‘Little Shop of Horrors’ is heading back to the stage. The classic stage musical, first launched in 1982, featured music by Alan Menken, with lyrics by Howard Ashman. Tony winner Michael Mayer (‘Spring Awakening’) is directing this revival that is set for the Westside Theatre, off-Broadway. Mayer’s ‘Spring Awakening” star, Jonathan Groff (Netflix’s ‘Mindhunter’) will star as Seymour Krelborn. He will be joined by Tammy Blanchard and Christian Borle, with Blanchard playing Audrey and Borle as sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello.
With music in the style of 1960’s doo-wop, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ has been a hit through the years and in 1986, was made into a movie, directed by Frank Oz, who brought his puppetry expertise to the creation of Audrey II, the giant carnivorous plant.
In the story, hapless Seymour discovers his exotic Venus fly trap-like plant is dying and accidentally learns that it feeds on human blood, which leads Seymour down a grisly path as he must kill to keep Audrey II alive.
In the film, Rick Moranis played Seymour, with Ellen Green (who originated the role on stage) as Audrey and Steve Martin as Orin Scrivello. The film also featured appearances by Jim Belushi, John Candy, Christopher Guest, and Bill Murray. Tichina Arnold, and Tisha Campbell, who would later co-star on the sitcom ‘Martin’, appeared as two of the three chorus singers. Menken and Ashman would go on to pen music for many Disney classics, including ‘Hercules’, which employed a similar ’60s R&B “Greek Chorus.”
In addition to ‘Spring Awakening’, Groff has had great success as King George in ‘Hamilton‘. ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ will be a much smaller production, but it will put Groff back up front as the lead, and one of only a handful of characters. Groff also had a recurring role on ‘Glee’, and voiced Kristoff in Disney’s ‘Frozen’ and the upcoming ‘Frozen II’. In a non-musical performance, Groff stars as Holden Ford on Netflix’s ‘Mindhunter’, Season 2 of which will be available on Aug. 16.
Previews of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ begin on Tuesday, September 17, at the Westside Theatre, with opening night set for Thursday, October 17.