5th Avenue Theatre & ACT to Present LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, 3/8-6/15

5th Avenue Theatre & ACT to Present LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, 3/8-6/15

Straight from Skid Row, Audrey II is taking a bite out of Seattle in Little Shop of Horrors, the delightfully demented musical comedy about a man and his plant. Based on the 1960 black comedy film, this hysterical musical devours audiences in the fourth of an incredibly successful string of collaborations between The 5th Avenue Theatre and ACT - A Contemporary Theatre. After his recent Broadway debut at the helm of First Date, The 5th Avenue's own Bill Berry will direct this camp horror hit that ran for five years Off-Broadway. Little Shop of Horrors features an incredible cast that includes Seattle stars Joshua Carter, Jessica Skerritt, Jeff Steitzer, David Anthony Lewis, Eric Esteb, Ekello J. Harrid, Jr., Alexandria Henderson, Naomi Morgan, and Nicole Rashida Prothro.

Little Shop of Horrors plays March 8-June 15, 2014 (press opening March 13) at ACT - A Contemporary Theatre (700 Union Street, Seattle, WA 98101). Tickets (starting at $20) may be purchased online at www.acttheatre.org, by phone at 206-292-7676, or at the ACT Box Office at 700 Union Street in downtown Seattle.

"We were looking for a show that would not only honor the mission of both our great organizations, but with ACT's 50th Anniversary coming up next season, we wanted to honor some of our favorite moments from this theatre's history" said ACT Artistic Director Kurt Beattie. "Little Shop of Horrors was a musical produced in our company's early days. Reflecting on what a great success it's become, it felt very appropriate to bring it back to our stage at this time."

"Little Shop of Horrors is no doubt one of the greatest musicals ever crafted," said 5th Avenue Artistic Director and Executive Producer David Armstrong. "It is the perfect musical for our two great theaters. This is a show that would be fine on our stage, but in ACT's more intimate space, it will really blow audiences away."

Little Shop of Horrors follows Seymour, a hapless young florist who desperately longs to win the heart of his fellow florist Audrey, while at the same time raising Audrey II-the mysterious plant with a man-eating appetite. Audiences won't soon forget the world's most sadistic dentist, Skid Row's Doo-Wop-meets-Motown girl group, or the spectacular puppetry that brings to life Audrey II's ravenous hunger.

Bill Berry returns to the director's chair after recently making his Broadway debut at the helm of another 5th Avenue/ACT Theatre collaboration - First Date. "This has always been one of my favorite shows," Berry said. "It has been a dream of mine to direct this show since the very first time I saw it." Berry is the Producing Artistic Director of The 5th Avenue Theatre, where he has directed acclaimed productions of On the Town, West Side Story (Seattle Times Footlight Award), Wonderful Town (Seattle Times Footlight Award), Smokey Joe's Café and The Wizard of Oz. He also directed On the Town at Paper Mill Playhouse. His re-imagined production of Cabaret received awards in St. Paul and Houston and has been performed at The 5th Avenue Theatre, The Ordway, the American Musical Theatre of San Jose and Theatre Under The Stars.

Berry also spearheads the education and outreach programs for The 5th Avenue Theatre. He has significantly expanded the scope and impact of these initiatives including spearheading the creation of Fridays At The 5th, The 5th Avenue Awards honoring excellence in high school musical theater, the Show Talk series and substantially increasing the reach of The 5th Avenue Theatre's Adventure Musical Theatre Touring Company (AMT) throughout the Northwest. In addition to directing these productions, he has written the book for two AMT productions: Klondike, the story of the Alaskan Gold Rush, and Journey West!, a musical based on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Joshua Carter and Jessica Skerritt play the hapless lovers Seymour and Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. Carter is a recent hit from The 5th Avenue production of Spamalot and appeared at The 5th previously in Guys and Dolls. At ACT he was featured in Mary Stewart and Das Barbecue. He has also worked in Seattle at the Intiman, Village Theatre, Seattle Children's Theatre and Seattle Rep. Carter recently returned from the first national tour of the Broadway show Once and can be heard on the original cast recording of WATT?!?, A New Musical. Leading lady Jessica Skerritt was a sparkling addition to last year's co-production between The 5th Avenue and ACT as Young Little Edie in Grey Gardens. She's also been on The 5th Avenue stage in productions of ELF - The Musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, and Guys and Dolls. The young ingénue was critically-acclaimed for her role as Kira/Clio in Xanadu at Village Theatre, where she has also performed in The Producers, Phoebe, Barefoot in the Park, Chasing Nicolette, and Million Dollar Quartet.

A stalwart Seattle staple, Jeff Steitzer brings his charming and curmudgeonly persona to the role of Mr. Mushnik. No stranger to ACT, Steitzer has starred as Srooge in several iterations of ACT's annual holiday offering of A Christmas Carol. He's been seen on the 5th Avenue stage in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Music Man, Hairspray in Concert, and Titanic in Concert. Steitzer has performed on Broadway, numerous television shows, and major theatres from coast to coast. However, his voice will most likely live on in perpetuity as the announcer for the incredibly popular video game Halo.

David Anthony Lewis plays many parts in this camp horror hit, most notably the sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello. A graduate of Cornish College of the Arts, Lewis has performed at ACT as Mr. Hyde in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, as well as productions of A Christmas Carol and The Cherry Orchard. His additional Seattle credits include roles at Book-It Repertory Theatre, Taproot Theatre, and Village Theatre.

The plant Audrey II will be brought to life by the talents of Ekello J. Harrid, Jr., as the voice of Audrey II, and Eric Esteb, who will serve as master puppeteer. Harrid was part of last season's co-production of Grey Gardens as Brooks. He has performed at The 5th Avenue in On the Town and has been seen many times at Village Theatre. Esteb has performed at The 5th Avenue in productions of Monty Python's Spamalot, Secondhand Lions, Damn Yankees, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, and Guys and Dolls. He is one half of the Seattle aerial duo The Innamorati.

The trio of Skid Row girls are a feisty bunch. Alexandria Henderson plays Chiffon, and participated in The 5th Avenue Theatre's Hairspray in Concert last year after receiving a degree from Warner Pacific University. Naomi Morgan plays Crystal and has been seen many times onstage at The 5th (most recently in Oliver! and RENT) and owns her own entertainment company on the side. Making her professional debut is Nicole Rashida Prothro as Ronnette, who recently graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

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