Theatre Arts students at the University of Miami will take the stage to perform “Little Shop of Horrors” at the Ring Theatre this week. The musical, an adaptation of the 1986 film, tells of strange events unfolding in the most unlikely of places.
Young Seymour works at Mushnik’s florist shop on poverty-ridden Skid Row. The discovery of a new plant brings him fame, fortune and love—at a cost. Unable to resist the attention, Seymour must find out how to satisfy the plant’s unusual diet for human blood. Things turn deadly when Seymour realizes the consequences of his actions. From doo-wop girl groups to sadistic dentists to punk-rock plants, this musical is a mix of energy, chaos and dark comedy.
“Audiences can expect to laugh, to be surprised and to be moved,” said director Greg Brown. “They can expect to see the familiar, but also see things completely alien. It’ll be an adventure with plenty of surprises along the way.”
Notably, Brown chose to put a new spin on this classic story.
The University of Miami’s production is strategically set in Miami’s own Little Havana in the 1990’s. Add-ins like a Cafecito cart, a Miami-Dade County dumpster and Spanish ad-libbing bring this story close to home.
Rehearsals began in August and culminated in “tech week,” when performers and production crew rehearsed for up to 12 hours a day leading up to opening night. For the students, school productions are both job experience and a way of life. Many of the cast members are musical theatre majors pursuing careers in performance.
Carlos Guerrero plays Seymour Krelborn in “Little Shop of Horrors,” his third show at the University of Miami. Guerrero is a junior majoring in musical theatre and connects with his role on a personal level.
“I feel like there’s a part of Seymour that lives inside me. His dorky, sweet, shy, thoughtful self,” Guerrero said. “I love this character because he’s not your typical hero.”
The cast and crew said their production aims to represent diversity and reflect on today’s society.
“They [cast members] represent a diverse and dynamic swath of the University community,” said Greg Brown. “‘Little Shop of Horrors’ tells the story of a group of disenfranchised people struggling to make their way in a world that offers them little to no opportunity to seek a better life. That feels pretty 2019 America to me.”
“Little Shop of Horrors” will run September 26-29 and October 1-5. Performances are Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tickets are on sale at the Ring Theatre Box Office at the University of Miami.
words_emmalyse brownstein photos_jenny abreu