Kansas City Repertory Theatre, under the artistic leadership of Eric Rosen, closes its 2011-12 season with a professional production of the popular musical Little Shop of Horrors; book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken, based on the film by Roger Corman, screenplay by Charles Griffith. Kyle Hatley directs. Little Shop of Horrors runs now through May 20 at the Rep's Copaken Stage. See photos from the production below!
Music, monsters and mayhem set the stage for Seymour Krelborn, a hapless florist searching for love. Aided by a gigantic plant with an insatiable appetite for human blood, Seymour hopes to win the heart of his secret love, Audrey. With music reminiscent of 1960s Motown and true to its original roots - Roger Corman's 1960s black comedy film - Little Shop of Horrors is a love story about what happens when botany goes horribly wrong. Set in the intimate Copaken Stage in downtown Kansas City's Power & Light District, Little Shop of Horrors promises to become a Kansas City cult favorite.
Hatley, who is the Rep's associate artistic director, has also directed the theatre's productions of Circle Mirror Transformation, A Christmas Carol (2010, 2011), The Borderland and Nathan Louis Jackson's Broke-ology, and he has acted in the Rep's critically acclaimed The Whipping
Man and The Glass Menagerie. He is a noted writer and director who has created original work for the Kansas City Fringe Festival and other theatres, and he is artistic director and co-founder of Chatterbox Audio Theater, www.chatterboxtheater.org. Hatley was selected Best Director in 2009 by the Pitch and he was named a Charlotte Street Foundation Generative Artist in 2011.
Michael James Leslie is a casting coup for the Rep. He will provide the voice of the blood-thirsty plant Audrey II. Leslie took on the same role in the 2003 Broadway revival and national tour of Little Shop of Horrors. This is the first time he has played Audrey II for a regional theatre production. His other New York credits include the Broadway revival of Hair, The Wiz, Senator Joe, Romance in Hard Times, Mowgli and American Heroes.
The cast also includes Ashley Blanchet as Audrey (Memphis at New York's Shubert Theatre); Nick Cordero as Orin (original cast of The Toxic Avenger Musical, Man of Rock at New York Musical Theatre Festival; national tour of Rock of Ages; Showtime's "Queer as Folk"); Gary Neal Johnson as Mushnik (August: Osage County, Cabaret, Bus Stop, A Christmas Carol, King Lear and Give ‘Em Hell, Harry - KC Rep; The Voysey Inheritance - KC Rep and American Conservatory Theater; King Lear - Goodman Theatre and Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.; and Much Ado about Nothing and The Merchant of Venice - Utah Shakespeare Festival); and Joseph Medeiros as Seymour (2009 Broadway revival of Guy and Dolls, original cast of Big, The Blue Flower and Yank, all in New York).
A Greek chorus of Motown-inspired Doo Wop girls will be played by Kansas City favorites Eboni Fondren as Ronette (The Blue Room, Jardine's, Kansas City Jazz and Blues Festival); Coleen Grate as Chiffon (Cabaret at KC Rep); and Jennie Greenberry as Crystal (A Christmas Carol, A Christmas Story, The Musical! at KC Rep).
The design team includes KC Rep veteran designers Meghan Raham, Scenic and Costume Design (KC Rep: Circle Mirror Transformation, Broke-ology, Clay-also Lincoln Center Theater LCT3, world premiere of Venice-also Center Theatre Group; Joshua Horvath, Sound Design (KC Rep: Trip to Bountiful, Clay-also Lincoln Center Theater LCT3, Winesburg, Ohio, Around the World in 80 Days, Saved, Broke-ology-also Lincoln Center Theater LCT3, world premiere of Venice-also Center Theatre Group); and Jason Lyons, Lighting Design (KC Rep: A Christmas Story, the Musical!, A Flea in Her Ear, Clay-also Lincoln Center Theater LCT3 and 2009 Drama Desk Award nomination, Broadway: Rock of Ages, The Threepenny Opera, Barefoot in the Park). Production Stage Manager is Mary R. Honour (KC Rep: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer-also New Victory Theater NY; Peer Gynt-also La Jolla Playhouse; David Cale's The History of Kisses). Nick Uthoff is the puppeteer who will operate from inside Audrey II, which was engineered and built by the Rep's props artisan Grace Hudson.
Little Shop of Horrors runs April 20 - May 20 at the Rep's Copaken Stage located downtown at 13th and Walnut streets. Tickets cost $20-$75; youth tickets are $20. For information about performance times and ticket options, call the Rep Box Office at 816-235-2700 or visit www.KCRep.org. For group ticket information and sales, please contact Group Sales at 816-235-6122.
Photo credit: Don Ipock
Colleen Grate (Chiffon), Jennie Greenberry (Crystal), Eboni Fondren (Ronette)
Colleen Grate, Ashley Blanchet (Audrey), Eboni Fondren, Jennie Greenberry
Joe Medeiros (Seymour)
Gary Neal Johnson (Mushnik)
Joe Medeiros and Ashley Blanchet
Nick Cordero (Orin) and Joe Medeiros