12 for general admission. Advanced tickets are available online at esu.edu/theatretickets with credit cards only. Remaining tickets are available at the box office one hour before each performance. Cash and checks only are accepted at the box office.
For reservations or other information, please email email@example.com or call 570-422-3483.
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