‘Little Shop’ parallels today’s society

The play "Little Shop of Horrors" with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and based on 1960 movie by Roger Corman, first appeared off-Broadway in 1982 and later as a movie in 1986. Now it has been brought to the University of La Verne by the Department of Theater Arts. Sara Kirk, Derek Wendt and Nathan Lahr play Audrey, Seymour and Mr. Mushnik. In the first act, Seymour presents his plant Audrey II to Audrey and Mr. Mushnik for the first time. / photo by Manuel Hernandez
The play “Little Shop of Horrors” with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and based on 1960 movie by Roger Corman, first appeared off-Broadway in 1982 and later as a movie in 1986. Now it has been brought to the University of La Verne by the Department of Theater Arts. Sara Kirk, Derek Wendt and Nathan Lahr play Audrey, Seymour and Mr. Mushnik. In the first act, Seymour presents his plant Audrey II to Audrey and Mr. Mushnik for the first time. / photo by Manuel Hernandez

by Melissa Lau
Staff Writer

The story of “Little Shop of Horrors” takes place in a flower shop on Skid Row in which a floral assistant, Seymour, discovers a singing plant, and then falls in love with his assistant Audrey. The plant’s growing desire for food, or human blood, is the main theme of the musical, and its desire continues to increase throughout the play.

David Flaten, Theatre Arts Department chair, compared the play to the greed in society today, particularly to the Enron scandal.

“We don’t see our own culture feeding on itself,” said Flaten. “We’re feeding the monster of fear. The plant feeds off of everyone’s fantasies-it amplifies their worst qualities as well as their best.”

The ULV run of “Little Shop” began last night on the main stage of Dailey Theatre.

The cast of 23 consists of students in the performance class from January Interterm.

The students’ majors of range from theater to criminology, to liberal studies and also music.

Flaten, who is one of the directors for “Little Shop of Horrors”, described the play as “a musical comedy full of good songs, dancing, humor, and rich musical talent.”

For freshman liberal studies major Sarah Morales, this was a first.

“It was a great experience,” said Morales who plays Mrs. Luce. “It was all fun.”

Scott Farthing, assistant professor of music, is the musical director and pianist for the musical.

“The music is like a parody of ’50s music. That’s what makes it different. The music drives the characters, the plot and the scene,” he said.

Planning for the play began in October.

This play has not only brought about challenge and diversity to its crew members, but has also initiated the beginning of a relationship between the ULV theater and music departments.

“Students should see it so they can see what their tuition money is going towards,” Junior music major Derek Wendt, who play Seymour, explained. “I want them to see the fruit of our labor. I want them to see that there’s still music here, that there’s still theater here,” he said.

In addition to all the fun that the crew members described, “Little Shop” also took a great amount of time and effort. Participants in the play had to attend three hours of nightly rehearsals in addition to starting their spring classes. Students who had never before acted or sung had to learn how to do so. Almost all of this was done within a time span of one month.

The director explained that the ending of the play is different from the ending of the movie. Also, the set has an original design created by scenic, lighting and plant designer Elizabeth Pietrzak.

“Little Shop of Horrors” is one of the longest-running off-Broadway shows.

The 1960 film was created by Roger Corman, and the screenplay was written by Charles Griffith.

The play by Howard Ashman with music by Alan Menken won four awards, all in the Best Musical category. This play was originally based on the 1960 film.

General admission is $10, while admission for faculty, students and seniors is $5.

Matinee shows start at 2 p.m. on Feb. 16 and 17. Performances at 7:30 p.m. will be held on Feb. 16, 21, 22 and 23.

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