LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS Book and lyrics by Howard Ashman : Music by Alan Menken Based on the film by Roger Corman OrpheumTheatre, Off-Broadway 27 July, 1982 (2209 perfs) Comedy Theatre London 12 October, 1983 (813 perfs) SYNOPSIS For years now Little Shop of Horrors has made New York audiences scream with laughter. In this gleefully gruesome musical Seymour, a poor florist's assistant, allows his craving for fame and fortune to seduce him into playing nursemaid to a man-eating plant. Goings on surrounding the growing plant's demand for more, more, MORE, are accompanied by witty parodies of sixties music. Between bites, the carnivorous Audrey II, named after Seymour's secret love, brings down the house singing rhythm and blues à la Otis Reading or James Brown! STORY Act I An offstage voice recalls a time when the human race “suddenly encountered a deadly threat to its very existence”. A trio of 1960s street urchins named Crystal, Ronette, and Chiffon set the scene (“Little Shop of Horrors”) and comment on the action throughout the show. Seymour Krelborn is a poor young man, an orphan living in an urban skid row. Audrey is a pretty blonde with a fashion sense that leans towards the tacky. They lament their stations in life and the urban blight in their neighbourhood (“Skid Row (Downtown)”). They are co-workers at Mushnik’s Skid Row Florists, a run-down flower shop owned and operated by the cranky Mr. Mushnik. Seymour has recently obtained a mysterious plant that looks like a large Venus flytrap. While he was browsing the wholesale flower district, a sudden eclipse of the sun occurred, and when the light returned, the weird plant had appeared (“Da-Doo”). Seymour, who is secretly in love with Audrey, names the plant Audrey II in her honour. The plant does not thrive in its new environment and appears to be dying. Seymour questions why it should be doing poorly, since he takes such good care of it. He accidentally pricks his finger on a rose thorn, which draws blood, and Audrey II’s pod opens thirstily. Seymour realizes that Audrey II requires blood to survive and allows the plant to suckle from his finger (“Grow for Me”). As Audrey II grows, it becomes an attraction and starts generating brisk business for Mushnik. As the caretaker of the plant, the timid Seymour is suddenly regarded as a hero (“Ya Never Know”), while Audrey secretly longs to leave her abusive boyfriend. Her dream is to lead an ideal suburban life with Seymour, complete with a tract home, frozen dinners, and plastic on the furniture (“Somewhere That’s Green”). Meanwhile, the employees at Mushnik’s are sprucing up the flower shop because of the popularity of the rapidly growing Audrey II and the revenue that it is bringing in (“Closed for Renovation”). Orin Scrivello, a sadistic dentist, is Audrey’s abusive boyfriend. Modelled after the “Leader of the pack” characters of the 1950s, Orin drives a motorcycle, wears leather, and enjoys bringing other people pain (“Dentist!”). Orin encourages Seymour to take the plant and get out of Skid Row. Realizing that his store’s sudden profitability is completely dependent on the plant (and therefore on Seymour), Mushnik takes advantage of Seymour’s innocence by offering to adopt him and make him a full partner in the business. Having always wanted a family, Seymour accepts, even though Mushnik has always yelled at him and treated him poorly (“Mushnik and Son”). However, Seymour is having difficulty providing enough blood to keep Audrey II healthy. When Seymour stops feeding the plant, Audrey II reveals that it can speak. It demands blood and promises that, if fed, it will make sure that all of Seymour’s dreams come true. Seymour initially refuses, disputing Audrey II’s claim that many people deserve to die, but he then witnesses Orin abusing Audrey. The plant presents this as a justification for killing Orin. Not realizing that he is being manipulated again, Seymour gives in to his baser instincts and agrees (“Feed Me (Git It)”).