sealPurdue News

September 11, 2002

Purdue Theatre presents "Little Shop of Horrors"

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue Theatre soon will launch its 2002-03 Mainstage Season with the musical "Little Shop of Horrors," by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken.

The play will run Sept. 19-29 in the Experimental Theatre, Stewart Center. Performances are at 8 p.m. Sept. 19-21 and 24-28. Matinees will be presented at 2 p.m. on September 22, 28 and 29.

In the play, romance blossoms between shy Seymour and bubbly Audrey, but they soon become more interested in the money-making potential of Seymour's new plant in the "Little Shop of Horrors." The money pours in and Seymour becomes a celebrity, but his plant's taste for blood leaves Seymour wondering if the plant has an agenda of its own. Songs include "Little Shop of Horrors," "Feed Me!" and "Suddenly Seymour."

"Little Shop of Horrors" features the work of guest artists Eric Sydnor, director; John Berst, music director; and Roberto Gallo, scenic artist. Sydnor and Berst both completed master of fine arts degrees at Purdue in 1999. Sydnor says his return to campus is a step back in time.

"It's especially strange for me, because I was just at my undergrad alma mater directing a show," Sydnor says. "I feel like I'm reliving my past history. Here it feels like more time has passed than really has, because the students don't remember me as a fellow student. At the same time, it's as though time hasn't gone by at all, because I'm here with John Berst, who was a member of my grad class."

Sydnor says he enjoys working with Berst.

"It's gratifying, because now we're in the position that we can pass on what we learned at Purdue," Sydnor says. "I like that the faculty trusts us with that kind of authority. It says that they feel that they have given us the tools to work professionally. I'm honored."

Sydnor says audiences should find "Little Shop of Horrors" quite entertaining.

"It has all the trappings of a big musical – chorus numbers, elaborate sets and beautiful costumes," Sydnor says. "In its time, it was experimental compared to other musicals, so it's an appropriate show for the Experimental Theatre. It's really quirky, but it's really enjoyable."

Sydnor says the musical is a favorite of many cast members.

"I think it's perfect for the students because it is such a small cast," Sydnor says. "Each of them is featured almost as if it were an ensemble musical. I also think they are getting a great education. It's a chance for them to put everything that they are learning at Purdue on stage. There's dialect work, movement, dance and singing. It's all there."

Berst says its unique qualities make "Little Shop of Horrors" one of his favorite musicals, as well.

"Its success is due in large part to the strength of its score, an homage to, and satire of, American musical theatre and its related musical forms," Berst says. "And of course, as New York Times critic Mel Gussow noted, 'This is a fiendishly musical creature feature.'"

Tickets for "Little Shop of Horrors" are $16 and $18 for the general public and $13 and $15 for senior citizens. Student tickets are $11 and $13. They may be purchased at the Loeb Box Office, Stewart Center, or by calling (765) 494-3933. Out-of-town patrons can call toll-free at (800) 914-SHOW. Tickets also are available online at Groups of eight or more can reserve discounted tickets by calling (765) 494-3084.

CONTACT: Lori Sparger, Purdue Theatre marketing director, (765) 494-3084,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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