Community Theatre of Terre Haute kicks off its Mainstage Series with the well-known musical, “Little Shop of Horrors,” with lyrics and book by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken. It runs Friday through Sunday and again Sept. 20 through 22. 

Based on a low-budget 1960 black comedy film, the horror comedy rock musical debuted in 1982. It was then made into a film in 1986, featuring Rick Moranis, Steve Martin and Ellen Greene. Sandra Groves is directing the musical with Erin Reger acting as musical director.

The writing team of Ashman and Menken also are known for Disney hits “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and, after Ashman’s death, “Aladdin.”

Prior to those animated feature films, though, was “Little Shop of Horrors,” which follows the story of the meek and hapless Seymour (Mark Rawlins), who works in Mushnik’s Flower Shop, located on Skid Row in the 1960s. As you can imagine, there’s not much call for flowers on Skid Row, so business is bad for Mr. Mushnik (Avery Finn). Seymour has a secret crush on his coworker, Audrey (Jalissa Barley), and would love to get her away from her abusive boyfriend, Dr. Orin Scrivello (Daniel Christopher Wood).

Mushnik tells Seymour he’s out of a job if he doesn’t do something to bring in more business. Coincidentally, Seymour had recently gotten a “strange and interesting plant” from a Chinese man. He decides to put the plant in the shop window; lo and behold, it does bring customers. Mushnik tells Seymour he can stay as long as that plant grows.

The catch is, Seymour soon learns that this plant, which he names Audrey II, thrives on human blood rather than plant food.

A trio of doo-wop girls — Ronette (Eliza Blower), Crystal (Brooklyn Shepherd) and Chiffon (Selanda Brown) — guide the audience through the story. A range of characters who also live on Skid Row are played by Shannon Belzile, Dakoda Burkitt, Aaron DeBow, LeeAnn Downing, Malynnda Johnson, Sarah Leschron, Grace Mathieu, Lester McGee and Michael Natt.

Two actors who play main characters are never seen by the audience. Audrey II requires both a puppeteer (Christopher Gagnon) and a voice actor (Dylan Keller) to bring the man-eating plant to a rather demanding life.

To purchase tickets for this PG-13 musical, patrons can follow the links at ctth.org to pick the day, time and seat for the performance they want. Tickets can be printed out at home or shown on a mobile device.

For patrons who prefer to purchase in person, ticket office hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, as well as one hour before show time. Tickets are $21 for adults and $15 for students and youth. Performances begin at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. The opening night includes a free reception after the performance, with a chance to mingle over hors d’oeuvres and visit with the cast members.

Community Theatre is at the corner of 25th and Washington streets. Learn more at ctth.org or call the ticket office at 812-232-7172.

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