A musical about a man-eating plant? How could that not be entertaining? Well that is exactly what is in store as Little Shop of Horrors will be produced as the opening show of Peoria Players 104th season. It’s been many years since the show has been produced by adults in the Peoria area, and director Bryan Blanks jumped at the chance to do this show. “Due to my schedule, I don’t always get the chance to direct during the school year, but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to direct a show that I’ve loved since I was a kid.” Many audience members know Little Shop of Horrors due to the film adaptation starring Rick Moranis, and for many performers of color, it was refreshing to see black actresses in featured roles on the big screen. “The Urchins trio is what drew me into Little Shop of Horrors the most. Their vocal styling, their dancing…I couldn’t get enough of it. I would do the moves with them as I watched the movie over and over as a kid.” Speaking of our Urchins, Peoria Players is proud to have Michelle Watson, Anita Foster and Juanita Williams return to the stage as they round out the trio for this production. The show is also led by Deric Kimler as Seymour and Kelly Kooken-Nehls as Audrey. The show will also feature newcomers Caden Mills as the Dentist and Chris Ennis as Mushnik. The voice of the plant will be played by Treyvon Campbell, with Kayla Harvey as the Skid Row Vagrant.
The show is cast in a similar fashion to the original Off-Broadway production written by Howard Ashman with music by Alan Menken, who brought us the score to The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. Menken and Ashman were very clear in the fact that this story was intended to be told with a very small intimate cast. “Little Shop is strange, it is funny, but it also has so much heart, and I think this unique combination of qualities coupled with an amazing score, is why audiences love it so much. I’m truly humbled to be working with this talented cast and crew with Music Direction by Dedra Kaiser.” Tickets for Little Shop can be purchased online at peoriaplayers.org or by phone at 309-688-4473. Performances include September 9-11 and 15-18. Little Shop of Horrors is sponsored by Essential Wellness Pharmacy, Brown Animal Hospital, Janice Harvey and Rachel Mitchell.