Songs by writer Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken, the creative team for such Disney classics as “Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast,” helped to make “Little Shop of Horrors” into a long-running, off-Broadway hit.
East Stroudsburg University’s department of theatre will present the rock musical Wednesday through Sunday, April 19-23, in the Smith-McFarland Theatre of the university’s Fine and Performing Arts Center, Normal and Marguerite streets in East Stroudsburg.
With songs like ‘”Somewhere That’s Green” and “Suddenly, Seymour,” Ashman and Menken blend early 1960s rock and roll, doo-wop and Motown to enliven this comedy/science fiction story of a hapless florist shop worker who raises a very unusual and unnerving plant.
“For this musical, the choreography is just as important as the music in defining the world of the play,” explained Margaret J. Ball, the musical’s director and professor and chair of theatre at ESU. “Luckily, one of our department’s alumni, Tara Coyle, was available to join the creative team for the production.”
Coyle, an Easton native, has been dancing since she was 4. After graduating from ESU in 2004, she moved to Florida where she performed in local and regional theatre and also choreographed several productions before returning to the Lehigh Valley.
To develop the choreography, Coyle “listened to the music hundreds of times” and put together 30 pages of choreography notes. Since Little Shop is set in the early 1960s, I need to use the movement style from that time, but I also want to add a modern flair to the production,” Coyle added. “For example, the choreography for the street urchins, the narrators of piece, combines the Supremes with a little Beyoncé.”
In the song, “Ya Never Know,” Coyle noted, “you can hear bits of the cha-cha and mambo, so I mixed those elements with a 1960s conga line and added some simple salsa to give it a modern twist.”
According to Destiny Washington, a senior who plays Crystal, one of the street urchins in the production, Coyle’s choreography “features clean dance moves. She also encourages us to add our own sass and flair to really make the movements part of our characters.”
Curtain times for the production are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, April 19-21; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22; and 2 p.m. Sundday, April 23. General admission is $12; $10 for senior citizens, faculty and staff with ID; $7 for students with ID; $5 fir kids 13 and younger are $5. The production is recommended for ages 10 and above.
Tickets are available online in advance at esu.edu/theatretickets (credit cards only). Remaining tickets are available at the box office one hour before curtain on performance dates (cash and checks only at the box office).
For other information or reservations, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 570-422-3483.
On the front page, from left: Victoria Silva, Abigail Witt and Destiny Washington star.