BWW Previews: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at Summit City Music Theatre
It's almost Halloween season, which means it's the perfect time for some charismatic talking plants and sadistic dentists. That's right - LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS is opening in Fort Wayne in just a few short weeks, courtesy of Summit City Music Theatre.
The musical follows the escapades of Seymour, who works at a flower shop in the downtrodden downtown Skid Row. When a mysterious plant appears during a total eclipse of the sun, he comes to find out that there's more to this little plant than meets the eye. Recently, I was able to ask director Reuben Albaugh a few questions about this delightful and highly-anticipated production.
Albaugh is no stranger to the Summit City Music Theatre scene, having appeared as Schroeder in their ASL-integrated production of YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN last spring. He's also been seen on and around other stages around town, everywhere from the Civic to Arena Dinner Theatre. LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, however, will be his first foray into directing with SCMT. In addition to being thrilled about his "powerhouse cast," the material itself is a point of interest to this director. "I am excited for this opportunity," said Albaugh. "Little Shop has always been a show that I have liked but now it is a show that I am in love with!"
And Albaugh's not the only one in love with the show. Audiences throughout the ages have adored this musical, and I asked him why he thought people were still so drawn to it. "I think that there is a timeless quality to many of these characters that makes it appealing to both audience and performers," said Albaugh. This is true in both content and musical style. Whether they've worked an underpaid job, dealt with a terrible relationship, found love in an unexpected situation, tried to determine what's really "moral" in a sticky circumstance... the dilemmas these characters face are ones that the audience can relate to. Plus, every song is a bop (you'd expect no less from composer Alan Menken), and the variety of musical genres that the songs touch mean that there's something in it to for everyone. Albaugh also noted that while audiences might be familiar with the movie version or another stage production, this production still allows opportunity to chart its own path. "This is a show that the actors can put their own stamp on," he said.
One additional element that makes this production special is its on-site location. The show won't staged in a traditional theater space; instead, the performances will be taking place at Connelly's Do It Best on DuPont Road- in the greenhouse! Some of the production elements naturally led to this exciting location. "Because of the size of the plants, it was sort of a necessity to find a place to perform the show outside of the studio," said Albaugh. I can't wait to see how this particular location brings new life to this beloved musical.
The show stars James Stover as Seymour and Kat Hickey as Audrey, with Maggie Cole Hunter as Mushnick, Tony Didier as Orin the Dentist, Prentis Moore as the Audrey II, and Fatima Washington, April La'Shea Cotton, and Debbie Lynn Moore as the "urchins."
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS is rated PG-13 and runs weekends from October 18 to November 2, with Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m. and Sunday shows at 6 p.m., all at Connelly's Do It Best Greenhouse (515 E. Dupont Road). You can get your tickets in advance online here - and see Summit City Music Theatre's Facebook page for more information!