Live! From Skid Row

Cole Seager, Junior Film Reviewer

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Over the past few months, a group of 21 freshmen and sophomore students led by theatre program director Sonia Gerber, have been hard at work bringing an updated vision of the classic 80s musical Little Shop of Horrors to the high school.

“Little Shop of Horrors follows a meek plant store employee, Seymour, who lives on a pretty run down, poverty stricken street called Skid Row where everybody is really just struggling to survive,” explained Gerber.

Seymour is played by sophomore Edgar (EJ) Hanson, who describes the character as constantly searching for a way out of Skid Row, hoping to be given the chance to move on to bigger and better things. Seymour believes he’s finally found this chance when he discovers a unique and unusual plant that brings him almost instant fame and attention, Gerber explained.

“However, there is, as always, a price for things like that and the price, as it turns out here, is that the plant can only survive on human blood,” said Gerber.

“This show’s a comedy and I think you can always find a deeper meaning within comedy. In this show you can definitely dig deeper,” said freshman Ruby Fredricksen, a member of the show’s five-piece girl group who act as both narrators and characters in the story.

“It has something for everyone,” Hanson said. “It’s got your classic romance, it’s got your classic murder scenes, it’s got humor, it’s got music, it’s got it all.”

“I feel like it’s one of those things where even if you don’t like theatre, you’ll like this for sure because it’s just going to be insane,” said freshman Kayla Mielke who provides the voice of Audrey II, the plant that brings Seymour and the small Skid Row floral shop skyrocketing to fame.

Casey Centner stars opposite Hanson as Audrey, Seymour’s coworker and love-interest. Centner said of her character, “She has a past of being stuck in abusive relationships and doesn’t really know any different. She can’t really stand up for herself.”

Similar to Audrey’s seemingly never ending cycle of abusive relationships, Gerber explained that much of the show focuses on the place, Skid Row, and the cycles of poverty and addiction that its inhabitants find themselves in.

“There were many years where we actually didn’t do a ninth and tenth grade musical, it used to be a ninth and tenth grade black box show and an eleventh and twelfth grade black box show,” Gerber said. “When I took over here as the director of theatre, the choir teachers especially talked about how they used to do a ninth and tenth grade musical and how they felt like it was a really great training ground for building up the musical theatre program.”

When choosing shows for the current season in last winter, Gerber focused on the current pool of talent in the incoming sophomore class and chose a show that she believed would play to their strengths.

 

“We never know the freshmen that we’re going to have so all that we have to go off of really is the incoming sophomore class. We have to ask ourselves, ‘do we imagine that we have the right people for this show?’ And then we also hope we have some incoming freshmen that can balance that out as well,” Gerber said.

Gerber explained that the choice was also a nice contrast to the fall musical, Mary Poppins.

“This tackles a totally different style of music, a totally different style of dance and movement, completely different characters, and we knew it would be sort of a nice, different feel for the audiences that come see the shows as well as a challenge for the kids as they prepare and perform,” Gerber said.

Performances of Little Shop of Horrors begin Friday, February 16th and runs through Saturday, February 24th.