The 1982 musical by Alan Menken (music) and the late Howard Ashman (book and lyrics) — which glories in the triple genres of cult, spoof and horror — will officially open Nov. 29 after previews that begin Nov. 17.
Ashman’s book is based on Roger Corman's 1960 movie “The Little Shop of Horrors” in which floral shop assistant Seymour discovers an exotic plant with a ravenous appetite for blood.
The carnivorous vegetable, which goes, eats and sings by the name of Audrey II, takes over Seymour's life and also has the urge for world domination. The show opened at Off-Broadway’s Orpheum Theatre in 1982 where it ran for over 2,000 performances. The musical made its Broadway bow in 2003.
Menken's score is rooted in sixties R&B and Mowtown and features such songs as “Suddenly Seymour,” “Downtown” and “Somewhere That’s Green.” The musical was made into a film in 1986 starring Steve Martin, Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene, who created the role of Audrey onstage.
At the Menier, comedy actor Sheridan Smith takes on the role of Audrey (after whom the plant is named). Smith is best known for her appearances in British television sitcoms and was also featured in this summer's Open Air Theatre productions of The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Paul Keating (Tommy, Don Carlos, Closer to Heaven) will play Seymour, and Barry James, who played Seymour in the 1983 West End version at the Coemdy theatre, the role of Mushnik.
Jasper Brittan (Japes, Becket and the RSC’s paired productions of Taming of the Shrew and The Tamer Tamed) plays the Dentist.
In Matthew White’s production, the voice of Audrey II will be provided by Mike McShane, while the non-vegetarian vegetable will be given a technical makeover to go with David Farely’s design.
White directed the Menier’s current musical The Last Five Years, and Farely is the award-winning designer of Sunday in the Park With George.
For more on Little Shop of Horrors, which is booking until Feb. 25, 2007, call (0)20 7907 7060.