Murder, music and a flower shop

Death has a way of making people laugh, dance and sing – at least, that’s what will be happening in the Department of Theatre and Dance and the Department of Music’s joint production of “Little Shop of Horrors” this weekend.

“[It] has a lot of fun elements, plants that eat people and murderers,” said Elizabeth Kitsos-Kang, the director of the musical production.

The show, based on the low budget, black comedy film from 1960, centers around a mysterious plant that talks and drinks blood at a little flower shop in the fictional urban area of Skid Row. Living off the fame and success that it has brought him, Seymour Krelborn, played by senior Ryan Dring, must find a way to sustain the plant without causing too much destruction to himself.

“He’s open and lovable, and never really means any harm,” Dring said of the protagonist’s motives.

One of the people he loves is Audrey, a lively and vivacious woman who falls for bad boys but dreams of a suburban life with Seymour.

“Audrey’s body is her confidence,” said Melissa Ventre, the senior responsible for bringing the blonde bombshell character to life. “And she has a past that everyone can relate to.”

The production is a first for the department, as it was chosen by a newly formed committee of theatre students and faculty to be a part of the fall main stage season. The play, which has had wide-spread success on Broadway and in a second film version, is the most recognizable musical that the Betts Theatre has put on in recent years.

Scout Seide, a senior who choreographed the production, said that she is excited about the prospect of finally selling out a show that the cast and production team has put time, energy and ambition into.

“I had to do a lot of researching, delving into the dance styles of the 1950s and 60s,” said Seide, who also choreographed last year’s production of “The Three-Penny Opera.”

Her research is evident in the movement of the “du wop” girls, played by Lorna Mulvaney, Sophia Carter and Elyse Steingold. The three women act as both narrators and comedic relief in the production, with costume changes and one-liners galore.

“This is going to be a big show,” said Seide.

Another life-size aspect of the production is the actual plant, which was brought to life by the puppeteer work of sophomore Blake Eisenberg.

“I sat through all rehearsals mouthing the words before the plant costume was ordered,” said Eisenberg of the physical preparation done to get ready for the show.

Over the course of the performance the audience will witness the plant come to life, grow and cause mischief in the shop.

With opening night on Thursday, many members of the cast are excited and thanked professor Kitsos-Kang for bringing a spark of energy to the production.

“She is the best director I have had at GW, and I’ve told her that,” said David Cutting, a senior who provides the baritone voice of the carnivorous plant.

Greg Magee, who plays the flower shop’s old Jewish owner, Mr. Mushnik, agreed.

“[Elizabeth] has a surprising youthfulness, but is also really professional,” he said.

“Little Shop of Horrors” will run from Oct. 29 to 31 at 7:30 p.m., and on Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. in the Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre in the Marvin Center. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for general admission.

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