Preview: Little Shop of Horrors
November 29-December 3, 8 p.m., December 3, 2 p.m.
Directed by Charlotte H. Alter ’12
Music directed by Will D. Ramsey ’12
Produced by Sarah M. Batista-Pereira ’13, Vaida Rimeikyte ’13 and Anne K. Sawyier ’12
“The goal of the show is to raise the standards for Harvard theater,” says director Charlotte H. Alter ’12 about the upcoming Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club (HRDC) production of “Little Shop of Horrors,” the Howard Ashman and Alan Menken 1982 rock musical.
“Little Shop of Horrors” follows Seymour Krelborn (Matthew J. DaSilva ’12), a poor young florist who obtains a mysterious plant with a sinister taste for blood. The plant grows to enormous proportions and brings fame and business to the shop, but Seymour only wants the love of his coworker Audrey (Yasmeen E. Audi ’15), who is in a relationship with a sadistic dentist (Steven D. Bombino ’12). Seymour soon discovers that his plant (voiced by Jonathan P. Finn-Gamino ’12) can talk, and it offers to make all Seymour’s dreams come true—at a price.
This production will attempt to toe the line between the source material’s ridiculous, lighthearted aspects and dark, twisted plot progression without deviating into camp. “I think the dark comedy is one of the things that makes it appealing to audiences, and we’re trying to keep it there but also create a world that is believable,” says Alter. “I think what’s funny is such a fantastical element coming into a world that seems like it could actually exist.” The actors are also insistent that they are not creating caricatures. “The most interesting thing about this character is if you can give him depth,” says Bombino about his role as the villainous dentist. “At the end of the day we want him to be a mostly likeable character, especially when you first see him.”
The production also aims to be technically resourceful. Alter’s approach was “to go to people in the Harvard community that we know have skills in this area, but not necessarily go through the usual HRDC channels to find them.” As a result, many technical roles are occupied by people who have never been involed in theater. “I feel like we have one of the best staffs of any show on this campus so far,” says producer Sarah M. Batista-Pereira ’13.
The unusual staff had plenty of work to do, thanks to a last-minute switch of venues from the Loeb Experimental Theater to the Mainstage. This will be the first musical there since “Into the Woods” in 2010. “From there it’s really been sort of taking this show that we conceived on this very small intimate scale and blowing it up times a billion to fill the space,” says Batista-Pereira.