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Audrey II chomps in for James Clemens Theatre’s ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

(Artwork/Haelin Oh)
(Artwork/Haelin Oh)

MADISON – Audiences will guffaw at the campy romp gone awry in a flower shop when James Clemens Theatre presents “Little Shop of Horrors.”

For James Clemens’ first musical, theatre teacher and director Amy Patel knew fun was imperative. “‘Little Shop of Horrors’ is just that. It has a comic-book flavor and fantastic music.”

Patel also liked the technical challenge to build the show’s ‘leading woman,’ Audrey II, an elephantine houseplant with a voracious appetite.

Lead actors are Derek Santiago (Seymour), Kenzie Browne (Audrey), Skyler Mittman (Mr. Mushnik) and Joe Williams (demented dentist Orin Scrivello). James Clemens teacher Walter Ruffin is the voice of Audrey II.

Art and theatre teacher Mason Overcash is technical director.

Student directors are Lexi Mecikalski, Nadia Harden and Taylor Benson. Lauren Harksen is student choreographer. The crew consulted local puppeteers Anna Sue Courtney and J.D. Frye in building Audrey II.

“We have a fantastic group of students. Their voices are incredible, and Lauren Harksen has created intense choreography,” Patel said.

“Musicals are always hard, because they are three shows in one — a play, a dance recital and a choir concert all mashed up together,” Patel said, “but we’re laughing during all the hard work.”

The show is suitable for older children. “We really play up the ridiculous, comic-book attitude, but it is about a people-eating plant, after all,” Patel said.

James Clemens actors didn’t like the original, black-and-white movie version of “Little shop of Horrors.” “It was cheesy and nothing like what we’re working on now,” says Taylor Benson.

However, they enjoyed the 1980s musical version with Rick Moranis and Steve Martin. “You can play it in your car and turn it all the way up. It’s jumpin,'” Kayla Braxton said.

Show dates are May 1 and 2 at 7 p.m. and May 3 at 2 and 7 p.m.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and children. To reserve tickets, call 256-216-5313, email to jamesclemenstheatre@gmail.com or visit showtix4u.com. For more information, visit Facebook/James Clemens Theatre.

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