Burlington High School junior Alex Robers, who plays Seymour in the school’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” performs puppetry while singing a tune during a recent dress rehearsal in the school auditorium. (Photo by Jason Arndt)

BHS production of Broadway hit to run for six shows over two weekends

By Jason Arndt

Editor

Burlington High School’s production of Broadway smash hit “Little Shop of Horrors” promises to deliver laughter and fun, said junior Alex Robers, who plays leading character Seymour Krelborn.

“People should expect a lot of fun, a lot of laughter, and just having a good time,” Robers said.

He is one of two students playing Seymour in the double-casted production with Joe Fox as the other actor.

The production, which premieres next weekend in the school auditorium, follows Seymour through multiple adventures.

Seymour, a meek floral assistant, stumbles across a bloodthirsty of plant he names “Audrey II” after his co-worker crush.

Co-Director Troy Everson said although the plant appears scary, it is not, and the production is tailored for people of all ages.

“Our plant, which is a puppet, does eat people, but it is not super scary,” he said. “We were concerned that some kids might think it was scary, but we staged it in a way that it is not.”

Seymour, meanwhile, takes this plant along for his journey and finds a family, host of friends and also the love of his life.

The love of his life, Audrey, is played by freshman Tia Morby and sophomore Gwen Busch.

Since late November, when the cast started rehearsing and practicing, Morby has found her first musical experience enlightening and challenging.

“It is really fun and we all end up getting really close,” she said. “Memorizing all of the songs is a challenge, but we just keep getting better and better.”

Tia Morby, a freshman, presents a musical number during a recent dress rehearsal in the Burlington High School. (Photo by Jason Arndt)

Lessons learned

Everson believes this year’s production offers a valuable life lesson.

The lesson, he said, involves staying in the present.

“There is a lesson to be learned as we go through this, is that it is probably not always best to keep searching for the better and just live in the moment,” he said. “Seymour teaches us that through his journey.”

Since the school lost several talented seniors to graduation last year, Everson said it gives newer students an opportunity to shine.

“They are a great group of kids to work with,” he said. “We lost a ton of talent when our seniors graduated last year, but these kids are stepping up and filling well.”

Last year, Burlington High School presented “Addams Family.”

Dozens involved

With a double cast, the production consists of more than 80 students, ranging from musicians, stage crew and actors.

The musicians perform under the direction of Co-Director Beth Reetz.

“We start working on the musical in November, right after Thanksgiving. Then we go from there up until production time,” Everson said.

Meanwhile, some of the cast and crew will be nominated for a Jerry Awards, which is a statewide honor for students who have shown excellence in theater.

“Our cast and crew have won numerous awards in the past. We are participating again this year,” he said.

Broad appeal

The production appeals to people of all ages, including children and senior citizens, courtesy of diverse music and special effects.

The musical features puppetry and Doo Wop.

“It appeals to little kids because there are puppets in it,” Everson said. “And it appeals greatly to grandparents because this is their music.”

The orange cast will perform on March 8, 10 and 16 while the black cast will take the stage March 9, 15 and 17.

Before arriving to the BHS auditorium, “Little Shop of Horrors” has been shown on the Broadway stage for 30 years.

Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, whose work has been featured on Disney films, are the creative team behind the musical.

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