HAMPTON — Winnacunnet High School’s drama club is bringing “Little Shop of Horrors” to the stage this weekend to put their spin on the popular horror comedy.
The lovably nerdy Seymour will be chasing the affection of his crush Audrey on the WHS auditorium stage while trying to satisfy the cravings of his carnivorous plant, Audrey II. Senior Jackson Clifford, who will portray Seymour, said the play has been a fun choice for the club.
“It’s definitely an experience like none I’ve had before,” Clifford said.
The play will run Friday, March 17, and Saturday, March 18, at 7 p.m., then again Sunday, March 19, at 2 p.m.
Patrick Moore, the school’s choral music director and who runs the program, said “Little Shop of Horrors” has been one of his favorite musicals since he went to see it in college. He said the play was chosen for its popularity to draw members of the community, as ticket sales were low since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
“We wanted another show that would fill seats again,” Moore said. The play was also chosen to match the talent of the students, who he said have done well with musicals recently.
The students are looking forward to playing iconic characters famously portrayed in the 1986 film adaptation by actors like Rick Moranis, Steve Martin and Ellen Greene. Clifford described Seymour as a refreshing change for him, having played characters in the past that were more mature and admittedly misogynistic.
“We did ‘Clue, and I was Professor Plum,” said Jackson, who described that character as kind of a “pervert.”
Seymour, Clifford said, is a little more relatable to himself – a little introverted, though still “out there.”
“He’s very nervous all the time, he’s clumsy, and he’s crazy, and he’s a hopeless romantic,” Clifford said.
The version of the play chosen by the WHS players is based on the 2003 Broadway revival, which Moore said is similar to the original but has an expanded pit orchestra. The plant named Audrey II (named by Seymour after his crush Audrey) is portrayed with four different-sized puppets to show its growth in size over the course of the show.
Students said they have watched other productions of the musical to compare different portrayals of the characters. Allison Hoffmeier, who plays Audrey, is excited to pull off her iconic New York accent and has enjoyed determining exactly how thick she should make it.
“It was uncomfortable to get into at first,” Hoffmeier said. “Definitely been trying to play around and figure out how much is too over the top, and also trying to keep her human.”
For the seniors, the production is a sendoff from a drama club they say has meant a lot to them in their high school years. Juliana Falzarano spent this play student-directing, something she hopes to go to college for after graduating from WHS.
Kat Pereira, who plays Chiffon, said she wishes she spent more time with the drama club and found it rewarding.
“I’ve only been in the program for two years,” Pereira said. “I’m really sad to go.”