I am not certain of many things in life, but I am absolutely 100% positive that Roger Corman, the pope of pop cinema, the low-budget king, the producer who gave people like Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, and countless others their start (he would tell then “Do a good job now and you’ll never have to work for me again”), never would have thought his 1960 black-and-white dark comedy, Little Shop of Horrors, would become a major part of his legacy as a theatrical musical.
With book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and a stunning rock musical score by Alan Menken, Little Shop of Horrors, The Musical has had an unbelievable run on Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, as well as community and regional theatres. I remember seeing it when it first premiered in the early 80s, Off-Off Broadway in a dive of a black box theatre. At the end of the show, streamers rained down from the light grid with pasted black-and-white photos of Audrey II’s victims. Watching the ending of A Contemporary Theatre of Connecticut’s (ACT) version and its stylish staging where the victims and Audrey II move out towards the front row of the audience section, I thought about how far we had come in theatrical advancement since the 80s – and, similarly, how far the show has come from a technological standpoint as well.
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