Photo courtesy of Debe TigheIn 2nd Star Productions’ “Little Shop of Horrors,” Audrey (Hannah Thornhill) and Seymour (Nathan Bowen) must combat a monstrous plant with a taste for blood. The musical comedy runs September 27 – October 26 at the Bowie Playhouse.
“Little Shop Of Horrors” Sinks Its Fangs Into Bowie Playhouse For Halloween Season
What’s green, mean and coming to a playhouse near you? It’s the terrifying man-eating plant, Audrey II, and she’s hungry for the attention of local theatergoers.
Just in time for the Halloween season, Second Star Productions will open the ever-popular musical comedy “Little Shop of Horrors” for a run from September 27 through October 26 at the Bowie Playhouse, and under the guidance of company artistic director Jane Wingard, the production looks to capture all the spooky fun that has made the show an audience favorite for decades.
Spoofing the science fiction/horror films of the 1950s, “Little Shop” tells the story of nerdy florist Seymour, who discovers a rare and interesting plant with a taste for blood. Although the vegetable’s gory appetite seems harmless at first, Seymour quickly must meet its demand for fresh fluid – and his once beloved little crossbreed quickly grows to become his worst enemy.
“It’s a little spooky, but it’s not going to terrorize kids,” Wingard said of the show’s campy storyline. “It’s fun. It’s such a fun show.”
A cast of highly experienced area stars appear in the cast, including Nathan Bowen as mild-mannered Seymour, Hannah Thornhill as flighty blonde Audrey, Gary Seddon as florist shop owner Mr. Mushnick and Dean Davis as the maniacal dentist Orin. According to Wingard, the talented ensemble has brought wonderful creativity to the show, which has made it an exciting project to direct.
“I love what they’ve done with their characters,” the director described. “As far as I’m concerned, the secret to a good show is getting the right cast, and we have a fabulous cast.” As the director, she has hardly micromanaged her actors, instead allowing their remarkable energy and smart choices to drive the rehearsals, and she has seen them develop wonderful scenes.
A highlight to “Little Shop” is the sumptuous arrangement of songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (the same team behind Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin”), and music director Joe Biddle has the vocalists delivering the popular tunes – with their touches of pop, rock and roll, doo-wop and Motown – to full vibrancy. Wingard noted that “Suddenly Seymour,” the show-stopping duet to be sung by Bowen and Thornhill, will be a highlight, as will ensemble numbers, such as “Skid Row,” which will benefit from the expanded chorus.
Now that rehearsals are in full bloom and looking beautiful, Wingard eagerly awaits seeing the production come together with visual elements and technical effects. The set and stage properties, modeled after the design of the Broadway production, incorporate professional puppets shipped from California especially for the show. Experienced puppeteer Steve Hudgins, who worked on Ford’s Theatre’s “Little Shop” in D.C., has given animated life to the show’s bad guy – the bloodthirsty plant – and will have the vined villain putting on a lively show as it leers, intimidates and bullies the characters, not to mention performs its own musical numbers, including “Feed Me” and “Suppertime.”
With high quality in all aspects of its horticultural, “Little Shop of Horrors” by 2nd Star Productions performs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from September 27 through October 26 at the Bowie Playhouse. For times and ticket information, visit www.2ndstarproductions.com. To combat cuts to its season due to outside circumstance, 2nd Star Productions has planned a fundraiser gala to promote the company and thank its loyal fans. Planned for Sunday, October 6, at 7:00pm, the special event will include a light buffet, dessert and a revue-style performance. Visit the website for details as they develop.