Little Shop Of Horrors, Under the Stars at Festival Amphitheater
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The last date listed for Little Shop Of Horrors was Sunday October 8, 2006 / 7:00pm.
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Little Shop of Horrors is a 1982 adaptation of The Little Shop of Horrors by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman, who later went on to write songs for Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.
The musical had its world premiere on May 6, 1982 at the WPA Theatre. It opened off-Broadway at the Orpheum Theatre on July 27, 1982. This original production, directed by Ashman, was critically acclaimed and won several awards including the 1982-1983 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award and the London Evening Standard Award for Best Musical. When it closed, after 2,209 performances, it was the third-longest running musical and the highest-grossing production in off-Broadway history.
The musical score, composed by Menken in the style of 1960’s rock and roll, doo-wop and early Motown, included several show-stoppers including “Skid Row (Downtown),” “Somewhere That’s Green,” and “Suddenly Seymour,” as well as the title song. Four songs were deleted during the show’s early development process: “A Little Dental Music”, “The Worse He Treats Me”, “We’ll Have Tomorrow”, and “I Found A Hobby”. These songs were recorded as bonus material for the 2003 Broadway Original Cast Recording, but were not part of the actual production.
The musical is faithful to the comic tone of the film, although it makes a few slight changes to the story. The setting is moved from Skid Row in Los Angeles to Skid Row in New York. Seymour’s hypochondriac Jewish mother is omitted and Seymour becomes an orphan. Also dropped is the subplot involving the two investigating cops as well as the character of the gleefully masochistic dental patient (played in the original film by Jack Nicholson). Also, the role of the sadistic dentist is killed off from laughing gas instead of being stabbed with a dental instrument. The musical does introduce three new characters: a Greek chorus of female black street urchins named Crystal, Chiffon and Ronnette, named after famous 1960s girl groups. The evil plant, now called Audrey II, has been changed from a strange breed of Venus Fly Trap to a creature from outer space. It was brought to life through a series of elaborate puppets, some of which were life-sized.
In addition to the off-Broadway production, the musical has been performed all over the world including productions in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hungary, Spain, and Germany. Because of its small cast and relatively simple orchestrations, it has recently become popular with community theatre and high school groups.
An original cast recording, released in 1982, omits the songs “Call Back in the Morning”, and “Somewhere That’s Green (Reprise)”, as well as the underscoring and incidental music “WSKID,” “Entr’acte” and “Bigger Than Hula-Hoops,” and only had abridged versions of “Mushnik and Son,” and “Meek Shall Inherit.” This recording features Leilani Jones, who replaced Marlene Danielle as Chiffon two weeks after the musical opened.