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‘Little Shop of Horrors’ opens 2020

Pittsburgh Public Theater showcases musical comedy

Arroyo

PITTSBURGH — The musical comedy “Little Shop of Horrors” wil open 2020 for the Pittsburgh Public Theater.

This monster hit, with book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken, is Marya Sea Kaminski’s first musical at the Public, and features the return of Grammy winner John McDaniel as music director.

It runs Jan. 23 through Feb. 23 at the O’Reilly Theater, Pittsburgh Public Theater’s home in the heart of Downtown’s Cultural District. For tickets call (412) 316-1600, go to ppt.org or visit the box office.

In “Little Shop of Horrors,” Mr. Mushnik (Marc Moritz) struggles to keep his Skid Row flower shop open. One day his nerdy clerk, Seymour (Carnegie Mellon University grad Philippe Arroyo), brings in an odd horticultural find. He names it after his co-worker, Audrey (Lauren Marcus, “Be More Chill”), with whom he is in love. But Audrey is dating a sadistic dentist, Orin (Patrick Cannon), so Seymour must content himself with nurturing his little bloom, Audrey II. He quickly discovers, however, that this plant isn’t like any other — it can talk and sing (Monteze Freeland, voice of Audrey II.) It also can dance and grow to amazing heights (J. Alex Noble, puppeteer of Audrey II.) The flower just needs one thing in order to thrive: Fresh human blood.

It is based on Roger Corman’s sci-fi movie from 1960 titled “The Little Shop of Horrors.” What Ashman and Menken did so brilliantly was add lyrics and music in the styles of R&B, rock and the girl-groups of the early 1960s. This last sound is embodied onstage by the Urchins, a singing group made up of Ronnette (Melessie Clark), Crystal (Tavia Rive) and Chiffon (Abigail Stephenson.) The trio acts as a sort of Greek chorus commenting on the action — if Greek choruses were young, hip, and melodic. The show’s signature songs include “Downtown (Skid Row),” “Somewhere That’s Green” and the awesome power ballad “Suddenly Seymour.”

In addition to the hilariously harrowing plot, Marya sees its deeper meaning.

“Little Shop resonates with the bigger question of what it’s like to be hungry and tells the story of the monstrous lengths we’ll go to in order to get what we most crave,” she said.

The design team includes Tim Mackabee (scenic), Susan Tsu (costumes), Robert Aguilar (lighting), Zach Moore (sound) and Bryce Cutler (projections.) Trina Mills is the choreographer, Catie Brown is associate music director and Hattie Clare Andres is the associate director. Casting is by Geoff Josselson, Pamela Brusoski is the production stage manager and Rebecca Krall is the assistant stage manager.

Show times are 7 p.m. on Tuesdays; 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays (except fot Feb. 5); 2 p.m. Saturdays (except Jan. 25 and Feb. 1) and Feb. 20; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays, except Feb. 23, when the final performance is set for 2 p.m.

Ticket prices start at $31. Tickets for students and age 26 and younger are $16.50. Discounts for groups of 10 or more are available by contacting Katina White at (412) 316-8221 or groupsales@ppt.org.

Ticket prices are subject to change.

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