‘Little Shop’ opens spring theater season at Longwood

Published 3:06 am Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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It starts with a plant, which seems like a good idea since we’re so close to Spring. But the Longwood theater production of Little Shop of Horrors goes a bit beyond what you normally expect from the beloved musical. Produced in conjunction with the university’s music department, this rendition of Little Shop may bring you back a few times. 

First off, let’s go through the details. For anyone who’s never heard of it, Little Shop of Horrors is a musical comedy about a florist who accidentally raises a plant that feeds on humans. The original movie, now a cult classic, came out in 1960, with the musical version debuting in 1986. 

And here we have Longwood’s version of the story, which features a mix of romance, horror, music, and comedy. The show, which we saw during rehearsals, takes place almost entirely in the ‘Little Shop’, with students moving throughout the stage, performing musical numbers. If you know the original story, you’ll see a bit of a twist here, as Director RJ Magee has flipped the genders of certain characters in this rendition. 

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For fans of the musical or people who have never seen the show, the students’ commitment to bringing the music alive and their talent will be enough to exhilarate you with encouragement to join the chorus. As Frank Cardella plays the dentist, one of the most intimidating and hilariously over-the-top characters in modern musicals, he gives a terrifying vibe to the role, fully leaning into the performance.

The man-eating plant Audrey II, performed by Natalie Masaitis, begins as a delightfully fun on-set puppet, but quickly blooms and morphs into a full-bodied character. Natalie Masaitis will blow you away with her dancing and singing, but captivate you by the way she enhances Audrey II. The romance had just the right amount of twists and turns without too much. Aiden Brown who plays Seymour and Alicia Foyes who plays Audrey have profound chemistry as their characters. 

When can I see ‘Little Shop’?

The show runs this week, Wednesday, Feb. 21 through Saturday, Feb. 24. That’s from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night at the Main Stage Theater in the Communications Studies and Theatre Arts Center at Longwood University. There will also be a matinee show Sunday, beginning at 2 p.m. 

Tickets can be bought through the Longwood Arts Box Office in the Communications Studies and Theatre Arts Center or online. Tickets are $8 for Longwood students, $10 for senior citizens and Longwood faculty/staff, and General admission is $15. 

Who’s in the cast? 

We’ve mentioned some of them, but here’s a breakdown of everyone from cast members to behind the scenes workers in this version of Little Shop

Director: Professor RJ Magee

Musical Director: Dr. Christopher Swanson

Choreographer: Professor Jill Bradley

Set Designer: Professor Scott Chapman

Costume Designer: Emma Masaitis

Technical Director: Clint Wright

Audrey: Alicia Foyer

Seymour: Aidan Brown

Audrey II: Natalie Masaitis 

Dentist: Frank Cardella

Mr. Mushnik: Shawn Winder

Urchins: Raine Bence, Cierra Yuille, Kailyn Snyder, Maya Hoffman

Ensemble: Emma Shepperson, Devin Joseph, Quinn Kukk