Arts

Actor’s Express ‘Little Shop Of Horrors’ Finds Heart, Bends Gender

''Little Shop of Horrors'' opens at Actor's Express this week.
''Little Shop of Horrors'' opens at Actor's Express this week.
Credit Ashley Earles-Bennett

It’s one of the longest-running musicals in off-Broadway history, and it’s also one of the most performed musicals in high schools, according to the Educational Theater Association.

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That show is “Little Shop of Horrors,” where down-on-his-luck Seymour Krelborn discovers a new plant species with an insatiable appetite for human blood and world domination at the same time he’s also falling love with his colleague Audrey.

“The show is very campy, but if you just camp it up, the show doesn’t work because it also has a really big heart,” said director Rick Lombardo, who is making his Atlanta directorial debut with this production. “It’s a delicate balance, and then the true sweetness of the feelings of Audrey and Seymour and what they want in the world … And the plant is very seductive and says, ‘I’ll give you your heart’s desire if you only take these small steps toward the dark side.’”

“Little Shop of Horrors” first debuted in 1982. Based on a campy 1960s film, the musical was then adapted into a film and has multiple revivals on and off Broadway. Actor’s Express decided to some atypical casting. Audrey II, the plant that ends up eating several members of the cast, will be voiced by a woman. Additionally, one of the urchins, generally played by three women, will be a man.

“It was so brilliant and kind of sick in a wonderful way when some of the things that the plant says and sings are coming through a female voice instead of a male voice,” Lombardo said. “I can safely guarantee that the plant has never looked the way it does in its production.”

“Little Shop of Horrors” officially opens July 15. Previews start tonight. The show runs through Aug. 20, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

You can hear more from Lombardo and actors Juan Carlos Unzueta, who plays Seymour, and Kylie Brown, who plays Audrey, in their interview with “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes above. 

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