HTC kids bring flytrap to life in “Little Shop of Horrors”

HTC's Danny Caruso belts out "Grow for Me" as part of the opening act for this weekend's production of "Little Shop of Horrors" at Holy Trinity Catholic High School. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC


FORT MADISON – Ok …so… there’s like this really big 7-foot plant on the stage at Holy Trinity Catholic High School?….and it’s gonna eat some people.

In a spunky rendition of the cult 1986 rock musical Little Shop of Horrors, the HTC drama kids have a great time taming the manipulative alien Venus Flytrap ‘Audrey II’ in this weekend’s spring production.

Tickets are just $5 each and free for children under 10. The curtain goes up on Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

‘Audrey’, played by Claire Graham, and Ryan Otte’s ‘Mr. Mushnik’ discuss the current bleak state of the Mushnik Flower Shop, while a vagrant is passed out on the sidewalk outside on Skid Row in New York City. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Set on the rough Skid Row neighborhood in New York City, a struggling florist’s assistant finds a goofy plant he purchased from a Chinese gardener for a buck ninety-five on a full lunar eclipse. Unbeknownst to any human, the plant has grander designs, and a huge appetite for well…humans.

Danny Caruso plays the bumbling love-struck Seymour Krelborn pining for Audrey, a staffer at Mushnik’s Flower Shop. Claire Graham grabs the east coast slang-and-twang dialect nicely as she navigates a relationship with her mean-spirited dentist boyfriend Orin Scrivello, while secretly dreaming of a life with Seymour.

Things get out of hand after Seymour realizes blood and flesh make the plant, who’s brought a resurgence of success to the fledgling florist Mushnik, grow to more than hedge clippers can handle.

Ryan Otte hits the boisterous Mushnik on the button and Maille Sheerin, Jayde Watnauer and Annabelle Scheetz form the Greek Chorus and keep the music coming.

John Stinson plays Scrivello and Ali Robu voices the carnivorous Audrey II.

Other players include Wyatt Hellman, Mia Vradenburg, Rosie Strickland, Lulu Zhang, Elizabeth Ebbing, Sterling Barnes, and Rhett Fullhart.

Director Stewart Beyer said the three phases of “Audrey II” were obtained from Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School. The three versions of the plant from seedling to monster will be handled by Sterling Barnes and Alexis Stalcup.

“It’s actually going to eat three people this weekend,” Beyer said with a smile at Wednesday’s dress rehearsal.

He said the performance features 14 students and six back stage hands.

HTC Choral Director Stewart Beyer gets the cast and staff ready for dress rehearsal on Wednesday night. The production of “Little Shop of Horrors” kicks off Friday at 6 p.m. There are also shows Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

“It’s a pretty small number of kids involved and a very small cast. But every person that auditions always gets a part somewhere. This year is really neat because every single person has sort of a little feature or moment they get to be the spotlight performer. Even the very smallest role, which is pretty cool.”

He said the students had just seen the movie at the end of the year all together and they showed interest in doing it.

Beyer’s wife, Taylor, did the same play in high school so he looked at that performance and then went and watched it at another production after deciding to do it.

“It’s kind of like swinging the pendulum in a different direction. It’s fantastical like Wizard of Oz, but at the same time goes beyond that in terms of the psychedelic nature of the music and the plot itself,” Beyer said.

Tickets can be obtained from students or they can purchased at the door prior to the show.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: