Musical written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, based on the screenplay by Charles Griffith for the film by Roger Corman. Down and out skid row floral assistant Seymour becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant with a mysterious craving for fresh blood. Soon 'Audrey II' grows into an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed, R'n'B-singing carnivore offering him fame and fortune in exchange for feeding its growing appetite... but as Audrey II's hungry demands increase, all that Seymour holds dear is threatened as the plant's sinister agenda for global domination is revealed...
One mean green monster musical! A botanical bloodfest!! Like Faust on fertiliser!!!
Original West End London Production 1983 at the Comedy Theatre
Previewed 4 October 1983, Opened 12 October 1983, Closed 5 October 1985 at the Comedy Theatre (now Harold Pinter Theatre)
The original cast featured Barry James as 'Seymour', Ellen Greene as 'Audrey', Harry Towb as 'Mushnik', Terence Hillyer as 'Orin Scrivello, The Dentist', Nicola Blackman as 'Chiffon', Dawn Hope as 'Crystal', Shezwae Powell as 'Ronnette', Anthony B Asbury as 'Audrey II' (Puppeteer), and Michael Leslie as 'Audrey II' (Voice).
Directed by Howard Ashman with choreography by Edie Cowan, sets by Edward T Gianfrancesco and Tim Goodchild, costumes by Tim Goodchild, puppets by Martin P Robertson, lighting by David Hersey, and sound by Martin Levan.
1st West End London Revival 2007 at the Duke of York's Theatre and Ambassadors Theatre
Previewed 17 November 2006, Opened 30 November 2006, Closed 25 February 2007 at the Menier Chocolate Factory
Previewed 6 March 2007, Opened 12 March 2007, Closed 23 June 2007 at the Duke of York's Theatre
Transferred 29 June 2007, Closed 8 September 2007 at the Ambassadors Theatre
The original cast at the Menier Chocolate Factory featured Paul Keating as 'Seymour', Sheridan Smith as 'Audrey', Barry James as 'Mushnik', Jasper Britton as 'Orin Scrivello, The Dentist', Katie Kerr as 'Chiffon', Melitsa Nicola as 'Crystal', Jenny Fitzpatrick as 'Ronette', Andy Heath as 'Audrey II' (Puppeteer), Mike McShane as 'Audrey II' (Voice), with Corrie Mac and Matthew Eames.
The original West End cast at the Duke of York's Theatre featured Paul Keating as 'Seymour', Sheridan Smith as 'Audrey', Barry James as 'Mushnik', Alistair McGowan as 'Orin Scrivello, The Dentist', Katie Kerr as 'Chiffon', Melitsa Nicola as 'Crystal', Jenny Fitzpatrick as 'Ronette', Mike McShane as 'Audrey II' (Voice), Andy Heath as 'Audrey II' (Puppeteer), with Cathryn Davis and Matthew Eames.
Directed by Matthew White with choreography by Lynne Page, designs by David Farley, puppets by ARTEM, lighting by Paul Anderson, and sound by Gareth Owen.
"A tongue-in-cheek, retro-style musical about a man-eating plant called Audrey II... The Menier's cast and creative team tackle it with tremendous enthusiasm, maximising the comedy with great singing and some very fast timing. Paul Keating fits the part of Seymour perfectly.... Barry James, as the gruff old Mr Mushnik, has a lot of fun, and Sheridan Smith as Audrey, teetering around in high heels and microskirt, is a hoot." The Sunday Times
"The singing is invigorating; the plant is fittingly fleshly, brilliantly manipulated by Andy Heath and wittily voiced by Mike McShane; and the performances in the lead roles (Paul Keating as the geeky florist and Sheridan Smith as the love interest) charmingly moving... And yet, at a little over two hours, the whole thing drags rather." The Sunday Telegraph
"Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's musical, a high-camp celebration of bad horror movies set in a florist's shop on Skid Row in New York, is the wacky story of a nerdy orphan, Seymour, who cultivates a weird plant. In Matthew White's perfectly pitched, superbly performed production, Seymour satisfies the plant's appetites with the bodies of a sadistic dentist and the brutal boyfriend of the florist's assistant, Audrey. Audrey II, for that's the plant's name, thrives, and this particularly revolting, fleshy monster grows more and more humungous, singing and snapping until she has taken over the entire stage. In the finale, Audrey II's tentacles extend into the delightedly disgusted audience. It won't be long before she pushes her way into the West End." The Mail on Sunday
Little Shop of Horrors, one of the longest-running off-Broadway shows of all time, is an affectionate spoof of 1950s sci-fi movies. The original West End stage musical production was staged at The Comedy Theatre in 1983 where it had a succssful run of two years. It is probably best known for the 1986 movie version of the stage show which featured Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene and Steve Martin. Interestingly Barry James, who plays the role of 'Mushnik' in this revival, played 'Seymour' in the original West End stage prodcution.
Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's stage musical version of Little Shop of Horrors is based on the 1960 horror 'B-movie' of the same name which was directed by Roger Corman (and which included Jack Nicholson in a small role). Alan Menken said: "Ok, so it wasn't a great film, but horror movies are the last respectable form of melodrama and this one is a parable: most 1950s horrors were in fact cautionary tales about ecology or McCarthy or the Bomb, and this one is simply the Faust legend updated. Because of a vague title similiarity people sometimes compare it with The Rocky Horror Show but in fact it's nothing like it. Rocky Horror was essentially 1970s: totally black, totally amoral, and although I saw the movie eight times I finally stopped going when all the kids shouted back at the screen. This Little Shop of Horrors goes back to an earlier tradition, and it's a much more convential musical with a strong plot and all the old Rogers and Hammerstein devices for solo spot numbers during scene changes. In that sense it's a show about the American musical as well as about horror films."
Little Shop of Horrors in London at the Duke of York's Theatre previewed from 6 March 2007, opened on 12 March 2007 and closed on 23 June 2007, transferred to the Ambassadors Theatre from 29 June 2007 and closed 8 September 2007.
London Revival 2018 at the Open Air Theatre
Previewed 3 August 2018, Opened 10 August 2018, Closed 22 September 2018 at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
A major revival of the classic Howard Ashman and Alan Menken musical Little Shop of Horrors in London - now extended one week to 22 September 2018!
The cast features Forbes Masson as 'Mr Mushnik', Marc Antolin as 'Seymour', Jemima Rooper as 'Audrey', Vicky Vox as 'Audrey II', Matt Willis as 'Orin', Renée Lamb as 'Chiffon', Seyi Omooba as 'Crystal', and Christina Modestou as 'Ronnette' with Joe Allen, Josh Baker, Billy Cullum, Julian Hoult, Rosalind James, Bobbie Little, Helen Siveter, and Mary Lynn Tiep. Directed by Maria Aberg with designs by Tom Scutt, choreography by Lizzi Gee, lighting by Howard Hudson and sound by Nick Lidster. Book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken, based on the film by Roger Corman with screenplay by Charles Griffith.
When this production at the Open Air Theatre in London's Regent's Park in August 2018, Sam Marlowe in the Times said that, "directed by Maria Aberg, it's gloriously succulent and deliciously sinister. Aberg sharpens the teeth of the show's flesh-eating, alien plant, gives fresh definition to its cartoonish characters, and peps up the action with a generous dose of subversion and sex. The result is truly wild: exuberantly excessive, and as thrillingly, dangerously seductive as a beribboned bouquet of triffids... This show is an absolute riot." Paul Taylor in the i newspaper held that "even if you think you know the material backwards, you'd be mad to miss this uplifting revival, directed by Maria Aberg. The production looks and sounds terrific and offers a genuinely bracing new vision of this piece." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph wrote that "Maria Aberg has - primarily - opted to plant a fabulous American drag queen centre stage. While theatre debutant Vicky Vox warbles to perfection and excels at an aura of diva-ish danger, with much trowelled-on make-up, growling that insatiable command "Feed me!", there's something a little cosy about this interpretation... Fun enough. But couldn't it have a bit more bite?" Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard hailed this "a triumphant production of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's stylishly schlocky 1982 musical about a scary succulent with an insatiable thirst for blood... Horribly good." Suzi Feay in the Financial Times highlighted that "there's exceptional work from choreographer Lizzi Gee and designer Tom Scutt, whose approach to costume is to start with a ton of green glitter and a glue gun, then send out for more... As luckless lover Seymour, Marc Antolin skilfully delivers the tongue-twisters of Howard Ashman's clever book, with Forbes Masson comical as his handwringing foil, Mr Mushnik. Matt Willis is nothing short of stupendous as Orin, the sadistic dentist... Little Shop of Horrors is stuffed with terrific songs... even so, with this production you're more likely to come out humming the costumes." Neil Norman in the Daily Express described how "Maria Aberg's secret weapon is Audrey II. In most shows the plant is a puppet but here the grown-up Audrey II is in the divine form of Vicky Vox, a power-voiced New York drag artist who stomps around the stage like an alien plant pod. Jemima Rooper brings a poignant vulnerability to the real Audrey and Marc Antolin's Seymour is appropriately conflicted. Matt Willis may have more bark than bite as Orin but he blazes through a succession of roles with aplomb."
Little Shop of Horrors in London at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park previewed from 3 August 2018, opened on 10 August 2018, and closed on 22 September 2018