To May 27: Little Shop of Horrors – Gardening just got deadly!

The Greater Grand Forks Community closes its 69th season with Little Shop of Horrors, the musical.  Opening May 11, this campy little musical about a man-eating plant is directed by UND Theatre & English alum, Casey Paradies.  Casey returns to the Fire Hall Theatre, home to the Community Theatre, after his successful direction of last season’s The Drowsy Chaperone.  He also choreographs the show, which features music major Chris Feldmann as Seymour the floral shop clerk.

Katie Thomas serves as the musical director and pianist for the show. She is accompanied by Don Craig (saxophone), Mitch Geiger (percussion), and Spencer Black (guitar).

Brenna Skallet will “wow” audiences when she makes her debut on the Fire Hall stage as Audrey, and Calvary Lutheran Youth Director Aaron Bye plays the not-so-nice dentist. Frank J. Sikich, another UND alum, has the role of Mr. Mushnik, the florist.

The rest of the cast includes the “urchins” — Rebekah Brewer, Stefanie Chmielewski, and Kandis Pender. The ensemble consists of Tommy Mikkelson, Brooke Pesch, Olga Panchuk, Katie Thomas,Walter Lawson, and Katroya Weston.  Laura Nelson, Meg McGuire, Kaiya McGuire, Katie Lundeen help manipulate the puppets. Mare Thompson and Lynn Liepold provide the costumes for the show. Kara Kerr will run lights and sound.

Little Shop of Horrors has its challenges.  The stage will sport its first “revolve,” a set that turns like a “lazy Suzy,” built by Steve Forman and Joe Wack to C.J. Leigh’s design (Leigh is a UND student majoring in aviation education), making the most out of the small stage.

But that wasn’t the only challenge. The Community Theatre was going to produce the musical seven years ago but had to pull it when it learned how expensive it was to rent the four puppets that depict the man-eating plant.  However, this time the theatre was able to purchase the plants/puppets from a theater in South Dakota. C.J. Leigh, who gives voice to Audrey II the plant, drove down to Madison, S.D., with a U-Haul and pick-up truck to bring the puppets back to Grand Forks for the show.  Audrey II is so large she fills the stage of the Fire Hall.  Audience members are advised to keep their hands away from her mouth.

Tickets:  $18 and $15 for students, seniors, military members and visiting Canadians.  Please call 701-777-4090 to avoid ticket charges and reserve seats.

Show dates:  May 11-13, May 17-20, May 26 & 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Two special performances:

Mother’s Day Matinee, 5/14 at 2 p.m. — Mothers get in for just $15 when attending with their favorite child. Special surprises just for mom, too.

And a sing along show on May 20 at 10:30 p.m. Just $12 for everyone who mentions this article.