Tennessee Rep Presents LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, Now thru 5/19

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Tennessee Repertory Theatre presents the America cult classic musical Little Shop of Horrors, music and lyrics by Alan Menken and book by Howard Ashman. Little Shop of Horrors runs tonight, April 28 - May 19 at TPAC's Johnson Theater.

Seymour Krelborn is a nerdy orphan working in a flower show with a huge crush on Audrey, a bleach-blond in spike heels. But there's one problem: Audrey has a boyfriend, a dentist in a black leather jacket with sadistic tendencies. So what's Seymour to do?

Enter Audrey II, an anthropomorphic cross between a Venus flytrap and an avocado that Seymour finds. Audrey II offers help… but for a cost; the plant seems to have a craving for blood and soon begins to sing for its supper. Will Audrey II take over the world? Will Seymour and Audrey wind up together? Little Shop of Horrors is one of the most beloved American musicals of all-time with instantly recognizable songs like "Suddenly Seymour," "Somewhere That's Green," and "Skid Row (Downtown)."

"I admit freely that Little Shop of Horrors is one of my guilty pleasures," says Tennessee Rep Producing Artistic Director René D. Copeland. "There are very few musicals whose music I enjoy more-it's fun and it's witty and you really can't resist singing along. I also have a soft spot in my heart for dark and twisted comedy. It is also very insidious-if you're not careful, you'll actually be prompted to serious thought, after you're finished laughing. What are YOU willing to do to protect the one you love? What sacrifices are you willing to make to appear successful? What lengths will you go to to achieve your idea of a perfect life? How much do you hate your dentist? Comedy, romance, a talking plant, and great music… what's not to love about this American cult classic? This is another show that the staff was uniformly very excited about-it's exciting to think about the combination of the talented musical theatre actors here in Nashville with the delicious scenic and technical opportunities-you won't want to miss what Gary Hoff will do in the Johnson Theater for this, and you certainly won't want to miss meeting Audrey II."

Little Shop of Horrors brings together actors who have shared on-stage magic from Tennessee Rep's two most successful musicals. Martha Wilkinson and Patrick Waller shared the stage in Tennessee Rep's 2008 production of Sweeney Todd and both received best-acting nods for their work. They come together as Seymour and Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors.

"Martha Wilkinson is absolutely the most talented, most experienced, most amazing, and funniest actress I have ever had the pleasure of working with'" says Waller. "She can do it all. I have never seen her play a role that she didn't just totally nail. Her comedy, style, work ethic, and over all approach to acting is one that should be a template for any aspiring young actor or actress. Since we did Sweeney Todd together several years ago we have become the best of friends and have worked on numerous projects together since then, with each one being even more fun and exciting than the last. I am thrilled to get to work with Martha on Little Shop of Horrors and cannot think of any one I would rather play Audrey than her."

Wilkinson shares Waller's admiration.

"I am so thrilled to be a part of Little Shop of Horrors and even more thrilled to be playing opposite my best friend: the uber-talented Patrick Waller," says Wilkinson. "Patrick is an extremely giving performer, making the process all the more enjoyable. He has such a gift of spontaneity and enjoyment of the process. He is always open to exploration and if always right there with you if you 'try something new' on stage. There is an ease about working with Patrick that helps remove any inhibition. He is an incomparably gifted performer with a passion for the job that is infectious and refreshing. The rehearsal and performance experience is all the more worthwhile when Patrick is involved. I would work with him anytime, anywhere. "

Waller also rekindles his on-stage magic with Bakari King. The two actors appeared as Huck and Jim in Tennessee Rep's smash-hit Big River. King stars as the voice of Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors to Waller's Seymour.

"When Bakari and I did Big River, it was like we had known each other our entire lives, even the first day of rehearsal," says Waller. "It is such a joy to work alongside Bakari and the talents, personality, and fun that he brings to a process is a just a delight to be a part of. It makes me a little sad that he won't physically be with me onstage but to hear that voice coming out of a giant plant and getting to act and sing with it is a once in a lifetime experience."

King echoes Waller's sentiments.

"I am so happy to be back on stage with my good friend Patrick Waller," says King. "It will be a little different because I will mess his life up while playing Audrey II after he helped me get my freedom in Big River. (Insert laughter!) Seriously, it is always a pleasure to work with Patrick and Tennessee Rep. It is a family that I love to see and be a part of."

In addition to King, Waller, and Wilkinson, the cast features Laura Matula, Aleta Myles, Derek Whitaker, Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva, and Bobby Wyckoff.

Since 1985, Tennessee Repertory Theatre has been a critically acclaimed regional theatre, creating the highest quality professional productions and by serving as a prime cultural, educational, and economic resource within the Nashville and Middle Tennessee communities. Tennessee Rep produces work that is designed, built, and rehearsed in Nashville by highly skilled actors, designers, directors, and technicians. A non-profit organization, Tennessee Rep is committed to consistently delivering thought-provoking theatre each year. For more information on the Tennessee Repertory Theatre, please visit www.tennesseerep.org.

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