Merrill High School prepares for their 'Little Shop of Horrors' production - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Merrill High School prepares for their 'Little Shop of Horrors' production

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by Natalie Sparacio

WAKE UP WISCONSIN (PRESS RELEASE)--  Coming to the Merrill High School Stage:

Little Shop of Horrors      

"What a creepy thing to be happening! Lookout! Lookout! Everybody better beware!"

Merrill High School musical students are proud to present one of the most widely-produced musicals in theatre history.  Little Shop of Horrors debuted in 1982, and quickly became a popular rock n' roll musical.  Songs like ‘Little Shop of Horrors,' ‘Downtown,' ‘Feed Me,' and ‘Suddenly Seymour' have become popular with audiences.  The production is also famously known for its oversized "talking" plant.  

The show revolves around a down-and-out store, Mushnik's Floral Shop, on the fringe of town in the Skid-Row district.  The owner, Mushnik, has become frustrated with the lousy business, the whinos that decorate the stoop, and the four singing street urchins who've skipped out of school.  His employees, Seymour, an orphan that was taken in by Mushnik, and Audrey, a stunning blond who is dating a loser of a boyfriend (Orin, an Elvis-esque, sadistic dentist), have discovered a new an exotic plant.  Surprisingly, when the plant is prominently displayed in the window, customers appear, and the money starts coming in!  However, the plant craves something more than water and minerals – it grows when it is fed blood! 

The musical was originally inspired by the cult sci-fi/horror film of the same name, featuring Jack Nicholson, and upon stage release, spawned a musical movie featuring the likes of Steve Martin, John Candy, Bill Murray, Jim Belushi and Rick Moranis.  The musical also pays homage to a popular musical trend of the 1950s – the "girl" groups.  The four street urchins represent a "Doo-Wop" style of music groups, and each take their name from a popular girl group of the time: The Ronnettes, The Crystals, The Chiffons, and The Chantels.

Don't be scared by the title – the musical was brought to life to make fun of the corniness of the original B-movie, and actually has no scenes intended to scare the audience.  At the core of this musical is a genuine love story, wonderful tunes worthy to be sung along with, and a lesson about the triumphs and perils of success. 

The students that are involved in making Little Shop come to life include Elizabeth Smith as Audrey, Leo Olson as Seymour, Dan Thompson as Mushnik, Derek Francour as the voice of the plant, Walter Blakey as the plant operator, and Eric Leih as the dentist. The "Doo-Wop" girls feature Rose Nelessen as Crystal, Whitney Baumgart as Ronnette, Jessica Hargrave as Chiffon and Hollie Haskins as Chantel.  These characters act as the "Greek Chorus" for the musical.  Other actors include Matt Hanson as Mr. Bernstein(the NBC producer), Seth Thompson as the agent, Macy Franke as Mrs. Luce the editor's wife, Lucas Gessler as the narrator and interviewer, Eric Williams as Patrick Martin(a sales agent), Steven Roets as the first customer, and Michael Bergmann as another customer.  Production is directed by Amanda Babcock, and music direction by Jim Bjorklund. 

Tickets are $6.00 for students, $8.00 for adults, and will include your seat and row. Tickets will be available in the Activities Office of Merrill High School, or at the service desk of County Market and Piggly Wiggly starting March 9 through April 7, and will be available at the door on the day of the shows. Shows begin at 7:30PM, doors open at 7:00, and are Thursday, April 8, Friday, April 9, and Saturday, April 10.    

Online Reporter: Natalie Sparacio

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