"The Little Shop of Horrors," the outrageous off-Broadway classic - itself based on a 1960 cult film classic - opens Pioneer Theatre Company's 1994-95 season.
The show, directed by John Caywood, PTC's resident production stage manager, features music and lyrics by composer Alan Menken and the late lyricist Howard Ashman, who also teamed up for the Oscar-winning scores for Walt Disney's "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast."Caywood, who directed PTC's hilarious "The Mystery of Irma Vep" in 1992, notes that the season-opener is "a look at the American musical comedy as viewed through smog-encrusted sunglasses. It offers something for everyone: an odds-against love story, a gutter-to-glitter subplot and a monster with a nongender discriminate taste for human flesh.
"The music throws the `hit parade' tradition of the Broadway musical into a blender with early rock 'n' roll and the sound of young `Motown' America. I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this show, except maybe a conservative florist," says Caywood, PTC's resident production stage manager. (Over the past three seasons Caywood has directed three Sundance Summer Theatre shows: "Li'l Abner," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and "Oklahoma!")
Caywood's cast includes Russell Goldberg, seen last season as Motel in "Fiddler on the Roof" and the love-sick Leandro in "Scapino," as Seymour, the naive young schnook who develops a bloodthirsty, man-eating plant nicknamed Audrey II, named in honor of . . . Audrey, the sweet, shy and habitually late florist shop employee who is the secret love of Seymour's life. Sharon Wilkins will provide the voice of increasingly hungry, addicted-to-red-meat Audrey II, while Angel Caban, who was in the Broadway company of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," will portray Audrey.
The cast also includes Christopher Mixon (seen last year in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "Romeo and Juliet") as Orin, Audrey's masochistic boyfriend and a dentist who loves his dental drill a little too much; Steve Liebman as Mushnik, the flower shop owner, and Shirell Ferguson, Shawana Kemp and MarQue Munday as the hip trio, the Ronnettes - a Motown version of a Greek chorus.
Rounding out the cast is one of PTC's most popular "regulars" - Sam Stewart, who'll play a number of roles in the show.
James Prigmore will be directing the band, with Jayne Luke as choreographer; Rob Odorisio as scenery designer and K.L. Alberts in charge of the funky, '50s-style costumes.
Following the opening on Wednesday evening, performances will continue Mondays-Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m. from Sept. 14 through Oct. 1. Season tickets are still available. Ample free parking is available south of the theater or in the stadium parking lot (serviced by a shuttle). For reservations, call 581-6961.