Little Shop of Horrors Had Audiences On Their Feet

by Danny Leder, Staff Writer

Though the GRHS Theater Company’s “Little Shop of Horrors” only ran from Feb. 9-11, audience members find themselves still humming along to the tunes of “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Suddenly, Seymour.” The cast performances and elaborate set along with the innovative plant design had the audience’s jumping to their feet with applause. The cast featured Oliver Hegyi as the titular Seymour; Fia Fusco as Audrey; Kira Joe as the diabolical plant, Audrey II, brought to life; Christian Schwarzbek as flower shop owner Mr. Mushnik; and Vivaan Motwani as evil Orin the dentist. “Each character has something really fun and unique about them,” Fusco said. “Each night you get to make it your own and a little different just to have some fun with it.” Besides the vocal performances and ensemble dances, a standout aspect of the show was the set, which transported the characters from the streets of Skid Row to inside the flower shop to a dental office. The props team had a unique approach to showcasing Audrey II. “One of the coolest changes we made [to the show] was to have the plant actually be a person on stage,” said choreographer and costume designer, Mrs. Lilikas. “Typically the plant is a puppet that is operated by crew members. However, we decided that we wanted Kira to be on stage and kind of be the spirit of the plant.” Designing four separate Audrey II props (called “pods” by the crew) was a complex undertaking. Each pod was increasingly more complicated: venus flytraps that began as a small hand puppet, to a larger hand puppet, then a plant large enough for Kira to stand inside with a movable mouth, culminating in an even larger fourth pod with lights and movable doors to show Audrey II eating her victims. The creation of the plants was difficult as senior Lorelei George on stage crew pointed out. “It was very much trial and error,” shared George. “We had an original pod three and then our director [Christopher Barker] wanted to add more to it so we had to restart . . . repaint everything, then we had to paper mache to get texture.” Mr. Helder served as musical director, and together he and Mrs. Lilikas helped the cast hone their voices and moves during practices that ran two to three hours long, and ran up to six hours leading up to the show.