Little Shop of Horrors Cancels Broadway Engagement

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
02 Jun 2003

Alice Ripley and Hunter Foster in <i>Little Shop of Horrors</I>.
Alice Ripley and Hunter Foster in Little Shop of Horrors.
Photo by Joan Marcus

The eagerly awaited New York-bound production of Little Shop of Horrors has canceled its Broadway run, a production spokesman announced early June 2.

The revival, which stars Alice Ripley and Hunter Foster, opened May 16 at the Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables. The New York production at the Virginia Theatre, which would have marked the musical's Broadway bow, was to have begun previews July 16 prior to an official opening Aug. 14.

Producer Marc Routh said in a statement, “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 producers are currently in discussion regarding the possibility of "a newly conceived production" to open on Broadway later this year, with Jerry Zaks directing. The current director is Connie Grappo.

The continued involvement of choreographer Kathleen Marshall and the current cast remains an open question. Grappo and Lee Wilkof, who plays Mr. Mushnik in the Florida staging, are married.



The company was to have headed into the recording studio in late June. That session has been canceled.

Previews began May 7. The show will continue until June 15 in Florida. Those who purchased advance tickets for the Broadway engagement should call TeleCharge at (212) 239-6200 to obtain a refund. Refunds will not be given automatically.

The cast of the new staging of the musical spoof of B-grade horror pictures includes Foster (as Seymour), 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.

The sudden cancellation of the Broadway run is reminiscent of the recent about face of another Broadway-bound revival, The Miracle Worker, which, despite the presence of Oscar-winner Hilary Swank as star, abruptly dropped New York plans after a North Carolina tryout failed to please producers.

*

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.