Skid Row Comes to the Miramonte Stage

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P. Michel

The Little Shop of Horros cast and crew.

Katie Hoskins, Editor-in-Chief

Tonight and tomorrow night, the Miramonte Drama and Music departments will present their final performances of Alan Menken’s Little Shop of Horrors in the theater.

Students have been rehearsing since mid-January, perfecting the complicated songs and choreography before opening night. The show follows Seymour Krelborn, an orphan on Skid Row who works at Mushnik’s Flower Shop, played by sophomore Samuel Shain. Following a strange solar eclipse, Seymour encounters a new and interesting plant, called the Audrey Two, voiced by senior Toran Davenport, which has a taste for a strange, yet ubiquitous material. Seymour must balance newfound fame and fortune, a romance with his co-worker Audrey, played by sophomore Tosca Maltzman, and caring for the plant.

Throughout the show a group of Skid Row dropouts colloquially known as the Doo Wops, a fiendish, yet humorous dentist (played by senior Ryan Coletta) and a collection of ensemble members lend their talents to bring the downtown hard working atmosphere to life.

Though the upbeat songs and dark comedic atmosphere may be new to current students, this is not Miramonte’s first time producing the show. Twelve years ago, director and current drama teacher Heather Cousins took on the production, which was performed in the gym when most current Matadors were just toddlers.

“It wasn’t really a good theater space,” Cousins said. “So I always thought that someday I’d like to take it on again. Then some of my students saw it at the Lesher Center last year, and loved it, which reminded me to do the show.”

This year however, the stage-spanning set is completely new and different, as well as the unique atmosphere only a group of students producing a show could provide. “Anytime you have actors, they bring in something new to the show. You get a new dynamic and energy, making it impossible to replicate the previous show,” Cousins remarked.

Musical auditions were open to any students enrolled in either a choir or drama class at Miramonte. Traditionally, lead roles are reserved for upperclassmen. But in recent years, the cast list has not been based on seniority, but how well students perform in the audition and callback process.

“In call backs, we were given a song and 25 minutes to learn it,” Shain said. “We were also given sheets of paper and a few minutes to read it over before performing for Ms. Cousins and Ms. Perdue.”
Each year the musical involves three types of rehearsal: acting, dancing and singing, and most of the cast will admit choreography and singing are the most challenging. One of the most upbeat and catchy songs, “Mushnik and Son” (performed by Shain and junior Daniel Cook as Mr. Mushnik) requires the most energy and focus to perform.

“The choreography is very demanding and requires full attention. But I also need to remember that there are 200 some people in the audience watching my every move, so I still have to worry about my acting at the same time,” Shain said.

Members of the cast also contributed to the show by helping build the set and collect props vital to the performance. For the past few weekends, students have been working on the elaborate set, using power tools, painting, scrambling up and down ladders and experiencing every step of the process hands-on.

However, many props and set pieces, including the elaborate Audrey II puppets, operated by freshmen Max Hunt and Jesse Epstein, were rented for the show from Hercules High School.
Cousins and the cast encourage students and parents to check out the show tonight or tomorrow, no matter how old you may be.

“I’m bringing my three year old, with plenty of parental guidance,” Cousins said. “As long as everyone remembers that plants don’t really eat people, and that it’s only pretend, even the kids should be fine.”
Cousins did state that certain humorous pieces of the show might go over kids’ heads, but the funny lyrics and acting can be enjoyed by all.

The show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online on the Miramonte webstore for a discounted price or at the door for $12.

Want to know more? Check out the cast and crew’s version of the Harlmem Shake here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpGVKrg2jQk&feature=youtu.be