Director Vernon Poitras stays close to the original script in his presentation of “Little Shop of Horrors,” which opens next weekend at the Aux Dog Theatre Nob Hill.
Poitras, the owner and artistic director of The Enchanted Rose Theatre, works with a cast of nine in this comedic rock musical about an employee in Mushnik’s Flower Shop, located in skid row on New York’s Lower East Side, who raises a plant named Audrey II that feeds on human blood and flesh.
The story, which was written by Howard Ashman with music by Alan Menken, had a long run off Broadway in the 1980s before it was presented on Broadway. In 1986 Frank Oz created a musical movie version starring Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene and Steve Martin. The musical contains several well-known tunes including “Somewhere That’s Green” and “Suddenly, Seymour.”
Starring in the show co-produced by Aux Dog Theatre and The Enchanted Rose Theatre are Jessica Osbourne as Audrey and Tim MacAlpine as Seymour. All of the performers have been seen on Albuquerque stages in recent years.
“We use four different puppets to represent different stages of growth of the exotic potted plant Audrey II,” said Poitras. “Audrey II starts out in a small pot and eventually takes over one third of the stage by the end of the show.”
The music in the production is a directorial challenge, said Poitras, because there are 16 musical numbers in the show. Tunes are in the 1960s Motown style that requires three- and four-part harmonies.
“We have a live rock ensemble band,” he added. “There are five musicians playing electric guitar and percussion. The show is also heavy with lighting effects. There are 50 different lighting cues in this two-act musical. With this amazing cast and lively Motown rock and roll score, this is a show that theater-goers will not want to miss. It’s the perfect way to start your new year.”
Poitras designed the set to fit the Aux Dog Theatre, keeping in mind the design in the original Broadway production.
Formed by Poitras six years ago in Albuquerque, The Enchanted Rose Theatre has presented shows including “Deathtrap,” “Parted Waters,” “Same Time Next Year,” “Enchanted Holiday Cabaret” and “On Golden Pond.” Poitras directs many, but not all, of the shows. He’s also a veteran actor and longtime Albuquerque resident who has appeared in 80 productions during the past 22 years.