Ethan Lichtle as Seymour, left, and Megan Buss as Audrey, right, are joined by their back-up singer Audrey II, center.
In 1982, a quirky musical about a cute little plant that feeds on human blood and flesh opened Off-Off Broadway before enjoying a five-year run at the Orpheum Theatre Off-Broadway. With a flesh-eating puppet at its center, no wonder Frank Oz (of Muppet fame) couldn’t wait to direct the movie version of Little Shop of Horrors. IPFW and director Bev Redman will revisit this musical gem from April 20 – 29 at IPFW Williams Theatre.
Little Shop of Horrors is a rock and roll, doo-wop style musical with a Motown flare that has a love story at its core. Seymour Krelborn, a hapless florist shop worker, discovers a mysterious plant similar to a Venus Fly Trap while browsing the wholesale flower district. He lovingly returns it to Mushnik’s Skid Row Florist where he works. Seymour, who is secretly in love with his co-worker Audrey, names the plant Audrey II in her honor.
Unfortunately, the plant doesn’t thrive in its new environment until Seymour, who pricks his finger in a rose thorn, watches the plant hungrily lap up some nourishment from his finger. The rapidly growing Audrey II becomes the most popular thing ever to happen to the flower shop and timid Seymour must find ways to continue to feed the ravenous plant, when his own blood supply simply is not enough.
By the end of Act I, when Seymour stops feeding the plant, Audrey II reveals that it can speak. In fact, it demands blood and promises that, if fed, it will make sure that all of Seymour’s dreams come true. Once the plant takes on a life of its own, the musical escalates into one wacky, horrific twist and turn after another.
By all accounts, the puppet plants are one of the key components that make this musical so enjoyable for the audiences. There are four of them that grow over time, with sufficient flesh and blood, to take over the stage. IPFW will be renting theirs from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
Tickets are $16 for seniors; all other tickets are $18 and under. Contact the IPFW Box Office at 260-481-6555 or www.ipfw.edu/tickets.