Prepare to step back in time this weekend as Lawrence University Musical Productions (LUMP) presents “Little Shop of Horrors.”LUMP is an LUCC funded student organization that promotes and performs Broadway musical productions. In the past, musicals were produced by the school only every other year, and LUMP was founded in order to ensure that a musical would be performed every year. All aspects of the production are student-controlled, including direction, lighting design, and more. Faculty advisors include Prof. Tim Troy, Dave Owens, Rich Frielund.
Auditionees for “Little Shop” prepared one song from the standard musical-theater repertoire, followed by a cold reading from the show. Over 50 students auditioned for a cast of only 16. Rehearsals began during 10th week of second term, and were held five days a week for three hours at a time.
The musical is based on the original film version of “Little Shop of Horrors,” a black-and-white movie from 1960. The success of the musical inspired the 1986 film version, starring Rick Moranis, that most are familiar with. According to director Jacob Allen, ’04, “The musical differs from the film in many respects, the most important being the ending. There are also two new songs that do not appear in the movie. We have preserved the musical version.”
Of course, a student-operated production differs in several ways from a faculty-produced show. Traditionally, younger actors begin their theater career in LUMP productions, and of course, working with peers always presents unique challenges. Also, Allen has been responsible for a host of jobs, including producing, directing, music directing, and scenic and sound design.
Naturally, Allen has not had to go it alone. He has had the help of the rest of the student production team, which includes: Allison Lauber, choreographer; Jenn Burns, stage manager; Kate Kirkland, assistant stage manager; Julie Stroinski, costume designer; and Adam Schwoerer, lighting designer. The theatre faculty also helped to realize the show. Allen spent second term working with Prof. Frielund on a tutorial in set design. Prof. Troy helped with script analysis, and Prof. Owens gave technical assistance.
One of the most unique features of “Little Shop” is the character Audrey II, who is an overgrown, talking, carnivorous Venus’ flytrap. In the LUMP production, Audrey II is represented by three different puppets, each one a little bigger as Audrey II grows up. The voice is supplied by junior Charlie Christenson, while the puppet is operated by Elizabeth Florek. Freshman cast member Paris Brown remarks that “Elizabeth has the worst job of anyone. Every time she crawls out of that puppet she is just soaked with sweat. We all give her huge cheers at the end of every rehearsal.”
Last, it should be noted that this production includes a few guest appearances from some campus celebrities, including President Rik Warch. Hopefully, that will help to entice you to join LUMP in their presentation of “Little Shop of Horrors.”
“Little Shop” plays Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. in the Cloak Theatre. Tickets are available at the Lawrence box office, 832-6749. Adults $10, Seniors $5, LU students and faculty are free.