Show Poster for the Renaissance Players production of Little Shop of Horrors. It mimics a 1950's horror comic book style.

Renaissance Players cultivate laughs with Little Shop of Horrors Oct. 7-23

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Release Date: 9/16/2005. Expired: 10/23/2005

A carnivorous, blues-singing plant intent on ruling the world sounds like the plot of an old science fiction movie, but it’s really the star of the smash Broadway musical Little Shop of Horrors being presented Oct. 7-23 by the Renaissance Players.

Little Shop of Horrors is presented at The Renaissance Center in Dickson at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for children under 13. A special lunch matinee on Oct. 9 includes a 1 p.m. lunch buffet and the 2 p.m. show for $17.

The Renaissance Players production is directed by Tracy Nichols, whose first experience with the community theatre troupe was as co-director of last year’s regional premiere of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Coincidentally, Little Shop of Horrors features memorable music by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, the same team that created the magic of Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin for Disney.

But make no mistake, Little Shop of Horrors is not exactly Disney fare. The Renaissance Players production carries a PG-13 rating.

And that old science fiction movie feel? That comes from the fact that Little Shop of Horrors originated as a 1960 movie directed by Roger Corman, the master of B horror movies for more than 50 years with titles such as Attack of the Crab Monsters, The Undead, A Bucket of Blood, Death Race 2000, Piranha and movie versions of several Edgar Allan Poe stories like The Raven, Masque of the Red Death and The Pit and the Pendulum.

Corman’s Little Shop of Horrors is notable for two things. The entire movie was filmed in two days and it featured an unknown actor named Jack Nicholson in a small role.

Twenty-two years later Little Shop of Horrors returned as a musical comedy and became one of Off-Broadway’s longest-running shows. It opened in the Orpheum Theatre July 27, 1982, and ran for 2,209 performances.

That prompted a new movie version in 1986, directed by Frank Oz and starring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin, with appearances by Jim Belushi, John Candy and Bill Murray.

Little Shop of Horrors finally made it to Broadway with a one-year run at the Virginia Theatre beginning Oct. 2, 2003, and earned a Best Actor in a Musical Tony nomination for Hunter Foster as Seymour.

Meek, mild-mannered Seymour Krelbourn discovers an exotic plant with a strange appetite for blood and brings it back to the skid row flower shop where he works. As the plant grows at an alarming rate, so does its hunger for human flesh. Seymour, who is secretly in love with co-worker Audrey, names the plant Audrey II and strikes a deal to keep feeding the plant in exchange for fame and fortune.

Audrey II becomes an instant sensation with its blues singing and its own backup singers, but Seymour begins to wonder if the plant has its own agenda as its thirst for blood keeps growing.

Known for catchy songs such as Suddenly Seymour, Somewhere That’s Green and the title song, Little Shop of Horrors has become a toe-tapping, laugh-out-loud stage smash that spoofs its very own beginnings as a B sci-fi horror movie.

The Renaissance Players production features Bryan Wlas as Seymour. Although it’s his first role on The Renaissance Center stage, Wlas was choreographer for the Gaslight Dinner Theatre production of My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra. The Illinois native graduated from Millikin University with a BFA in Musical Theatre and a Dance minor. He has performed all over the United States and Western Europe in theme parks, on cruise ships and at various regional theatres.

Audrey is played by Brittany Daniels, another new face to the Renaissance Players. A commercial music vocal major at Belmont University, the Winchester resident has previously appeared in productions of Les Miserables, Smile, Jekyll and Hyde, Footloose, Grease and Gypsy.

Audrey II is voiced by Jim Reyome, while the plant that grows throughout the show is operated by three puppeteers: Matt Romine, Jon Kopischke and Arica Ward. Reyome made his Renaissance Players debut last season as Caiaphas in Jesus Christ Superstar.

Renaissance Repertory Company member Zak Risinger plays Orin, the sadistic dentist who is Audrey’s boyfriend, and Renaissance Players regular Tom Whiting is Mushnik, the owner of the flower shop that becomes famous as the home of Audrey II.

Audrey II’s backup singers are played by Anna Hammonds (Chiffon), Saaneah Jamison (Ronnette) and Kristin Butler (Crystal).

Rounding out the cast are Matt Romine as Chang and Skid Row residents Annette White, Arica Ward and Jon Kopischke.

Music director for the show is Debbie Wilson, Tina Romine is stage manager and Trudy Whiting is assistant stage manager.

For more information on the Renaissance Players production of Little Shop of Horrors, call (615)740-5600. To purchase tickets, call (615)740-5570.

The Renaissance Center is a fine arts and technology education and performing arts center at 855 Highway 46 South in Dickson, just 35 miles west of Nashville on Interstate 40 at exit 172.

Visit the Theatre page for more about community and professional theatre.

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