‘Little Shop of Horrors’ to debut at Eccles Theatre

Cameron Neeley (right) will co-star with the evil plant Audrey II (center) in the Music Theatre West production of "Little Shop of Horrors" opening Friday, Mar. 5 at the Ellen Eccles Theatre.

LOGAN – The premier of the much-anticipated Music Theatre West production of the off-beat musical “Little Shop of Horrors” is right around the corner on Friday, Mar. 5.

Local theatergoers have been eagerly looking forward to that show for good reasons.

First of all, the MTW production is being widely seen as a sign of normalcy finally returning to the Cache Valley performing arts scene, despite the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

Secondly, the admittedly small cast of “Little Shop of Horrors” is nevertheless packed with MTW’s trademark crowd-pleasing performers.

The show’s artistic team is led by Debbie Ditton, the director of the memorable MTW productions of “Forever Plaid” and “The Taffetas” in fall of 2020. As always, the incomparable Jay Richard will supervise the show’s orchestration.

Production designer Danny Rash (on loan from the Four Seasons Theatre Company) is expected to create another of his impressive stage settings.

Tyler Whitesides, last seen in the title role of the MTW production of “The Music Man,” has accepted the challenge of creating multiple puppet versions of the show’s most infamous character, the alien talking plant Audrey Two.

With music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, “Little Shop of Horrors” premiered off-Broadway in 1982. Featuring a score that blends rock n’ roll, doo-wop and Motown-style music, the black comedy centers on a lovesick florist who unknowingly raises a monstrous man-eating plant.

From a huge talent pool of 95 local performers who auditioned via video for “Little Shop of Horrors” back in November, Ditton selected just eight cast members.

They are Cameron Neeley as the down-on-his-luck florist Seymore who pines for the lovely but somewhat masochistic Audrey (One), played by Melinda Richards. Seymore’s rival for Audrey’s affection is Logan McKenna as the sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello. Brad Noble rounds out the leading on-stage roles as the manipulative shop owner Mr. Mushnik.

From the wings, Clifton Richards will lend his voice to the monstrous plant Audrey Two.

The musical’s trendy choral tunes will be performed by Lauren Sidwell, Ashley Hodges and Tiffany Snell as Ronnette, Crystal and Chiffon respectively.

“Little Shop of Horrors” is loosely based on a 1960 low-budget film of the same name directed by schlock-master Roger Corman. The film is a cult classic, most notable for a hilarious cameo appearance by a then-undiscovered Jack Nicholson.

In addition to its engagements on- and off-Broadway, the musical was adapted as a 1986 movie directed by Frank Oz starring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin.

“Little Shop of Horrors” will be presented Mar. 5-13 at the Ellen Eccles Theatre in downtown Logan.

To safeguard the health of audience members during performances of “Little Shop of Horrors,” the Eccles staff will employ the mask-wearing and social-distance seating protocols that were pioneered by CacheARTS director Wendi Hassan during the theater’s highly successful Random Acts performances in the summer and fall of 2020.

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