BWW Interview: Cole Smith is Seymour in MMT's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
Photo by JM Walker Photography
As a professional, year-round, regional theatre, Mill Mountain Theatre has proudly served the southern Virginia region and the industry for more than 50 years. This October they present the hilarious 'LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS', October 4th-22nd. Part horror-comedy musical, part sci-fi spoof; Little Shop has been making audiences all over the country scream with laughter since its debut in the early 80's.
Producing Artistic Director, Ginger Poole choreographs while Assistant Artistic Director, Alicia Varcoe directs. "This cult favorite musical is sure to please our Roanoke Valley audiences- its equal parts funny, frightening and touching, and full of catchy songs." says Varcoe. "I'm thrilled to work with such a stellar cast to bring this musical to Mill Mountain Theatre for the very first time."
Starring as the meek floral assistant Seymour Krelbourn is Cole Smith, New York native, and professional actor. Smith sat down and shared with me how excited he is about the production and what Roanoke audiences have to look forward to.
Why don't share a little bit about where you're from and how you get started in Theatre...
I'm Cole Smith, I play Seymour Krelbourn, the young botanical genius. I grew up in Albany, Oregon, but I've now lived in NYC for 4 years. When I was in the sixth grade, my English teacher liked the way that I read aloud in class and decided to cast me as Lysander in our middle school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. While wearing that toga up on our cafetorium stage I simply fell in love and the theatre became an essential part of my life, splitting the majority of the next few years between our school and community theaters. When it came time to go to college I started on the path of becoming a lawyer but I quickly realized that my heart wasn't in it. I then transferred to AMDA in NYC, where I studied musical theatre. I could not be more pleased with that decision and I am humbled every day that I get to make a living collaborating with other artists to create, entertain and share beautiful stories.
As you're not from the area, what's been your favorite part of Roanoke?
Roanoke is such a charming city! The food is wonderful, the people are lovely, and it seems to be a community that really appreciates the arts. I love walking through the market and seeing the work of all the local artists. Before rehearsals began for Little Shop I had the privilege of performing in the staged reading of 'The Little Lion' here at Mill Mountain Theatre. We had a sold-out run and audiences were very engaged and receptive. The work that is done here at Mill Mountain is just wonderful and to see a community that appreciates it is very heartwarming as an artist.
Speaking of Little Shop, what's your favorite part of the show?
I really appreciate the simpler, more internal moments of the show. The story is jam packed with zany comedic bits and high-energy songs, but the true heart of the show for me lies in the more quiet moments like "Sudden Changes", "Somewhere that's Green" and some of the more intimate scene work. I think that in these moments the characters are at their most vulnerable and their humanity really shines. I think that audiences will be able to connect to the characters in those moments and relate to their circumstances on some level (blood-eating plants aside).
Why should people come see 'Little Shop of Horrors'?
I think the show has something that will appeal to everyone. It truly is equal parts comedic, romantic and mildly frightening. The show has garnered a cult following over the years by no mistake; it really is genius. On top of that, this cast is just superb. Lindsay Nantz as Audrey gives a performance that you won't want to miss that is remarkably charming with the most stunning vocals. It's a real treat to get to fall for her onstage. In addition to our remarkable cast, the direction and the designs are beautiful. Audiences are in for a real visual treat. For fans of the show you can expect a top-notch production of the show that you know and love and I believe that it will be sure to win the hearts, tickle the funny bones, and frighten those that have yet to experience the tale of this spunky blood-thirsty plant.
Little Shop of Horrors runs Oct 4th-22nd. Tickets range from $20-40 and can be purchased online HERE. Musical rated PG- comical violence for all ages.
Little Shop features Cole Smith (Seymour), Lindsay Nantz (Audrey), Reggie Bromell (Voice of Audrey II), Joshua Walker (Audrey II Puppeteer), Nick Walker Jones (Orin Scrivello, et. al), Jenia Head (Crystal), Troy Jackson (Ronnette), Jordan Leigh McCaskill (Chiffon), and Jason Marks* (Mr. Mushnik)
The production is Directed by Alicia Varcoe, Choreographed by Ginger Poole, Music Directed by Seth Davis, Stage Managed by Sammy Brown*, Scenic Design by Shannon Robert, Lighting Design by Bill Webb, Costume Design by Keith Schneider, Props by Jacob Foster, Sound Design by Tim Stanley, Technical Direction by Karen Gierchak, Scenic Charge by Ken Scar, Assistant Stage Managed by Hannah Bergere.
Little Shop of Horrors is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). With Original Book & Lyrics by Howard Ashman, and Music by Alan Menken. Based on the film by Roger Corman with a Screenplay by Charles Griffith.
*Appears courtesy of Actors' Equity Association.