Sunday, November 14, 2004

Little Shop of Horrors...

Musical Theatre
Chapter: Little Shop of Horrors

-Back Round Information-

Little Shop of Horrors was the most internationally successful Broadway musical. It began its career at the little WPA Theater in New York. It is a musical in 2 acts based on the film by Charles Griffith. The first performance of Little Shop of Horrors took place on May 6th 1982, in New York. It was transferred to Orpheum Theater, on July 27th 1982 with 2209 performances and in London (Comedy Theatre) on October 12th 1983 with 813 performances.

-Important People (Cast, Music, Etc.)-

Lyrics – Howard Ashman
Music – Alan Menken
Book – Howard Ashman, based on the script of the film by Charles Griffith

PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS
Seymour – A poor and nerdy guy
Audrey – His beloved
Orin – An evil dentist
Mr. Mushnik – A florist and owner of the store
Audrey II – A carnivorous plant

ORIGINAL NEW YORK CAST
Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Franc Luz, Hy Anzell, Ron Taylor/Martin P. Robinson
ORIGINAL LONDON CAST
Barry James, Ellen Greene, Terrence Hillyer, Harry Towb, Anthong B. Asbury/Michael Leslie

-Plot or Summary-

On September 21st, creatures from outer space invaded our galaxy with the plan of taking over our world. Some of them took the form of plants which happened to land in Mr. Mushnik’s flower shop on skid row. Seymour finds this plant very interesting and takes care of it. He names it Audrey II after his assistant Audrey, who he is secretly in love with. Seymour seems to never please the owner of the store, Mr. Mushnik, until this plant of his draws a major crowd. Everyone that walks by the shop seems to be interested in this strange yet amazing looking plant, which gives Mr. Mushnik the business he’s always wanted. The problem that Seymour finds is that Audrey II doesn’t drink water. He has to feed this plant blood in order for it to grow. In the beginning it is only a drop or two, but soon the plant needs more and more.
Audrey has a sadistic boyfriend, Orin, who is a dentist. He is very mean, rude, and even physically abusive to Audrey. Seymour hates to see this, but doesn’t feel that he deserves anything as beautiful as her. Soon Audrey II is getting bigger and bigger and even talking to Seymour, screaming “Feed ME”. Seymour does not want to kill anyone but is soon temped by Orin as he treats Audrey VERY bad in front of him. Audrey II gets his way soon, as Seymour chops up Orin and feeds him to the hungry plant.
About this time, Mr. Mushnik, knowing the success of this plant and Seymour, asks Seymour to be his son and partner of the shop. Seymour soon says yes and is starting to live a dream lifestyle, as Audrey is starting to fall for Seymour too. The plant is getting very big and needs more blood (killings). Unfortunately Mr. Mushnik starts to suspect what’s going on and becomes the next victim of Audrey II. Although Seymour is starting to become more and more famous, he is starting to have doubts about this plant.
One late night, Audrey goes to the shop to find Seymour, but instead encounters Audrey II. In attempt to eat Audrey the plant asks her for a glass of water. She questions it, but decides to just give the plant a drink of water. As she reaches her arm out to the plant, Audrey II grabs her in its mouth and is trying to eat her! Seymour arrives soon and pulls her out of its mouth, however he is too late. As she is dieing, he tells her his secrets of the killings he has done. Audrey tells him that she wants him to feed her to the plant so she will always be apart of Seymour. She tells him, “If I’m in the plant…then I’m part of the plant! And that means I’ll always be a part of you!”. Seymour does indeed feed her to the plant but then decides that he doesn’t want to have anything to do with this anymore. He realizes that this was all part of the plant’s plan to have world conquest. He tries to kill the plant, but is pulled into its heart.

-The Critics-

“Wow! Totally entrancing…totally hilarious” – New York Post
“Zany, fun-filled and thoroughly delightful…a winner” – Variety
“A musical comedy that is both musical and comic…and that hits just the right tone of mockery without ever slipping into camp…with a witty book and witty lyrics” – The New Yorker
“Madly entertaining, full of side-splitting laughs…the show’s a hoot” – Gannett Wetchester Newspapers

Sources:

Kennedy P., Michael & John Muir. Musicals. HarperCollins Publishers, 1997.

Ganzl, Kurt. The Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre: 2nd Edition. Schirmer Books, 2001.