Theatre department performs 80’s musical

Elisabeth Moore

In a small shabby flower shop located in Skid Row, a vampiric yet fascinating plant named Audrey II catches the eyes of those who pass by the front window. Initially found during a solar eclipse, Audrey II started as a small plant when it first arrived in the flower shop but soon grew to much more.

The WKU Theatre and Dance Department brought the musical Little Shop of Horrors by Howard Ashman to the Russell Miller Theatre in the Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center. Premiering last Thursday and showing until Tuesday, Little Shop of Horrors showcased 19 cast and ensemble members, 5 understudies, 4 band members and 102 staff members.

“It was nice being able to just enjoy it instead of working on it for five hours a day, give or take,” said Shane Baker, an audience member and senior from Corbin who played Seymour during his high school’s rendition of Little Shop of Horrors.

The onstage flower shop showcased dull yellow walls and dull green paneling, with one wall full of flower cases and one dirty window store front. Filling the store was a mixture of real flowers provided by the WKU Floral Shop and fake prop plants.

Between scenes, a brick wall was dropped from the ceiling to separate the actors from the flower shop that takes up much of the stage. Ensemble members, who provide a lot of the music for the musical, were positioned on a rafter slightly beyond the flower shop.

“We were interested in the idea of doing a rock musical for this semester,” Director Michelle Dvoskin, assistant professor for the department of theatre and dance, said. “It’s a really fun show and it’s a really enjoyable, entertaining piece. It’s a good scope for our needs this semester and while it’s a lot of fun, it also has some things to say about out world. It just says them in an incredibly entertaining, fun way.”

Audrey II sat in the middle of the flower shop for most of the musical. Matching the color scheme of the shop itself, Audrey II is a dull yellow plant with brown spots, spiky green leaves and brown roots that sit underneath the plant itself. As time develops, Audrey II grows and grows, along with a mouth that grows teeth, a tongue and a taste for human blood.

“I’d have to say the first rehearsal with the plant was a lot of fun,” production stage manager and Louisville senior Kelly McGee said. “We have four plant puppets that you’ll see throughout the show, and the first time we brought them into the rehearsal room was very funny. We were very out of our element, but it was a lot of fun.”

As the finder of the plant, Seymour, who is played by Colin Waters, tries to constantly take care of Audrey II and the flower shop as Mr. Mushnik, played by Mason Stevens, goes “missing” in the later part of the musical. With this new-found responsibility, Seymour must balance his work, Audrey II and his love for his co-worker to survive living in Skid Row.

At the end of the musical, every actor and actress involved in the production either walked on stage or into the crowd to give one last piece of advice, “Don’t feed the plants.” Audrey II even made an appearance in human form at the end; the plant was voiced by Louisville senior Tyler London Chandler throughout the musical.

“Playing Audrey II is amazing,” Chandler, a musical theatre major, said. “I love it because this character is so powerful. Audrey II is definitely the devil of the whole situation. This character is limitless, very smart, confident and knows exactly what to do to get everything it needs.”

Reporter Elisabeth Moore can be reached at 270-745-6288 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @emoore938.