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Horrors! Kaleidoscope Theatre’s 40th Season Opens

Story by Sherry Londe
July 22, 2010 Issue

After 15 years, the much-loved and quirky musical Little Shop of Horrors will once again grace the Kaleidoscope Theatre stage in Lynn Haven. The work was part of the theater’s 25th anniversary line-up and has been chosen by audience voters to be part of Kaleidoscope’s 40th Ruby Review Season.

The show itself has quite a history. Originally a low-budget dark comedy film directed by Roger Corman in 1960, it moved to the stage as a musical in 1982 and was adapted back into film—also as a musical—in 1986. This time around at Kaleidoscope, Little Shop is directed by Ray H. Stanley and features Jason Blanks as Seymour and Amy Dobbert as Audrey. Highlighting the doo-wop and early Motown sound of the show will be a live band under the direction of Barbara Monachelli. This winning combination is not to be missed.

Director Stanley enjoys the “campiness and heightened emotional atmosphere of the piece. This show has the largest cast and most elaborate set of our season. I believe it is important to keep a writer’s work pretty much as is, but I took the liberty of changing the voice of Audrey II.” The blood thirsty and ever-growing plant, a series of puppets, will have the voice of a Memphis blues-styled musician Doug Gilliland rather than the customary gospel sound.

During auditions, Stanley was delighted to find three high school aged thespians to play the urchins/narrators who guide audiencesthrough the story and, when needed, cleverly convert themselves into back-up singers. Blanks, who plays the nebbish Seymour Krelborn, enjoys the “ensemble feel of this show where everyone gets their moments on stage. The real time of the here-and-now in live theater, as opposed to film, makes the fact that everyone gets eaten more palatable. The theater goes dark, there is applause, and the cast takes a bow. All the dying is forgotten.”

It is a tradition for Kaleidoscope to offer an opening night complimentary wine and cheese reception where audiences can mingle with the cast and crew. Throughout the run of Little Shop of Horrors patrons may continue to purchase season tickets or prepay for other upcoming shows.

This is definitely one of those performances where you walk away singing one of several popular tunes. But the next time you find yourself inside a flower shop and are asked to water a plant, beware…

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