There is an anthropomorphic plant loitering at the Roger T. Sermon Community Center in Independence.
It sings and dances, yet has an insatiable appetite for blood... human blood to be exact.
But don’t be alarmed, it’s just part of the latest theatrical production presented by the City Theatre of Independence.
“Little Shop of Horrors” will be performed at the Powerhouse Theatre, located at 201 N. Dodigon Street in Independence, on April 3, 4, 5 and 10, 11, 12, 13.
For those who are not familiar with the play that has a cult following or its subsequent film adaptation starring Rick Moranis, “Little Shop” involves a meek, down-on-his-luck flower shopkeeper named Seymour, who purchases a plant that happens to feed on human blood after. (Think a venus flytrap with human qualities that devours people while the overall tone of the production is a light-hearted musical, of all things.)
Seymour realizes that in order for the plant – which is bringing him loads of attention – to survive, he needs to quench its thirst for blood, which inevitably causes criminal implications for him. Will Seymour get rid of the carnivorous plant or will he become its next meal?
Local community theater veteran Nino Casisi, the director of “Little Shop,” says he broke his own rule with this particular production.
“The is one of my favorite shows and I swore I’d never direct the same show twice,” he said. “’Little Shop’ holds a special place with me, so I broke that rule.”
And with this second go-around, Casisi was mum when asked if he is bringing something different or unique, besides a contemporary costume change.
“All I can say is there are four (and some human-sized) variations of Audrey II (the plant) and will you not be disappointed in how we present them.” He adds that he wants to keep those interested in attending one of the shows in suspense because this variation of the man-eating plant hasn’t been done before to his knowledge. One crew member’s vision and construction of the plant allegedly made his “head spin.”
Plus fans of the production will be pleased to hear that Casisi has kept the “same script and same songs” in tact, but only with a different vision.
“It’s set in a contemporary atmosphere.”
Both Jaime Blum, who is the show’s romantic interest Audrey, and newcomer Gregory Williams, Seymour, say “they have been pushed beyond the limits” to bring a spectacular show each and every night.
“There were a lot of expectations,” Williams said of his involvement in “Little Shop.” “It was definitely challenging, especially with my character’s personality.”
And why should people see the show?
“It has a dynamic cast, awesome crew and a killer plant,” said Casisi.
Ticket prices for each of the performances are $14 for adults and $12 for seniors age 60 and older. Tickets can purchased at the Sermon Center box office, which is located at the corner of Noland and Truman Roads in Independence, or you can make reservations at 816-325-7367. The show is intended for teenagers and up. Plus there will be a cap gun firing and smoke machine utilized during each performance.
Melissa Anderson - Ronnette Darrell Bailey - Audrey II Voice and Ensemble Katherine L. Bettis - Crystal Jaime Blum - Audrey Chad Burris - Mr. Mushnik Stephanie Flanagan - Chiffon Heather Foose - Ensemble Dara Hillebrand - Ensemble Zack Hutchins - Orin Scrivello, DDS and Ensemble Bradford Taylor - Ensemble Gregory Williams - Seymour
Nino Casisi - Director Christopher Foglio - Music Director Stefanie Stevens - Choreographer Melissa Anderson - Audition Choreographer Sarah Webb - Stage Manager Eli Biesemeyer - Assistant Director Joyce Stone - Costume Design Michelle Byers - Costume Assistant Nino Casisi and R.J. Parish - Properties Design R.J. Parish - Technical Director Chuck Cline - Lighting Design Bobbi Burton - Lighting Technician Nathan Stone - Sound Design & Technician Nino Casisi and R.J. Parish - Scenic Design R.J. Parish - Audrey II Design R.J. Parish and John Dempsey - Audrey II Construction Ali Culver - Special Artist for Little Shop Sign
Audrey II Puppeteers:
Kevin Boessen, John Dempsey, R.J. Parish, Bradford Taylor, Andy Williams and Sophie Yancey
Photosynthesized (The Skid Row Band)
Christopher Foglio - Conductor/Keyboard II Dianne Brown - Keyboard I/Rehearsal Accompanist Kenneth Storz - Electric Guitar Richard Burgess - Bass Taylor N. Thompson - Percussion