Kerry Butler Offered Role of Audrey in Broadway Little Shop of Horrors

News   Kerry Butler Offered Role of Audrey in Broadway Little Shop of Horrors Kerry Butler, who is currently starring as Penny Pingleton in the runaway hit Hairspray, has been offered the lead role of Audrey in the upcoming Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors.

Kerry's agent confirmed to Playbill On-Line that the ever-busy actress-singer is currently in negotiations to star as the ditzy plant-shop worker with a heart of gold. Butler would continue to star in Hairspray through the end of July, when rehearsals for Little Shop's Broadway debut are scheduled to commence. It's been a busy time for Butler, who was also cast in a TV pilot for the FOX Network. That pilot, however, was not picked up for the upcoming season.

Butler would replace Tony nominee Alice Ripley, who starred in the pre-Broadway engagement of Little Shop of Horrors at the Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, FL. That production, which also starred Hunter Foster as Seymour, had been scheduled to arrive at Broadway’s Virginia Theatre July 16 prior to an Aug. 14 opening. During the out-of-town run, however, those dates were canceled, and a new director — Jerry Zaks — was hired to replace Connie Grappo. In a statement, producer Marc Routh said at the time, “We feel an obligation to everyone involved with Little Shop, and to the ticket-buying public, to insure that the work we present on Broadway represents the best work we can do. In spite of the great number of talented people involved, the elements of this production did not come together in the way we would have liked.”

As of press time, there has been no official casting announcement for the Alan Menken-Howard Ashman musical. A recent New York Times article lists Oct. 9 as the musical's official opening at the Virginia Theatre.

Kerry Butler has starred on Broadway as Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Eponine in Les Misérables and Ms. Jones in Blood Brothers. Off-Broadway she was seen in Bat Boy The Musical, The “I” Word, Prodigal and The Folsom Head. Butler’s screen credits include “Borough of Kings,” “Campfire Stories,” “One Life to Live,” “Second Honeymoon,” “Another World,” “Hometown” and “Sesame Street.”

* The original production of Little Shop of Horrors opened at the old WPA Theatre in Chelsea and then transferred to the Orpheum Theatre in 1982, where it stayed for 2,209 performances. Ashman, who died on March 14, 1991, directed the piece. Edie Cowan was choreographer. The musical, which boasts such tunes as "Suddenly Seymour," "Downtown" and "Somewhere That's Green," was made into a 1986 film starring Ellen Greene as Audrey, Rick Moranis as Seymour, Vincent Gardenia as Mushnik and Steve Martin as Orin, the dentist.