Introducing Little Shop of Horrors: FHC’s 2017 Musical


Although this year is steering off the typical course of Disney princesses for the musical, the show Little Shop of Horrors’ potential is being held just as high as the rest. With such a small, tight-knit cast, chemistry both on and off the stage is better than ever.

“The cast I want to say is 30 maybe 31,” senior Emily Toppen said, “smaller than it has been. In past years, we go anywhere from 60 to 80. My freshman year we had 80 kids in the musical, so it’s definitely a lot smaller. The cast itself is large for the show, we added a lot of chorus into it, just to get a lot of the kids’ more experience, and because of the amount of talent we had come out originally.”

Due to the small cast, they are challenged with the audience turnout at each show. With a larger cast, there are families, relatives, and of course, friends of the talent that come to see the show. However, because it is an unfamiliar show to most people at school, perhaps they will have a larger turnout.

“It starts off on skid row, which is the worst of the worst places to be, and it’s this inner city. Everyone is struggling to survive, and you meet Seymour,” Emily said. “He is this nerdy, little, plant shop guy who came from an orphanage, and Mr. Mushnik, the plant shop owner, took him in when he was a child, gave him food to eat, and made him work for him, with every other Sunday off. Seymour is really struggling to get by. Seymour, one day, finds this mysterious, little plant, and this plant ends up being something much larger than what anyone could have ever imagined, and it impacts all the characters in such a different way. It also deals with domestic violence, romance, and chasing your dreams; all that good stuff.”

Senior Jake Lohrke will be playing Seymour, whose love interest is Audrey, played by junior Caroline Whyte. When he meets the plant and tells it about his deep infatuation with Audrey, the plant comes up with an “albeit, strange way to help him accomplish this.” This plant will also be played by someone outside of the school.

“The plant itself, like the prop, we are actually renting out,” Emily said. “There are four different ones, because the plant grows throughout the show and it’s really hard for the kids to line up when the puppet moves, because there is someone inside the puppet when the voice is speaking. Jeremiah, the guy we brought in, played Jean Valjean [in Les Mes], I think three or four years ago, and he is the nicest, most talented guy I’ve ever heard. The way his voice and Jake’s line up is truly magic, we just love the two of them together.”

The entire cast has a lot of chemistry due to the smaller size since it doesn’t have as many major roles as the Disney princess musicals that are typically done. This also brings up the question, why do something other than Disney princesses when it provides more roles and a larger audience?

“The Disney princesses have brought us a lot of success,” Emily said. “My last three years have been Beauty and the Beast, Once Upon a Mattress, and The Little Mermaid. But we really wanted to do something different, to give the high school audience a different type of show that isn’t well known. I think everyone is going to like the dark comedy and the more serious tone that the students bring to it.”

However, with a more complex musical comes great maturity and responsibility among the cast. From what has been heard, they have been training hard.

“We are usually at school rehearsing from 3-6, but in March, when we move to the Fine Arts Center, rehearsals typically go from 3 to sometimes 11 pm,” Caroline said. “I run my songs and lines a lot outside of rehearsals too.”

Jake commented on the matter as well, saying that he “makes it a habit of reading the whole thing through at least once a night to keep lines memorized.” With this being Jake’s first musical and having a lead role, it is assumed that there is some added pressure.

“I’ve always wanted to be in a show, I was just too nervous to audition before,” Jake said. “Half the reason I even got on stage was because of my good friend [senior] Sam Ovens, who has been a joy to watch perform in his past shows. [He] encouraged me to audition when I initially told him I wanted to.”

Due to the dark comedy and the domestic violence that the musical deals with, the musical was not promoted to the elementary school like it normally has been in years passed.

“The show is different this year just because it deals with issues like domestic violence especially, and it is a darker show, so we didn’t promote it to the kids,” Emily said. “We wanted that to be up to the parents, [and to] let it be their choice and not to force it on their kids. So we’re really aiming more for middle school and high school. But little kids are welcome if their parents feel comfortable with it.”

With possible success less than a month away, everyone in The Little Shop of Horrors cast is hoping for a great turnout from students, faculty, relatives, and family. Opening night is Thursday, March 16th and will show again on Friday the 17th and Saturday the 18th.

“I think that anyone who comes out to the show will gain an appreciation for Little Shop and be introduced to a different “genre” of theater that FHC hasn’t ventured into,” Caroline said. “It is definitely going to be a fantastic show that will be worth watching. Our production crew is hard at work, fitting all of the tricky puzzle pieces together to bring FHC the best show possible.”