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Little Shop of Horrors at Trinity Repertory Theater

By Joe Siegel

“Little Shop of Horrors”, the zany horror comedy about an unlucky florist and his man-eating plant, will be presented at Trinity Repertory Company from April 11 through May 12. The musical is based on the 1960 low budget film, “The Little Shop of Horrors.”

Composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman (“Beauty and the Beast” “Aladdin”) wrote the score, which includes the title song, “Skid Row (Downtown)”, “Somewhere That’s Green”, and “Suddenly, Seymour”.

“Little Shop of Horrors” debuted Off-Off-Broadway in 1982 before moving to the Orpheum Theatre Off-Broadway, where it enjoyed a successful five year run. The musical was made into a 1986 feature film starring Rick Moranis as Seymour and Steve Martin as the Dentist.

Tyler Dobrowsky (“A Midsummer’s Night Dream”) directs Jude Sandy (“Othello”) as Seymour, a meek and lonely assistant at a floral shop who happens upon a strange plant, which he affectionately names “Audrey II” after his crush at the shop.

Rebecca Gibel (“Ragtime”) plays Seymour’s fiancee’ Audrey. The cast also includes Janice Duclos, Timothy Crowe, Taavon Gamble, Carla Martinez, Olivia Miller, Elexis Morton, Kedren Spencer, Stephen Thorne (“Macbeth”) as the Dentist and Rachael Warren as the voice of “Audrey II.”

“The music is irresistible,” said Dobrowsky. “I can feel it in my bones. There is just something unbelievably beautiful and wonderful about the music in the show.”

Dobrowsky was a fan of the show and developed a real affection for the story and characters.

“In a lot of ways, it was my introduction to musical theater,” Dobrowsky noted. “There was something I loved about the irony and the little bit of the almost serious camp of it. The performers are all taking it very seriously but there is a kind of ironic distance to it that I think both a young person and then as a semi-adult today I really respond to in a lot of ways.”

Dobrowsky also enjoyed the chance to work with the cast of actors, some of whom he has previously directed.

“I think they’re really fun, I think they’re inventive, and they’re all good musical theater actors too,” Dobrowsky said.

Fans of “Little Shop of Horrors” are in for some surprises, Dobrowsky noted.

For one example, the setting for the story will be Providence so there will be lots of Rhode Island references in the dialogue.

The choice of Warren as the voice of the plant is also unique. In the past, a male actor has performed the character.

“I think it’s going to give us a lot of fun opportunities,” Dobrowsky said.

“On some level, it’s a very simple story. (“Little Shop of Horrors”) is almost like a morality play. You have Everyman and then you have Death comes and talks to Everyman. There is a simple and straightforward way of telling the story that I think actually resonates in a very profound way with how we tell stories.”

Dobrowsky believes there is a classic ‘good versus evil’ theme at the heart of the story: “It is about a guileless innocent man who gets seduced by the Devil to do bad things. (Seymour) achieves success and gets the girl of his dreams and gets famous but all of that comes at a cost.”

Little Shop of Horrors runs April 11 through May 12. Trinity Rep. Phone number: (401) 351-4242, 201 Washington St, Providence. For more information, visit: https://www.trinityrep.com/show/little-shop-of-horrors/ or email boxoffice@trinityrep.com