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HDA’s Little Shop of Horrors Dazzles in Walker

HDA’s Little Shop of Horrors Dazzles in Walker

HDA’s Little Shop of Horrors Dazzles in Walker


The murderous plant, Audrey 2, is visible just behind leads Seymour and Audrey.

Contributing Writer

November 15, 2023

Ira Buch '25

On Friday, November 10, Little Shop of Horrors, Hotchkiss Dramatic Association’s (HDA) fall production, opened its weekend-long run in Walker Auditorium to a packed house. 

Little Shop of Horrors was first released in 1960 as a B-rated horror movie. It was adapted into a musical in 1982 by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. 

Mr. Derek Brashears, director of theatre, aimed to evoke the film’s original aesthetic in the production. Replicas of period advertisements and horror movie posters from the 1950s and 60s lined the auditorium. 

The story occurs in a plant shop owned by Mrs. Mushnik (Anji Ashaye ’24) located in the marginalized community of Skid Row. During a total eclipse, the protagonist, shop assistant Seymour (Jack McCarthy ’26), discovers a strange plant (Kristian Maxwell-Wimberly ’25) that grants him fortune and fame in return for being fed human blood and flesh. 

However, Seymour soon runs out of his own blood to feed the plant, and resolves to murder Audrey’s (Addie Cirulis ’25) abusive boyfriend, Orin Scrivello, D.D.S. (Nick Barrata ’24). After Orin Scrivello accidentally asphyxiates himself, Seymour feeds him to the plant. Eventually, Mushnik, Audrey, and Seymour all become victims of the plant’s appetite, symbolizing the tragic consequences of unchecked ambition and greed. 

One notable feature of the play was the evolution of Seymour’s plant. The plant first appeared as a coffee can-sized puppet, which was built from a wire shell and fabric.

When Seymour placed the plant on the counter of the flower shop, Maxwell-Wimberly operated the movement of the plant’s mouth from underneath the counter with a hook and string. 

A larger version of the plant was built into the walls of the flower shop. Maxwell-Wimberly was able to emerge from and sit within this larger design. As the characters were “eaten” by the plant, they slid down a hidden slide built between the three back walls. The play also featured a live band on a catwalk above the stage. 

Professional musicians accompanied Allessandro Araujo ’26 on the keyboard and Julia Cooper ’25 on bass. 

Amalia Sardinha ’25, who worked on the technical crew for the production, said, “This play was definitely my favorite tech experience. The show’s unique concept allowed us to be more creative with technical elements like set changes and special effects. The music was also fantastic, and having the band on the stage platform really adds to the energy.” 

Ms. MK Lawson, instructor in theatre and director of the musical, said, “The HDA board was interested in a story that had moral ambiguity, and Little Shop of Horrors fit this bill very well. There are characters that make you wonder what you would do in their position—and the answer is never simple.” 

Addie Cirulis ’25, who played Audrey— the female lead, employee in Mushnik’s Flower Shop, and love interest of the protagonist—said, ““I hope that audiences got more out for this show than they were expecting. The show is funny and entertaining at surface level, but contains important messages that I hope resonate with the student body.” 

Abby Broome ’25, who played Chiffon, one of the three narrators of the musical, said, “Everyone in the cast is incredibly talented and passionate about the work that we have done to make this musical possible. The large number of people who showed up on Friday night was unexpected. While performing was quite nerve-wracking, the support of the audience cheered us up. We are all thrilled to finally enjoy the culmination of our efforts and be able to share this with the community!” 

After the show, audience member Abigail Gugsa ’24 said, “The performance was absolutely amazing—not only the singing, but also the set design and the music were spectacular.” 

Auditions for the Winter play, A Raisin in the Sun, will be held on Monday, November 13. Sign-ups are posted in the hall outside the Theatre Office.

Ira Buch is a contributing writer for The Record.

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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