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Little Shop of Horrors (musical)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Little Shop of Horrors
A thick, dark green border around an intricate drawing of the plant monster Audrey with a woman lying limp below it.
Original Cast Album
MusicAlan Menken
LyricsHoward Ashman
BookHoward Ashman
BasisThe Little Shop of Horrors
by Charles B. Griffith
Productions
AwardsDrama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical
Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics

Little Shop of Horrors is a horror comedy rock musical with music by Alan Menken and lyrics and a book by Howard Ashman. The story follows a hapless florist shop worker who raises a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh. The musical is loosely based on the low-budget 1960 black comedy film The Little Shop of Horrors. The music, composed by Menken in the style of early 1960s rock and roll, doo-wop and early Motown, includes several well-known tunes, including the title song, "Skid Row (Downtown)", "Somewhere That's Green", and "Suddenly, Seymour".

The musical premiered Off-Off-Broadway in 1982 before moving to the Orpheum Theatre Off-Broadway, where it had a five-year run. It later received numerous productions in the U.S. and abroad, and a subsequent Broadway production. Because of its small cast, it has become popular with community theatre, school and other amateur groups.[1] The musical was also made into a 1986 film of the same name, directed by Frank Oz.

Synopsis

Act I

An offstage voice recalls a time when the human race "suddenly encountered a deadly threat to its very existence". A trio of 1960s street urchins named Crystal, Ronette, and Chiffon set the scene ("Little Shop of Horrors") and comment on the action throughout the show. Seymour Krelborn is a poor young man, an orphan living in an urban skid row. Audrey is a pretty blonde with a fashion sense that leans towards the tacky. They lament their stations in life and the urban blight in their neighborhood ("Skid Row (Downtown)"). They are co-workers at Mushnik's Skid Row Florists, a run-down flower shop owned and operated by the cranky Mr. Mushnik. Seymour has recently obtained a mysterious plant that looks like a large venus flytrap. While he was browsing the wholesale flower district, a sudden eclipse of the sun occurred, and when the light returned, the weird plant had appeared ("Da-Doo"). Seymour, who is secretly in love with Audrey, names the plant Audrey II in her honor.

The plant does not thrive in its new environment and appears to be dying. Seymour questions why it should be doing poorly, since he takes such good care of it. He accidentally pricks his finger on a rose thorn, which draws blood, and Audrey II's pod opens thirstily. Seymour realizes that Audrey II requires blood to survive and allows the plant to suckle from his finger ("Grow For Me"). As Audrey II grows, it becomes an attraction and starts generating brisk business for Mushnik. As the caretaker of the plant, the timid Seymour is suddenly regarded as a hero ("Ya Never Know"), while Audrey secretly longs to leave her abusive boyfriend. Her dream is to lead an ideal suburban life with Seymour, complete with a tract home, frozen dinners, and plastic on the furniture ("Somewhere That's Green").

Meanwhile, the employees at Mushnik's are sprucing up the flower shop because of the popularity of the rapidly growing Audrey II and the revenue that it is bringing in ("Closed for Renovation"). Orin Scrivello, a sadistic dentist, is Audrey's abusive boyfriend. Modeled after the "Leader of the pack" characters of the 1950s, Orin drives a motorcycle, wears leather, and enjoys bringing other people pain ("Dentist!"). Orin encourages Seymour to take the plant and get out of Skid Row. Realizing that his store's sudden profitability is completely dependent on the plant (and therefore on Seymour), Mushnik takes advantage of Seymour's innocence by offering to adopt him and make him a full partner in the business. Having always wanted a family, Seymour accepts, even though Mushnik has always yelled at him and treated him poorly ("Mushnik and Son"). However, Seymour is having difficulty providing enough blood to keep Audrey II healthy. When Seymour stops feeding the plant, Audrey II reveals that it can speak. It demands blood and promises that, if fed, it will make sure that all of Seymour's dreams come true. Seymour initially refuses, but he then witnesses Orin abusing Audrey. The plant presents this as a justification for killing Orin. Not realizing that he is being manipulated again, Seymour gives in to his baser instincts and agrees ("Feed Me (Git It)").

He sets up a late-night appointment with Orin, intending to kill him. However, Seymour loses his nerve and decides not to commit the crime. Unfortunately for Orin, who is getting high on nitrous oxide, the gas device is stuck in the "on" position, and he suffocates while asking Seymour to save him. Seymour cannot bring himself to shoot Orin but lets him die of asphyxiation ("Now (It's Just The Gas)"). Seymour feeds Orin's body to the now huge Audrey II, and the plant consumes it with ravenous glee ("Act I Finale").

Act II

The flower shop is much busier, and Seymour and Audrey have trouble keeping up with the onslaught of orders ("Call Back in the Morning"). Audrey confides to Seymour that she feels guilty about Orin's disappearance, because secretly she wished it. The two admit their feelings for one another, and Seymour promises that he will protect and care for Audrey from now on ("Suddenly, Seymour"). The two plan to leave together and start a new life, although Seymour mistakenly attributes Audrey's feelings to his newfound fame, not realizing that she loved him even before he found the plant.

Before they can go, Mushnik confronts Seymour about Orin's death. Mushnik has put two and two together: the bloody dentist's uniform, the drops of blood on the floor, and he has seen Seymour and Audrey kissing. Seymour denies killing Orin, but Mushnik wants him to give a statement to the police, who have begun investigating. Audrey II tells Seymour that he has to be rid of Mushnik or he will lose everything, including Audrey ("Suppertime"). Seymour tells Mushnik that he put the days' receipts inside Audrey II for safekeeping. Mushnik climbs inside the plant's gaping maw to search for the money, realizing the deception too late, and screams as he is devoured. Seymour now runs the flower shop, and reporters, salesmen, lawyers and agents approach him, promising him fame and fortune. Although tempted by the trappings of his success, Seymour realizes that it is only a matter of time before Audrey II will kill again and that he is morally responsible. He considers destroying the plant but believing that his fame is the only thing that is earning him Audrey's love, he is unable to do so ("The Meek Shall Inherit").

As Seymour works on his speech for a lecture tour, Audrey II again squalls for blood. Seymour threatens to kill it just as Audrey walks in asking when Mushnik will return from visiting his "sick sister". Seymour learns that Audrey would still love him without the fame and decides that Audrey II must die after the scheduled LIFE magazine interview at the shop. Audrey is confused and frightened by Seymour's ramblings, but she runs home by his order. That night, unable to sleep and distressed by Seymour's strange behavior, Audrey goes to the flower shop to talk with him. He is not there, and Audrey II begs her to water him. Not sensing the mortal danger, she approaches to water it, and a vine wraps around her and pulls her into the plant's gaping maw ("Sominex/Suppertime II"). Seymour arrives and attacks the plant in an attempt to save Audrey. He pulls her out, but Audrey is mortally wounded. Her dying wish is for Seymour to feed her to the plant after she dies so that they can always be together. She dies in his arms, and he reluctantly honors her request ("Somewhere That's Green" (reprise)). Seymour falls asleep as Audrey II grows small red flower buds.

The next day, Patrick Martin from the World Botanical Enterprises tells Seymour that his company wishes to take leaf cuttings of Audrey II and sell them across America. Seymour realizes the plant's evil plan: during the solar eclipse, Audrey II came from an unknown planet to conquer Earth. He tries shooting, cutting, and poisoning the plant, but it has grown too hardy to kill. Seymour, in desperation, runs into its open jaws with a machete planning to kill it from the inside, but he is quickly eaten. Patrick, Crystal, Ronette, and Chiffon search for Seymour. Not finding him, Patrick tells the girls to take the cuttings.

Crystal, Ronette, and Chiffon relate that, following these events, other plants appeared across America, tricking innocent people into feeding them blood in exchange for fame and fortune. Out of the fog, Audrey II, bigger than ever, appears with opened new flowers revealing the faces of Seymour, Audrey, Mushnik and Orin, who beg that, no matter how persuasive the plants may be, they must not be fed ("Finale Ultimo: Don't Feed the Plants"). Audrey II slithers towards the audience threateningly (In the original Off-Broadway production, plant tendrils fell all over the audience, as if each audience member were to be pulled into the plant, while in the Broadway production, a monstrously huge Audrey II was projected out over the fifth row and the balcony seats, as if it would eat the audience members).

Early productions

Off-Broadway

The musical had its world premiere Off-Off-Broadway on May 6, 1982 at the Workshop of the Players Art Foundation (WPA Theatre), playing there until June 6, 1982.[2] It opened Off-Broadway at the Orpheum Theatre in Manhattan's East Village on July 27, 1982. The production, directed by Ashman, with musical staging by Edie Cowan, was critically acclaimed and won several awards including the 1982–1983 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical, as well as the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical and the Outer Critics Circle Award.[3] Howard Ashman wrote, in the introduction to the acting edition of the libretto, that the show "satirizes many things: science fiction, 'B' movies, musical comedy itself, and even the Faust legend".[4] The cast starred Lee Wilkof as Seymour, Ellen Greene as Audrey, Hy Anzell as Mr. Mushnik, Franc Luz as Orin and the other small roles, Leilani Jones was a replacement as Chiffon, Ron Taylor as the voice of Audrey II, and Martin P. Robinson as the Audrey II puppeteer.

The production ran for 5 years. When it closed on November 1, 1987, after 2,209 performances, it was the third-longest running musical[5] and the highest-grossing production in Off-Broadway history.[6] Though a Broadway transfer had been proposed for the production, book writer Howard Ashman felt the show belonged where it was.[7] Since it was not produced on Broadway, the original production was ineligible for the 1982 Tony Awards. The producers were the WPA Theatre, David Geffen, Cameron Mackintosh and the Shubert Organization. The Audrey II puppets were designed and operated by Martin P. Robinson.[4]

An original cast recording, released in 1982, omitted the songs "Call Back in the Morning" and the reprise of "Somewhere That's Green", and had abridged versions of "Now (It's Just the Gas)," "Mushnik and Son," and "The Meek Shall Inherit". It also shifted the location of the song "Closed for Renovation," appearing in the show after "Somewhere That's Green" while appearing on the cast album after "Now (It's Just the Gas)" to serve as an upbeat bridge from Orin's death to the Act II love ballad, "Suddenly, Seymour".[8] The recording features Leilani Jones, who replaced Marlene Danielle as Chiffon two weeks after the musical opened.

West End

A London West End production opened on October 12, 1983 at the Comedy Theatre, produced by Cameron Mackintosh. It ran for 813 performances, starring Barry James as Seymour, Greene reprising her role as Audrey and Harry Towb as Mr. Mushnik, with Sinitta (then surnamed Renet) understudying Chiffon, Crystal and Ronette. Zeeteah Massiah took over as Chiffon in 1984. Greene was replaced as Audrey by Claire Moore (1984) then Sarah Payne (1985). Orin was played by Terence Hillyer (1983), David Burt (1984) and Bogdan Kominowski (1985).[9] Audrey II was puppeteered by Anthony Asbury and the costumes were designed by Tim Goodchild.[10] It received the 1983 Evening Standard Award for Best Musical and closed on October 5, 1985.[11][12]

Australia and Canada

An Australian production opened at Her Majesty's Theatre, Perth on January 14, 1984, starring Christopher Pate as Seymour and Denise Kirby as Audrey.[13] It then moved to the Theatre Royal in Sydney from November 7, 1984, and the Comedy Theatre in Melbourne from February, 1985.[14][15]

A 1985 Canadian production starred Sheila McCarthy as Audrey and Michael Crossman as Seymour. Gerry Salsberg was Orin.[16]

Musical numbers

Casts

Casts for productions of Little Shop of Horrors
Character Off-Broadway
(1982)
West End
(1983)
Broadway
(2003)
US Tour
(2004)
West End revival
(2007)
First UK Tour
(2009)
Second UK Tour
(2016)
Off-Broadway revival
(2019)
Seymour Krelborn Lee Wilkof Barry James Hunter Foster Anthony Rapp Paul Keating Damian Humbley Sam Lupton Jonathan Groff
Audrey Ellen Greene Kerry Butler Tari Kelly Sheridan Smith Clare Buckfield Stephanie Clift Tammy Blanchard
Mr. Mushnik Hy Anzell Harry Towb Rob Bartlett Lenny Wolpe Barry James Sylvester McCoy Paul Kissaun Tom Alan Robbins
Orin Scrivello, Bernstein
Mrs. Luce, Skip Snip & Others
Franc Luz David Burt Douglas Sills James Moye Jasper Brittan Alex Ferns Rhydian Roberts Christian Borle
Chiffon Marlene Danielle Nicola Blackman DeQuina Moore Yasmeen Sulieman Jenny Fitzpatrick Lara Martin Vanessa Fisher Joy Woods
Crystal Jennifer Leigh Warren Dawn Hope Trisha Jeffrey Amina Robinson Katie Kerr Cathryn Davis Sasha Latoya Salome Smith
Ronnette Sheila Kay Davis Shezwae Powell Carla J. Hargrove LaTonya Holmes Melitsa Nicola Donna Hines Cassie Clare Ari Groover
Audrey II (voice) Ron Taylor Gary Martin Michael-Leon Wooley Michael James Leslie Matthew Eames Clive Rowe Josh Wilmott Kingsley Leggs
Audrey II (manipulation) Martin P. Robinson Anthony Asbury Martin P. Robinson
Anthony Asbury
Bill Remington
Matt Vogel
Paul McGinnis
Marc Petrosino
Michael Latini
Anthony Asbury
Andy Heath Eric Wright
Teddy Yudain

Differences between the 1960 film and stage musical

The musical is based on the basic concept and dark comic tone of the 1960 film, although it changes much of the story. The setting is moved from Skid Row, Los Angeles to Skid Row in New York. Seymour's hypochondriacal Jewish mother is omitted in the musical, and Seymour becomes an orphan in the care of Mushnik. Also dropped is the subplot involving the two investigating police officers. The characters of Mrs. Siddie Shiva and Burson Fouch are also omitted, although Mrs. Shiva is mentioned as being the shop's biggest funeral account. The gleefully masochistic dental patient, originally played by Jack Nicholson, is not in the musical but is in the 1986 film, played by Bill Murray.

In the musical, the sadistic dentist, Orin Scrivello, is killed by suffocation from laughing gas instead of being stabbed with a dental instrument as in the film. His abusive relationship with Audrey is added to the musical to give Seymour a motive to kill him. In the film, Seymour murders several innocent bystanders, and Mushnik tricks a thief into looking for money inside the plant, which eats the thief. In the musical, Seymour tricks Mushnik in the same way when Mushnik plans to turn Seymour over to the police. The two neighborhood girls in the film are replaced in the musical by a chorus of three street urchins: Crystal, Chiffon and Ronette, named after (and reminiscent of) girl groups of the 1960s. The plant is named "Audrey II" in the musical, rather than the film's "Audrey Junior", and instead of being a crossbreed of a butterwort and a Venus Flytrap, in the musical it is a creature from outer space intent on taking over the world.

Perhaps the biggest difference is the ending. The musical ends with Orin, Mushnik, Audrey and Seymour all eaten by the plant, and the three girls report that Audrey II's progeny continues to consume people. In the 1960 film, Mushnik and Audrey survive, and the plant's carnivorous activities are discovered when its flowers bloom with the faces of its victims, including Seymour, imprinted on them. The musical references this ending in its finale, in which the Plant's four victims' faces are seen in its blooming flowers.

The change in ending of the musical contributes to its portrayal of class struggles and moral values. While the 1986 film shows Seymour and Audrey escaping to the dream suburban house, encapsulating ideals of the 1950s American Dream, the musical hints to a metaphorical portrayal of Seymour's greed as the plant.[17] Seymour's greed gradually consumes himself and Audrey. The musical engages with ideas relating to human values in the face of capitalist culture, disempowering those who are enveloped with motivations of personal monetary gain and overlook moral values. It serves as a social commentary of commodity fetishism.[18]

Subsequent productions

2003 tryout, Broadway and 2004 tour

In 2003, an $8 million revival of Little Shop of Horrors was planned with the goal of opening on Broadway. A pre-Broadway production debuted at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, Florida on May 16, 2003. Lee Wilkof, who originated the role of Seymour in 1982, was cast as Mr. Mushnik. The production was directed by Wilkof's wife, Connie Grappo, who was the assistant to Howard Ashman during the original production.[7] Muppeteer Martin P. Robinson, who designed the original Audrey II puppets, enlisted The Jim Henson Company to create new puppets for the show. Hunter Foster and Alice Ripley played Seymour and Audrey, and Billy Porter was the voice of Audrey II.[19]

Critics complained that by expanding the show to fit a larger theatre, its intimacy was lost; they also judged several actors as miscast, although the Miami Herald declared that "Alice Ripley's Audrey – part lisping Kewpie doll (a la Ellen Greene, who originated the role), part dental punching bag – is heartbreakingly adorable."[20] In June 2003, the producers announced that the Broadway production was canceled.[21] Nevertheless, within weeks, they ousted Grappo in favor of veteran Broadway director Jerry Zaks, who fired everyone in the cast, except Foster, and redirected the production from scratch. New casting was announced in July.[22][23]

The musical made its Broadway debut at the Virginia Theatre on October 2, 2003 with Foster as Seymour, Kerry Butler as Audrey, Rob Bartlett as Mr. Mushnik, Douglas Sills as Orin, Michael-Leon Wooley as the voice of Audrey II and DeQuina Moore as Chiffon.[22][23] Although this was the first time it had played on Broadway, the show's success in film and numerous regional productions made it fall under the "Revival" category for the 2003 Tony Awards. Foster was nominated for the 2004 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance. The revival was fairly faithful to the original 1982 production. Changes included the expanded version of the title song heard in the 1986 film, and expanded "You Never Know" with a "WSKID" radio introduction, and a revised Act I Finale and added Entr'acte before "Call Back in the Morning." The orchestrations were beefed up for the bigger theatre to add reeds, trumpets and percussion to the original 5-piece combo.[24][25]

The cast album was released on October 21, 2003.[26] Demo recordings to five songs ("A Little Dental Music", "The Worse He Treats Me", "We'll Have Tomorrow", "Bad" and "I Found a Hobby") cut during the development process of the musical were included as bonus material for the album.[24][26][27] The production closed on August 22, 2004 after 40 previews and 372 regular performances.[28] The closing Broadway cast included Joey Fatone as Seymour.[28]

On August 10, 2004, a U.S. national tour of the Broadway production began, with Anthony Rapp starring as Seymour, Tari Kelly as Audrey and Lenny Wolpe as Mushnik.[29] The tour closed April 16, 2006 in Columbus, Ohio.[citation needed]

2006 Menier Chocolate Factory and 2007 West End

An elaborate large model of the Audrey monster resembling a mammoth Venus flytrap devouring a woman whose legs are sticking out of its mouth
Audrey II devours Audrey; 2006–07 London production

A production began previews on November 17, 2006 at the Menier Chocolate Factory. This revival, directed by Matthew White, featured a new Audrey II designed by David Farley, resembling the pitcher plant.[30] The production was a critical and commercial success and transferred to the Duke of York's Theatre in London's West End in March 2007. In June 2007, the show transferred to the Ambassadors Theatre, where it ended its run on September 8, 2007.[31] The West End cast featured Paul Keating as Seymour, Sheridan Smith as Audrey, Alistair McGowan as Orin, and Mike McShane providing the voice of Audrey II.[30] Smith and McGowan received 2008 Laurence Olivier Award nominations, and the production was nominated for Best Musical Revival.[32]

2009 UK tour

The Menier Chocolate Factory production toured the UK in 2009 with a cast including Damian Humbley as Seymour, Clare Buckfield as Audrey, Alex Ferns as Orin, Sylvester McCoy as Mr Mushnik and Clive Rowe as the voice of Audrey II.[33]

2015 Encores!

A three-performance Encores! concert staging at New York City Center as part of its Off-Center series ran in July 2015. Directed by Dick Scanlan, the production starred Jake Gyllenhaal as Seymour, and Ellen Greene reprising her role as Audrey. Taran Killam played Orin, with Tracy Nicole Chapman, Marva Hicks and Ramona Keller as the urchins. Joe Grifasi was Mr. Mushnik, with Eddie Cooper as the plant. Reviewers praised Greene, Gyllenhaal and the cast in general.[34] Ben Brantley wrote in The New York Times: "A confluence of alchemical elements was at work, converging in ways that made a perfectly charming but small musical feel like a major event."[35]

2016 Australian Tour

An Australian tour opened at the Hayes Theatre in Sydney on February 22, 2016, before touring to Her Majesty's Theatre, Adelaide; The Comedy Theatre, Melbourne; Canberra Theatre Centre; Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane, and The Roslyn Packer Theatre, Sydney. It starred Brent Hill as Seymour, Esther Hannaford as Audrey, Tyler Coppin as Mushnik and Scott Johnson as Orin. Hill also voiced Audrey II. The production was directed by Dean Bryant and choreographed by Andy Hallwsorth[36] The production was nominated for ten Sydney Theatre Awards, winning eight, including Best Production of a Musical,[37] and five Helpmann Awards, winning none.[38] Cassie Tongue wrote of it in The Guardian: "Watching this show feels like a discovery, or a reaffirmation; to be reminded why musical theatre matters, to be assured that musicals are a difficult, exhilarating art. And all this from a campy cult classic. What magic."[39]

2016 UK Tour

A UK tour began on August 4, 2016, directed by Tara Wilkinson, starring Sam Lupton as Seymour, Stephanie Clift as Audrey and Rhydian Roberts as Orin.[40] It was booked through November 26, 2016.[41]

2018 Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

A revival at London's Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, from 3 August to 22 September 2018, was directed by Maria Aberg, choreographed by Lizzi Gee and designed by Tom Scutt. It starred Marc Antolin as Seymour, Jemima Rooper as Audrey, Forbes Masson as Mr Mushnik, Matt Willis as Orin and American drag performer Vicky Vox as Audrey II.[42][43] The production included the song "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space", written for the 1986 film, as an encore number.[44]

2019 Off-Broadway revival

An Off-Broadway revival at the Westside Theatre began previews on September 17, 2019, with an official opening on October 17, 2019. The cast starred Jonathan Groff as Seymour (Gideon Glick replaced him from November 5–17 and from January 21 to March 11, 2020), Tammy Blanchard as Audrey, Christian Borle as Orin and Tom Alan Robbins as Mr. Mushnik. Michael Mayer directs with choreography by Ellenore Scott. The lighting designer is Bradley King.[45][46] The production was suspended on March 11, 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.[47][48]

2019 Pasadena Playhouse

Pasadena Playhouse staged a production from September 17 to October 20, 2019, directed by Mike Donahue. The cast included George Salazar as Seymour, Mj Rodriguez as Audrey, Amber Riley as Audrey II, Kevin Chamberlin as Mr. Mushnik and Matthew Wilkas as Orin.[49][50] The Late Late Show with James Corden featured Salazar and Rodriguez as musical guests on October 1, 2019, singing "Suddenly Seymour."[51]

Audrey II puppets

The character of Audrey II is described as being "An anthropomorphic cross between a Venus flytrap and an avocado. It has a huge, nasty-looking pod that gains a shark-like aspect when open and snapping at food. The creature is played by a series of increasing[ly] large puppets".[52]

In productions, the first puppet is a small potted plant "less than one foot tall" held by the actor portraying Seymour.[52] He manipulates the plant himself with his hand and then sets it down, where it is moved by an unseen hand from beneath a shelf. The second puppet is slightly larger than the first and is operated by Seymour during the song "You Never Know". A fake arm in a sleeve matching Seymour's jacket is attached to the plant's pot, while the actor's real arm operates the plant. The third puppet sits on the floor and is large enough to hide a person inside, who moves the plant's mouth in sync with Audrey II's voice, which is supplied by an offstage actor on a microphone. The puppeteer's legs are clad in green tights with "leaf" shoes that serve as part of the plant's tendrils. In Act II, the largest puppet again hides an actor inside, who manipulates the puppet's mouth and often some of its branches. By this point, the head is at least six feet long and capable of "swallowing" characters. For the finale, additions can be made to make the plant appear taller and even bigger.[52] Actors and stage hands are often used to move larger branches and roots, which, in the original off-Broadway production, spilled off the stage and into the audience. In some productions, dangling vines over the house enhance the effect of Audrey II menacing the audience.

Amateur productions of Little Shop of Horrors receive designs for building the puppets from MTI, as part of the rental scripts and scores, based on the original Martin P. Robinson designs. Some companies who have produced the show in the past and built their own puppets rent them out to other companies to recoup some of their construction costs.[53]

Adaptations

1986 feature film

A film version of the musical was made in 1986. Directed by Frank Oz and noted as the only film written by Howard Ashman, it starred Rick Moranis as Seymour, Ellen Greene as Audrey, Vincent Gardenia as Mr. Mushnik, Steve Martin as Orin Scrivello, DDS, and the voice of Levi Stubbs as Audrey II. Bill Murray played the small comic role of the masochist, Arthur Denton. The 1986 film follows the plot of the musical closely but omits the songs "Ya Never Know" (rewritten as "Some Fun Now," a trio for Crystal, Ronette and Chiffon), "Mushnik and Son", "Now (It's Just the Gas)", "Sudden Changes," "Closed for Renovation" and "Call Back in the Morning"; the final cut ending also omits "Finale Ultimo (Don't Feed The Plants)". Other changes include the removal of Mr. Mushnik's adoption proposition and a new ending, in which Seymour is able to save Audrey from Audrey II and then electrocutes the plant after it has destroyed the shop. Seymour and Audrey marry and move to the tract home of her dreams, but a small Audrey II-type bud is seen in their garden, which portends a possible spread of the alien plants. An ending more faithful to the stage version was filmed, in which the plant eats Audrey and Seymour and then, having grown to massive size and reproduced, goes on a King Kong-style rampage through New York City. It was received poorly by test audiences, and the upbeat alternate ending was used for the theatrical cut. In October 2012, the original ending was restored and released with the film as "The Director's Cut" on DVD and Blu-ray. A new song for Audrey II, "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space", was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Planned feature film

A remake of the musical for feature film is planned by Warner Bros. Pictures, with Greg Berlanti directing. Billy Porter has been cast as the voice of Audrey II.[54]

Awards and nominations

Award nominations for the original Off-Broadway production
Year Award Category Nominee Result
1983 Drama Desk Awards[55] Outstanding Musical Won
Outstanding Actress a Musical Ellen Greene Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor a Musical Franc Luz Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Howard Ashman Nominated
Outstanding Music Alan Menken Nominated
Outstanding Lyrics Howard Ashman Won
Outer Critics Circle Awards[56] Best Off-Broadway Musical Won
Best Score Alan Menken and Howard Ashman Won
New York Drama Critics' Circle Award[57] Best Musical Won
Award nominations for the original West End production
Year Award Category Nominee Result
1983 Laurence Olivier Awards[58] Musical of the Year Nominated
Actress of the Year in a Musical Ellen Greene Nominated
Award nominations for the original Broadway production
Year Award Category Nominee Result
2004 Tony Awards[59] Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Hunter Foster Nominated
Drama Desk Awards[59] Outstanding Actor in a Musical Hunter Foster Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards[60] Outstanding Revival of a Musical Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Hunter Foster Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Kerry Butler Nominated
Award nominations for the 2007 West End revival
Year Award Category Nominee Result
2008 Laurence Olivier Awards[32] Best Musical Revival Nominated
Actress of the Year in a Musical Sheridan Smith Nominated
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical Alistair McGowan Nominated
Award nominations for the 2019 Off-Broadway revival
Year Award Category Nominee Result
2020 Lucille Lortel Awards[61] Outstanding Revival Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical Jonathan Groff Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Christian Borle Won
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Ari Groover Nominated
Drama Desk Awards[62] Outstanding Revival of a Musical Won
Outstanding Actress a Musical Tammy Blanchard Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor a Musical Christian Borle Won
Outstanding Scenic Design of a Musical Julian Crouch Nominated
Drama League Awards[63] Outstanding Revival of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Won
Distinguished Performance Award Christian Borle Nominated
Jonathan Groff Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards[64] Outstanding Revival of a Musical Honoree
Outstanding Director of a Musical Michael Mayer Honoree
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Jonathan Groff Honoree
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Christian Borle Honoree

Notes

  1. ^ TIME magazine reported in its May 26, 2008 issue, p. 51, that this musical ranked as the most frequently produced musical by U.S. high schools in 2007.
  2. ^ "Theater: Little Shop of Horrors" Archived 2015-02-09 at the Wayback Machine, Howard Ashman website, accessed April 21, 2014
  3. ^ "Lortel Archive for Little Shop of Horrors". Lortel Archives. Archived from the original on 2007-06-08. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  4. ^ a b Ashman, Howard. Introductory notes, Little Shop of Horrors acting edition (1982)
  5. ^ Sedore, Clair. "Long Runs in the Theatre" Archived 2010-04-02 at the Wayback Machine, World-theatres.com. Retrieved on April 20, 2008.
  6. ^ Gordon, James. "Plymouth-Whitemarsh: ‘Little Shop of Horrors’", philly.com, 30 March 2009, Accessed 13 August 2009
  7. ^ a b Pogrebin, Robin (2003-10-20). "The Show That Ate the Original Cast". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  8. ^ castalbumscollector.com listing
  9. ^ "Production of Little Shop of Horrors | Theatricalia". theatricalia.com. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  10. ^ "Little Shop of Horrors the musical on stage in London through to 22 September 2018". www.thisistheatre.com. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  11. ^ Lewis, David. "Little Shop of Horrors", The Guide to Musical Theatre
  12. ^ "History and Awards" Archived June 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Lyric Opera musicals site
  13. ^ "Museum of Performing Arts WA". www.mopa.ptt.wa.gov.au. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  14. ^ "AusStage - Little Shop of Horrors". www.ausstage.edu.au. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
  15. ^ Radic, Leonard (February 28, 1985). "Plant steals the show". The Age. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  16. ^ Czarnecki, Mark. "The plant that ate New York", Maclean's, July 1, 1985, accessed May 23, 2020
  17. ^ Jensen, Marc. "Feed me!: Power struggles and the portrayal of race in Little Shop of Horrors", Cinema Journal 48, no. 1 (2008): 51–67
  18. ^ Leigh, Mary K., and Kevin K. Durand, eds. Marxism and the Movies: Critical Essays on Class Struggle in the Cinema. McFarland, 2013
  19. ^ Gans, Andrew (2003-05-16). "Florida Engagement of Little Shop of Horrors Opens May 16". Playbill. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  20. ^ "Did FL Critics Eat Up B'way-Bound Little Shop?". Broadway.com. 2003-05-20. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  21. ^ Simonson, Robert (2003-06-02). "Little Shop of Horrors Cancels Broadway Engagement". Playbill. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  22. ^ a b Gans, Andrew (2003-07-14). "Complete Casting Announced for Broadway's Little Shop of Horrors". Playbill. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  23. ^ a b Gans, Andrew (2003-08-13). "Little Shop of Horrors Cast Previews Broadway Revival". Playbill. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  24. ^ a b Suskin, Steven (2003-11-16). "On the Record: Little Shop, Albertine and Zanna". Playbill. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  25. ^ Finn, Robin (2003-10-14). "Public Lives; A Hot, Sweaty Job in a Plant, Eating People". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  26. ^ a b Jones, Kenneth (2003-09-03). "Little Shop Cast Album Due Oct. 21, With Bonus Tracks". Playbill. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  27. ^ Phares, Heather. "Little Shop of Horrors (New Broadway Cast Recording)", Allmusic.com, accessed June 13, 2014
  28. ^ a b Gans, Andrew (2004-08-22). "Broadway's Little Shop of Horrors Closes Its Doors Aug. 22". Playbill. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  29. ^ Hernandez, Ernio and Andrew Gans. "Anthony Rapp is Suddenly Seymour as Little Shop of Horrors Starts in Los Angeles, Aug. 24", Playbill, August 24, 2004, accessed October 11, 2016
  30. ^ a b Nathan, John (2007-08-16). "London's Little Shop of Horrors to Close in September". Playbill. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  31. ^ "Little Shop of Horrors", This Is Theatre, 10 November 2008
  32. ^ a b 2008 Olivier Award nominations
  33. ^ Roberts, John. "Little Shop of Horrors – Theatre Royal Brighton," February 17, 2009
  34. ^ Viagas, Robert. "The Verdict. Reviews for Encores! 'Little Shop of Horrors'", Playbill.com, July 2, 2015
  35. ^ Brantley, Ben. "Review: Jake Gyllenhaal Sings in Little Shop of Horrors", The New York Times, July 2, 2015
  36. ^ Official Australian tour website, LittleShopTour.com.au, accessed August 24, 2017
  37. ^ "2016 – Nominations and Winners", Sydney Theatre Awards, accessed August 24, 2017
  38. ^ "Past nominees and winners: 2016", HelpmannAwards.com, accessed 27 August 2017
  39. ^ Tongue, Cassie. "Little Shop of Horrors review – black comedy triumph thrusts cult classic into contemporary Australia", The Guardian, February 24, 2016
  40. ^ Hewis, Ben. "In rehearsals with Rhydian and the cast of Little Shop of Horrors", Whatsonstage.com, 29 July 2016; and Hewis, Ben. "Review: Little Shop of Horrors (New Wimbledon Theatre)", Whatsonstage.com, 24 August 2016, accessed May 31, 2019
  41. ^ Little Shop of Horrors, LittleshopUKtour.com, accessed September 16, 2016
  42. ^ Little Shop of Horrors, OpenAirTheatre.com, accessed April 19, 2018
  43. ^ "Jemima Rooper, Marc Antolin and Matt Willis cast in Little Shop of Horrors at Regent's Park". The Stage. April 26, 2018. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  44. ^ Cavendish, Dominic. "Little Shop of Horrors, Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park review: a bellyful of fun but not enough bite", The Telegraph, August 12, 2018
  45. ^ McPhee, Ryan (July 22, 2019). "Jonathan Groff, Tammy Blanchard, Christian Borle to Headline Little Shop of Horrors Revival". Playbill. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  46. ^ Clement, Olivia (September 17, 2019). "Little Shop of Horrors Returns Off-Broadway Starring Jonathan Groff, Tammy Blanchard, Christian Borle". Playbill.
  47. ^ Clement, Olivia. "MTC Cancels Spring Offerings, NYTW Postpones Three Sisters, and More—How NYC's Coronavirus Restrictions Impacts Off-Broadway Houses", Playbill, March 23, 2020
  48. ^ "Current Productions", Westside Theatre, accessed April 3, 2020
  49. ^ "Little Shop of Horrors". Pasadena Playhouse. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  50. ^ "Review: 'Little Shop of Horrors' at Pasadena Playhouse finds humanity amid the musical camp". Los Angeles Times. 2019-09-27. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  51. ^ "Mj Rodriguez & George Salazar: Suddenly Seymour". Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  52. ^ a b c Music Theatre International. ""Little Shop of Horrors", Casting – Character Breakdown". Retrieved 25 December 2008.
  53. ^ See, for example, "Prattsburgh Central School, Audrey II Rental"
  54. ^ Kit, Borys (February 24, 2020). "Chris Evans in Talks to Star in Greg Berlanti's 'Little Shop of Horrors'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  55. ^ "Little Shop of Horrors", DramaDesk.org, accessed July 29, 2020
  56. ^ "1982-1983 Outer Critics Circle Awards". Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  57. ^ "New York Drama Critics' Circle Past Awards". Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  58. ^ "Society of West End Theatre Awards 1983", WestEndTheatre.com, accessed July 29, 2020
  59. ^ a b "Little Shop of Horrors – 2004 Awards", Internet Broadway database, accessed July 29, 2020
  60. ^ "2003-2004 Outer Critics Circle Awards". Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  61. ^ "2020 Lucille Lortel Awards". Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  62. ^ "2020 Drama Desk Awards announced", TheatreCriticism.com, accessed July 29, 2020
  63. ^ Olivia Clement (May 1, 2020). "Adrienne Warren, Danny Burstein, and Danielle Brooks Among 2020 Drama League Award Nominees". Playbill. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  64. ^ Olivia Clement (May 11, 2020). "Moulin Rouge! Leads 2020 Outer Critics Circle Award Honorees". Playbill. Retrieved May 12, 2020.

References

  • Ganzl, Kurt. The Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre: 2nd Edition. Schirmer Books, 2001
  • Kennedy P., Michael & John Muir. Musicals. Harper Collins Publishers, 1997.

External links

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