A Little Shop Goes a Long Way


Ava Parr

The cast rehearses “Skid Row,” one of their first number.

The SHS theatre department will be holding an in-person production for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just as most SHS activities were forced to halt to preserve public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, the SHS theatre department was hit quite hard. A school activity that relies on singing, dancing, acting, and an in-person theater experience had to find ways to adapt. In spring 2021, they presented “The Addams Family” musical virtually, and that summer, through Aligning Stars Theatre, a program that many SHS theatre actors are involved with, they performed “Godspell” the musical in Veterans Memorial Park. However, as things are slowly returning to normalcy, the theatre department is ready to return to the spotlight
They will be performing “Little Shop of Horrors,” a dark comedy musical based loosely on a film of the same name from the 60s. A magical plant promises hapless florist Seymour that he will grant him anything he wants …in return for human blood. Naming the plant Audrey 2, after his crush and coworker Audrey, he provides what the plant wants. Life seems to be going great for Seymour, until he starts to become suspicious of the plant’s intentions.
The production will run Oct. 29 to 31, Halloween weekend..
The SHS theatre department’s director DeeDee Bouzek teaches stage movement and oversees a majority of the production. She works along with her assistant Natalie Norlin, music coordinator Bryce Sanvillie, and set director Jack Trotter.
Bouzek elaborates on the plot and how it will be produced.
“Coming into this year, we didn’t know what to expect for interested actors, so we chose a show that could be done with eight people successfully. I love this show. The music is fantastic and I knew we had the singers to do a rock musical. Once we knew the show would fall on Halloween, we knew the show would be perfect. […] It favors movies like the 1950s horror films like ‘Swamp Thing’ or ‘Creature”’from the ‘Black Lagoon,’” Bouzek says.
The plant will be represented a little differently than most productions, Bouzek promises.
“Traditionally the plant is played by a giant puppet. You only hear the actor’s voice. I have opted to change that up a bit. I wanted to see the person playing the plant, so we have been experimenting with ways to bring the plant to life while sticking to the story. I have stage craft and puppetry experience, so it has been a fun project. I think it will be unlike anything people have seen.”
Junior Belinda Akale, who plays the one and only carnivorous alien plant, Audrey 2, speaks on how the role interests her.
“Audrey 2 speaks to me as an African-American gospel singer,” Akale says.
The cast has been able to interact much more than their last couple distanced or virtual shows, and rehearsals have been going well.
“I love getting to connect with my cast. We are a very fun and unique group of people, it’s never boring. Every day is different,” Akale says.
Bouzek is excited about her actors’ opportunity to have a live audience again.
“We still have to follow precautions with masks, and distancing, but having an audience will be great. Last year we did three virtual productions, two of which we filmed live, but an audience plays a vital role in theatre. It feeds the actors’ energy and encouragement.e really missed that,” Bouzek says.
Senior Anja Royko, who plays the beautiful and campy love interest Audrey, speaks on the impact the audience has on her performance.
“The energy from the crowd is always something to feed off of. Even though they are silent for a majority of the show, you can still feel their presence, and it’s electrifying. It’s very rewarding to hear the audience laugh at a choice you made and to hear the applause at the end of your song,” Royko says.
Bouzek appreciates the cast’s passion for this show.
“It’s a great and talented cast. This was the first show I ever directed at Stoughton twenty years ago, and it’s been great creating a new production. The words and songs may be the same, but this cast has breathed new life into them,” Bouzek says.
The musical will be performed in the SHS Performing Arts Center. A costume contest will also be held during intermission of the production, so people can feel free to come in costume. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. Tickets to the production are available at the door or online at showtix4u.com if you search Stoughton.