Little Shop of Horrors is a horror comedy rock musical with music by Alan (‘Disney’) Menken and lyrics and a book by Howard Ashman. The story follows a hapless florist shop worker who raises a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh. The musical is based on the low-budget 1960 black comedy film The Little Shop of Horrors and pays homage to (whilst gently making fun of) the low-budget US sci-fi horror film genre of the 1950s and 60s. The music, composed by Menken in the style of early 1960s rock and roll, doo-wop and early Motown, includes several well-known tunes, including the title song, “Skid Row (Downtown)”, “Somewhere That’s Green”, and “Suddenly, Seymour”.
The musical premiered Off-Off-Broadway in 1982 before moving to the Orpheum Theatre Off-Broadway, where it had a five-year run. It later received numerous productions in the U.S. and abroad, and a subsequent Broadway production.
The London West End production opened on October 12, 1983 at the Comedy Theatre, produced by Cameron Mackintosh. It ran for 813 performances, starring Barry James as Seymour and Ellen Greene (reprising her role from the US version) as Audrey. It received the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical and closed on October 5, 1985. The musical was also made into a 1986 film of the same name, directed by Frank Oz, though beware if using this as your show reference as there are significant cast, song and story ending differences.
Because of its small cast and relatively simple orchestrations, it has become popular with community theatre, school and other amateur groups. It is unusual as a musical as most of the senior characters do not reach the end of the show alive and there is no happy ending!! There are lots of smaller parts too and we’ll be maximizing opportunities for the chorus.
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