YORK Stage will mark the 40th anniversary of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s B-movie musical spoof Little Shop of Horrors with Nik Briggs’s summer production.
The July 14 to 23 run will mark the York company’s debut at York Theatre Royal in a show with musical direction by Stephen Hackshaw (Sister Act, Shrek, Rock of Ages, Ghost, 9-5 The Musical) and choreography by York pantomime favourite Danielle Mullan-Hill.
From the duo behind Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast and Aladdin, lyricist Ashman and composer Menken’s horror comedy rock musical is based on a Roger Corman thriller from the 1960s that featured a young Jack Nicholson.
From off-Broadway beginnings in 1982, it was turned into a film in 1986 starring Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Steve Martin and Bill Murray with its story of hapless Skid Row florist shop worker Seymour, who raises a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh.
Mikhail Lim will play Seymour, having performed in many York shows, latterly starring as Sweaty Eddie in Sister Actand Dennie in Rock Of Agesat the Grand Opera House.
Lauren Sheriston, who made her York debut in the same year as Mikhail, will play Audrey after multiple appearances in York Stage shows as Molly in Ghost; a Diva in Priscilla Queen Of The Desert; Sherrie in Rock Of Ages and Rizzo in Grease at the Grand Opera House. She has made TV appearances in Emmerdale and Eternal Law too.
Emily Ramsden will be voicing Audrey II, the blood-thirsty plant, in a break with the ever-expanding role usually being voiced by a man. Emily has played Dragon in Shrek The Musical and Nancy inOliver! for York Stage and has performed across the world on cruise ships and maintained a busy career as a vocalist for function bands in the UK.
Hannah Shaw will make her York Stage debut as Crystal, joined in the trio of Urchins by Lucy Churchill as Chiffon and Cyanne Unamba-Oparah as Ronette. Cyanne has just returned home from various engagements in Europe and previously played Mama Bear in York Stage’s Shrek The Musical.
Darren Lumby’s York Stage debut as the Orin follows performances as Gomez in The Addams Family Musical and as the Prince in Into the Woods at the Grand Opera House. James Robert Ball returns to the stage after various contracts as a musical director to make his York Stage bow as Mr Mushnik.
York Stage favourites Jack Hooper, Katie Melia and Danny Western will make up the ensemble as well as controlling the puppetry for Audrey II.
After directing such shows as Calendar Girls The Musical, Elf, Steel Magnolias, Rock Of Ages, Ghost and Sister Act for York Stage, Nik says: “I’m so thrilled to be directing and producing Little Shop Of Horrors at the fabulous York Theatre Royal.
“It’s the first time York Stage has brought a show to this beautiful theatre and we can’t wait to share what we’ve been creating with our audiences. We have a tremendously talented cast who have been creating stunning work; I’m really excited to be bringing another brilliant show to the city for all to enjoy.
“Exploring this piece in the rehearsal room with the creative team and cast has been a thrilling task. Being 40 years old, the world in which we present the show has changed drastically to the one in which it was originally created, so we’ve been making sure we create a bold new production that honours the original while keeping it fresh for a new audience. It’s been a lot of fun! We aim to give audiences a night to remember.”
Joining Briggs, Hackshaw and Mullan-Hill in the production team are lighting designer Adam Moore, sound designer Joel Suter and hair & make-up specialist Phoebe Kilvington.
Performance times will be 7.30pm on July 14, 16 and 18 to 23; 2.30pm, July 16 and 23; 4pm and 8pm, July 15. Tickets cost £15 upwards on 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.