By NYASHA HOLLEY
After last year’s award winning performance of the Broadway hit Les Misérables, Cumberland County’s performing arts students and community members will put on another musical production this upcoming spring. The cast is now in the early stages of rehearsal. They began rehearsing in early February. This year’s show, which will open on April 16 and run until April 19, is the comedic horror, “Little Shop of Horrors.” The plot revolves around a clumsy florist shop worker and the plant he has raised which just so happens to feed on human blood.
Seymour Krelborn is a geeky floral shop assistant who tends to one plant more than the others. It’s named Audrey II after his coworker Audrey, whom he has a desperate crush on. The plant promises Seymour fame and fortune. In return, he must provide the plant with food. The only catch is that Audrey II’s diet consists strictly of human blood. Seymour convinces himself that if the plant becomes a big enough success, it will impress Audrey and lead her straight into his arms. At first, Seymour feeds Audrey II his own blood but the more he has, the more his hunger grows.
The musical is based on the low budget film “The Little Shop of Horrors,” which premiered back in the 1960s. According to Music Theatre International, with 2,209 performances “Little Shop of Horrors” is the third longest running off-Broadway production. It eventually went on to open on Broadway in 2003. After 372 performances, the show closed in August 2004. The musical comedy has racked up quite a few awards including, a Drama Desk Award for outstanding musical, the NY Drama Critics’ Circle Award for best musical, and the Outer Critics Circle Award. With music written by the same writer of “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Little Mermaid”, this production is easily classified as one suitable for all ages.
CCC’s Theatre Program Director, Deborah Bradshaw, says that when deciding on which production to do each year, she likes to switch it up in terms of the theme of the play. “I try to create a balance of dramas and comedies,” Bradshaw explains. This past fall she directed the school’s production of “August: Osage County” a comedic yet dark drama. “I decided we needed something light and fun…. A man eating plant…that makes me laugh!”
When putting together any musical production, there are quite a few things taken into consideration while casting. For Bradshaw, exceptional vocal talent is a key requirement in potential cast members. She gave a glimpse into the auditioning process by sharing what appeals to her as a director. “I look at the essence of each character and I can usually tell if the actor can capture that in an audition. I also match actors up to see how they work together with each other and we do this by reading sides at a callback.”
Don’t miss our school’s rendition of Little Shop of Horrors, April 16-19, in the FPAC theater. With your student I.D., one ticket is $5.