Festival opened their season with Little Shop of Horrors, directed by Festival’s Artistic Director, Jaclyn Johnson. Johnson has directed many shows at Festival and the last musical she directed was Crazy for You in 2013. “Jackie does an amazing job with casting and she really understands what our audiences will love. She always delivers a show that we are all proud of and everyone will enjoy,” says Pamela Fuchs-Vlasnik, General Manager.
One of the world’s most popular musicals, Little Shop of Horrors has been devouring the hearts of audiences for more than thirty years. Successful both as a Broadway and Hollywood box office smash, Little Shop of Horrors features dynamic music, tongue-in-cheek comedy, and sci-fi excitement from beginning to end.
“Festival Theatre has been doing a musical production each summer since Once Upon a Mattress in 2011,” says Seth Kaltwasser, returning Guest Artist and former Development Director of Festival. “This is my first year performing in the cast; I enjoyed the others from an audience perspective, and each year I was impressed by how the theatre continued to expand its capacities as a venue for musical theatre. The performers - both on stage and in the pit band - are marvelous and the designs are always appropriately fun and dynamic. I'm excited to finally partake as a cast member in this year's musical. Little Shop of Horrors is a classic, and our production upholds the charm of the show, but also spins a couple of fresh twists into the staging of this beloved American musical. Audiences should be prepared to see some creative surprises, and of course, hear some awfully catchy and dance-able showstoppers."
When a meek floral assistant named Seymour Krelborn, played by Seth Kaltwasser, stumbles upon a unique and previously undiscovered breed of plant, life in the struggling flower shop begins to look brighter. The trouble comes when it is discovered that the plant, which Seymour has named Audrey II after his coworker crush, requires a specific food to grow. Audrey II promises unending fame and fortune to the down and out Krelborn as long as he keeps feeding it and convinces Seymour to seek the precious plant food, blood. Quickly escalating into a “be careful what you wish for” scenario, Seymour must find a way to save himself, the plant shop, his love and the world from domination by the invading plant life.
“As with any production, the first thought is the same, 'how can we best tell this story, right now?'” says Jaclyn Johnson about the production of Little Shop of Horrors. “Our effort is never to reproduce a show our audience has seen before, but to re-imagine it, as director, designers, actors and other artists work together to decide what is the best way to share this story. Our 25th Anniversary production of Little Shop features all the building suspense and memorable characters that audiences will recall from the films and/or the production Festival produced ten years ago, and as promised there will be new ways of imagining this story, particularly with respect to the alien plant, Audrey II. Our Audrey II is comprised of an imaginative acting ensemble featuring dynamic design aspects, and as she grows stronger and larger, she coaxes audiences to play along as we enter the eerie imagination land of a 1960's sci-fi thriller.”
Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (composer of many Disney hits such as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Tangled and more) are the creative geniuses behind this delightfully twisted adventure. The music, the story and the true-to-Festival creative energy are sure to please audiences all summer long.
Tickets and flex passes can be purchased at festivaltheatre.org, by calling the box office at 715-483-3387 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Theatre tickets are $26 adults/$13.50 students ages 5-25. You can see Little Shop of Horrors this coming weekend, Thursday, June 25 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, June 27 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, June 28 at 2:00 pm. This show will be playing in rep with the comedy, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)[revised]; the drama, A Streetcar Named Desire; and the fun, Festival Theatre Conservatory for Young Performer’s, Improv for YOUth.
Festival Theatre wishes to thank everyone who participated in the 25th Anniversary party and Afterglow party: Festival’s volunteers, Festival’s board of directors, The Village Pizzeria, Manfred Schonauer from the Pipe Dream Center, Blue Candle Jazz Combo made up of the Unity Jazz Band, Dancing Dragonfly Winery, Endeavors Greenhouse, Northwoods Bakery and a special thanks goes out to St. Croix Regional Medical Center for their lead sponsorship of Little Shop.