The Norman Transcript

February 14, 2014

Sooner Theatre brings blood, love and laughs to the stage

by Hannah Cruz
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Blood and flowers don’t usually go hand-in-hand, but for the Sooner Theatre’s upcoming production of “Little Shop of Horrors” it’s the perfect combination.

The tongue-in-cheek satire of old horror B-movies, performed by a cast of seventh to 12th grade students, follows assistant florist Seymour’s rise to fame after discovering an exotic blood-eating plant.

“It’s just a really good time,” Director Brandon Adams said. “There’s some shows that you go and there’s a powerful, poignant message. This is not one of them. If you’re just looking for a short, fun-filled, energy-packed evening this is a great way to do it.”

The musical, based off of the 1986 film of the same name, is set in a down-and-out skid row floral shop, Adams said. The shop becomes an overnight sensation after Seymour purchases the blood-eating plant with an insatiable appetite. As the plant, “Audrey II,” grows it transforms into an ill-tempered, R&B-singing carnivore who offers Seymour fame in exchange for bigger, better meals.

Incorporating live action with the plant puppetry offers a unique experience for theater-goers, Adams said.

“The first time the plant talks — even though everybody at this point knows the story, knows the movie, knows what to expect — there’s still something that when you’re in the theater and you hear this plant start talking it’s pretty cool, it’s pretty fun and an atypical theatrical experience,” he said.

Adams said the theater rented the man-eating plant puppet from the University of Oklahoma. The rental includes four separate puppets. The first, a hand-operated potted plant; the second is operated by Seymour as he carries the plant around; the third — when the plant first sings — has to be operated by a puppeteer from inside the plant; and the fourth is large enough to swallow its human meals whole.

The larger puppets include two-fold acting, Adams said, with a puppeteer controlling the plant’s movements and a singer offstage performing the plant’s lines.

The show’s music adds another element of fun, Adams said, with original work by Alan Menken — the brains behind the music of Disney favorites like “Tangled,” “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “The Little Mermaid.”

Katherine Lock, 18-year-old Norman North High School student, is playing Seymour’s love interest, Audrey, who also works in the floral shop. Lock said Audrey is a beat-down character that many audience members will find relatable.

“Audrey’s so insecure — everyone’s felt insecure or they’re not worthy of something and that’s where you can relate to Audrey specifically,” she said.

Adams said each performance will also include the “Doo Wop Revue” preceding show time. The review includes performances of standard doo-wop music with tight harmonies.

“It’s a full experience from the minute you walk in and that kind of gets everyone ready for this period piece,” Adams said.

“Little Shop of Horrors” and “Doo Wop Revue” performances are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 and March 1 and 2 p.m. March 1 and March 2 at the Sooner Theatre, 101 E. Main St. Tickets are $10, and can be purchased online at soonertheatre.com, by phone at 405-321-9600 or in person at the theater box office, 10 a.m. to noon and 2-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, as well as one hour prior to show time.

More information about these and other Sooner Theatre programs is available at soonertheatre.com or by calling 405-321-9600.

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.