Cruiser Theatre Company to present, “Little Shop of Horrors”

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Photo courtesy of Sarah Riley
The Groveport Madison High School Cruiser Theatre Company will present “Little Shop of Horrors” on April 12 at 7 p.m., April 13 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and April 14 at 2 p.m. at Groveport Madison High School, 4475 S. Hamilton Road.

Spring means the arrival of blooming flowers and fresh green plants, but theatrically there’s a certain plant that’s not so welcoming.

The Groveport Madison High School Cruiser Theatre Company will feature such a plant when it presents “Little Shop of Horrors” on April 12 at 7 p.m., April 13 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and April 14 at 2 p.m. at Groveport Madison High School, 4475 S. Hamilton Road.

“Little Shop of Horrors” is a popular musical comedy, based on a 1960 B-grade horror film of the same name. A strange and unusual plant seems like just the thing to save the troubled Skid Row flower shop and its unfortunate employees, Seymour and Audrey. But, when that plant turns out to feed on human blood along with plans of world domination, things get messy. With Grammy and Academy Award-winning songs, you’ll laugh and cringe at this darkly comedic horror musical.

“Little Shop of Horrors was chosen by our theatre staff because we want to connect the students to what can be known as a more ‘Golden Age’ musical,” said Director Sarah Riley. “We have a large community who love seeing shows at the high school and we wanted students to be able to learn about a well-known show, but bring new techniques to the performances.”

Riley said the biggest challenge with this show is the mechanics behind the plant.

“We have opted to go a non-traditional route by not using a puppet for the plant and instead having a student personify the plant combined with a designed set piece,” said Riley. “Both actors and stage crew will have to work together to make it a cohesive, entertaining show. Having a student portray the plant themselves brings a different feeling to the show; instead of a looming presence by a puppet, we allow a student to create that presence themselves and shine as a performer. The crew is also working to ensure that we still create the visual presence of the plant.”

One of the lead performers in the show is Payne Williams, who plays Seymour Krelbourne.

“This is Payne’s first lead role,” said Riley. “Aside from acting, he has stage-managed for us in the past. One of Payne’s biggest strengths is how open he is to critique. When he is given a note on how to play his character, or to change how he says something, he accepts it and almost always goes in the right direction. He is also a very trustworthy and kind person. He has fully accepted some of our newer members and tries to integrate them into group activities however he can.”

Another lead performer is Olivia Chaney, who plays Audrey.

“Olivia is a very dedicated performer,” said Riley. “Her strongest asset is her passion for what she loves. She is a very talented singer and one of our best actors. This year, she was selected to student-direct our ‘Play in a Day’ show, and she did a spectacular job. She is a well-known leader around the school as she partakes in many extracurriculars, along with theatre. Olivia loves what she does, and you can see it every time she is on stage. She carries an amazing presence and does a fantastic job of bringing characters to life.”

Andre Smith plays Audrey II (The Plant).

“Andre is a long-time member of our troupe, and he is so good at a myriad of things,” said Riley. “Even when he is not acting in a show, he does a lot for the troupe as our student publicist. He has made most of our posters for shows this school year and the year before. Andre’s biggest strength is his adaptability. He can learn just about anything and master it very quickly. For example, he did not start out playing Audrey II, but after our original student unexpectedly moved away, Andre stepped into the role and blew us away with his dedication to learning this new role.

Ashton Diendl plays Mr. Mushnik.

“Ashton is another long-time performer in our troupe,” said Riley. “He is a very well-rounded actor who can shine in any role he is put in. He really excels at bringing his own spin to his characters. We can also always count on him to have his lines memorized way before the rest of his cast, which has earned him the title of ‘Memorization Monarch’ many times. This is an award we give to two cast members who we have noticed doing an exceptional job at memorizing lines.”

Tickets can be purchased online at: https://www.onthestage.tickets/groveport-madison-high-school.

Presale tickets online are $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens/students; tickets may also be bought at the door $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens/students.

The show is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

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