Montreal theatre goers, be warned! You are about to be devoured by the Cote St. Luc Dramatic Society’s newest production “Little Shop of Horrors”, which is about to embark upon a 23-show run from June 8 to 25 at the Harold Greenspon Auditorium, located at 5801 Cavendish Boulevard.
“This show is like a love letter to kitschy science fiction. The music is catchy and wonderful; the lyrics are very funny,” said Anisa Cameron, who is taking the helm as show director once again. “Little Shop of Horrors has a kind of brilliance to it, and a degree of timelessness that doesn’t age at all. It’s just as vibrant now as it was when it debuted Off-Broadway back in the 80s. In fact, the people who are coming to see the show are going to have so much fun, they are not going to stay in their seats for long.”
“Little Shop of Horrors” has its origins date back to 1960, when it was originally a black-and-white B-movie dark comedy that starred a young up-and-coming actor named Jack Nicholson. Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (the creative duo behind such Broadway blockbusters as “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast”) turned this cult classic into a stage musical, which debuted Off-Broadway in 1982, and then went on to Broadway in 2003; a film version of the musical was released in 1986, which starred Rick Moranis and Steve Martin.
The story centres around Seymour Krelborn, a nerdy employee at Mushnik’s Skid Row Florist, where he works with his girlfriend Audrey. When he is not helping Mr. Mushnik sell flowers and plants, he is raising a venus flytrap-type plant whom he names after his girlfriend. However, there is something peculiar about Audrey the plant; it grows to monstrous proportions, thanks mainly to a steady diet of human blood and flesh.
“This show is nothing like we have ever done before,” said Cote St. Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, who is also the show’s producer. “It’s a great example of community theatre for everyone in the city, not just Cote St. Luc. They are getting the chance to see excellent English-language theatre at reasonable prices.”
“Usually, a community theatre company will do a run of eight shows at most. This time we are doing a 23-show run of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ that will last for nearly a month. And when people see how much fun it is, the word will go out and the excitement surrounding the show will certainly grow from opening night to the closing performance,” he added.
And to spread the word about “Little Shop of Horrors”, the Cote St. Luc Dramatic Society is going all out with an extensive radio ad campaign on CJAD, and a specially-produced promotional video that is currently playing on YouTube, which centres around Cote St. Luc’s annual Maison Fleuries contest, in which several participants are interviewed, including Seymour Krelborn himself, who introduces “Audrey” to an unsuspecting public.
As well, Brownstein will continue his tradition of performing onstage with the company, this time as Mr. Mushnik, the cranky flower shop owner where Seymour and Audrey work at.
“Mr. Mushnik is one of the largest roles I have played so far during my involvement with the dramatic society,” he said. “I am going to be on stage quite a lot, and I am taking a longer time than usual to build my character. I have to get to that point where I feel I really know who Mr. Mushnik is and what he is all about, from his accent to the wide range of emotions he goes through.”
What amazed Ms. Cameron about the pop cultural impact “Little Shop of Horrors” has on people, is that when auditions were taking place to fill the 22 roles that are part of the cast, many of the performers who auditioned expressed a deep passion for the show, even to the point where they could sing the songs from the show’s score from memory.
“It was amazing. When they came to do the auditions for this show, they expressed a shared passion for this musical, and told us it was like their dream to get the chance to perform in it,” she said.
And besides the usual intimate audience setting that’s associated with a typical Cote St. Luc Dramatic Society production, where the performers will do some of the musical numbers surrounding the audience members to give them the total experience of being an actual part of the show, Ms. Cameron added that “Little Shop of Horrors” will feature puppetry for the first time, in which five different iterations of Audrey the plant will be presented onstage, from a baby plant to a life-sized human-eating behemoth.
So get ready for a way out horticultural comic night at the theatre, as the “Little Shop of Horrors” opens for business this June.
Tickets for the Cote St. Luc Dramatic Society’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” cost $32 (general) and $28 (students and seniors). For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 514-485-6806, ext. 2024, or go to www.csldramaticsociety.com.