New Little Shop Starts Casting About

News   New Little Shop Starts Casting About A new casting notice for the Broadway premiere production of Little Shop of Horrors was issued June 3.

The notice lists Jerry Zaks as director, with Broadway previews beginning September 2003 prior to an opening the following month. All roles — Seymour, Audrey, Mr. Mushnik, Orin, Audrey II and Crystal, Ronnette and Chiffon — appear to be up for grabs.

Show spokesman John Barlow told the New York Times that Zaks is indeed holding auditions "for a possible production opening this fall." The Times also reported that Little Shop producers were holding on to Broadway's Virginia Theatre and had registered a new opening date of Oct. 9. Barlow did not confirm that account.

As reported on PBOL earlier this week, Little Shop producers canceled the Broadway run of the musical, which was currently playing a pre Broadway engagement at the Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, Florida. That production was scheduled to arrive at Broadway’s Virginia Theatre July 16 prior to an Aug. 14 opening. In a statement, producer Marc Routh said, “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.”

The Florida engagement was directed by Connie Grappo and starred Hunter Foster as Seymour, Alice Ripley as Audrey, Billy Porter as the voice of Audrey II, Reg Rogers as dentist-sadist Orin, Lee Wilkof as Mr. Mushnik, Dioni Michelle Collins as Crystal, Haneefah Wood as Ronnette and Moeisha McGill as Chiffon. The late, Emmy Award-winning actor Robert Stack ("The Untouchables") recorded a voiceover that opens the musical, which concludes its Florida run June 15.

The statement from the producers earlier this week said that they were currently in discussion regarding the possibility of "a newly conceived production" to open on Broadway later this year, with Jerry Zaks directing. The June casting notice seems to confirm this statement. The continued involvement of choreographer Kathleen Marshall and the current cast remains an open question. The Florida company was to have headed into the recording studio in late June. That session has been canceled.

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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.