Susan Kessler invited Historic City News readers to attend a FloArts presentation of the musical “Little Shop of Horrors”.
If strange plants are your passion, the flower business is booming at Florida School of the Arts as faculty and students serve up a little sci-fi for Off-Broadway lovers to digest.
FloArts will present Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s comical, yet chilling, musical “Little Shop of Horrors” February 25-27 at 7:30 p.m. and February 28 at 2:30 p.m. on the FloArts Main Stage Theatre at the St. Johns River Community College Palatka campus. Admission is $5.
Audience members will be tapping their feet to live music with a ′50s rock ‘n’ roll/Motown flair as Seymour, the nerdy floral assistant, becomes a local celebrity upon discovering an exotic plant. The plant (Audrey II) offers Seymour fame and fortune in return for its mysterious craving for fresh blood and quickly grows into an ill-tempered, singing carnivore.
FloArts professor and play director Ed Kelly said the play is unique in the realm of musical comedies since most musicals are not portrayed as dark comedies. “We’re having fun with this one,” Kelly said. “When’s the last time you’ve heard of someone being eaten by a singing plant?” Kelly does warn that audience members may find some language and scenes objectionable and sinister; however, the spirit of the play remains comic, nonetheless.
The cast list includes Tyler Humphrey as Seymour, Alejandro Rodriguez as Orin, Paul Hambidge as Audrey II, Tara Reid as Audrey, Ashley Schoendorf as Crystal, Mandi Connor as Chiffon, Osmary Nieves as Ronnette, Zach Flax as Mushnik, Matt McLachlan as Bernstein, Greg Baker as Snip, Jamie Jones as Luce, Jeff Sadler and Jessica Bishop as customers, Kelsey Donegan as the wino, Zack Gurnavage as Martin and Kasey Sollenberger as an agent.
The fun continues with choreography and costumes reflecting the same ′50s era. Costume design student Steven Mignone said his goal in designing the costumes was to convey the characters’ personalities and lifestyles. “The musical is an off-beat and almost kooky play, which helped me figure out prints, colors and textures of all the characters and develop the community of Skid Row,” Mignone said.
“While stylized, I believe all the wardrobe choices should be historically rooted in order to not distract from the suspension of disbelief already associated with a play centered around a man-eating plant. I also relied on color association to further highlight the characteristics of each player in the story.”
Additional costume students include Samantha Reyes, Angi Pasco, Andy Jean Mary, Arlene Felipe and Maria Mignone. The stage manager is Alex Hernandez. Assistant directors are Breanna Arneson and Jany Bacallao. Production assistants are Patrick Taylor, Daniel Vargas and Gina Tomacchio.
Scenic design instructor Robert O’Leary said the design of the play capitalizes on the campiness of the Saturday monster movie tradition of years past. “The set is stylized with an old ′50s comic book perspective of our skid row – that part of “everycity Americana” on the bad side of the tracks,” he said. “The plant/monster designs are both scary and silly in menacing ways as we play upon the impossible – or not so impossible – idea of an alien plant invasion.”
O’Leary added that the plant (Audrey II) experiences four stages of growth, ending as a 120-pound giant capable of devouring the actors in one bite.
The scenic design students include Bryan Sellers, lighting design; Jordan Vera, sound design and engineer; Mark Exline, paint charge; Jessica Snyder, scenic artist; Rebecca Hamilton, properties master; Alex Hernandez and Jordan Vera, properties construction; Devin Satabe, master carpenter, special effects and vine rigging; Michael Norton, Mark Exline and Devin Satabe, Audrey II puppeteers; Jessica Snyder, light board operator; and Jordan Vera, sound board operator.
Florida School of the Arts is Florida’s first state-supported professional arts school that serves the entire state of Florida and awards the two-year associate degree. FloArts is located on the SJRCC Palatka campus. For more information, call 386-312-4300