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The Blood-Thirsty Audrey II Looks for her Next Victim in CPH's Production of Little Shop of Horrors

Posted December 17, 2015 in Press Releases

Broadway Sensation Lauren Molina to play “Audrey”

Jan. 9 – Feb. 7 in the Allen Theatre

Press Opening Night: Fri., Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

CLEVELAND, OH (December 16, 2015) Squeals of delight and blood-curdling screams of fright will fill the Allen Theatre as Cleveland Play House’s (CPH) Centennial Season continues with a humorous and heartfelt production of Little Shop of Horrors. Hearkening back to its very first productions in 1915 that featured sophisticated marionettes, CPH is bringing the cheeky and blood-thirsty plant Audrey II to life in a production that will be every vocal coach’s dream – and every hemophobic’s worst nightmare! Often described as a “comedy horror rock musical,” Little Shop of Horrors is based on the 1960 film The Little Shop of Horrors directed by Roger Corman. In 1982, the dynamic duo of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty & the Beast, etc.) transformed the story into an off-Broadway musical, which eventually landed on the big screen in the 1986 Frank Oz film starring Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene and Steve Martin. CPH’s production will bring this dark storyline to life with loads of gleefully twisted comedy and head-bopping doo-wop on the Allen Theatre stage Jan. 9 – Feb. 7. CPH’s generous sponsors include Centennial Season Sponsor KeyBank and Centennial Community Outreach Sponsor Dominion. Cleveland Play House is also grateful to the George Gund Foundation and the Cleveland Foundation for their generous support of the Centennial Season.

Set in a flower shop on Skid Row, Seymour is a nerdy floral clerk with a knack for plants, but not much else. However, one peculiar plant he’s tending might just be his ticket to fame, fortune - and the girl of his dreams. There’s only one teeny — but ‘growing’ — problem: This plant has an unquenchable thirst for the red stuff (type O, A, or B... he’s not picky). Mixing Motown, B-movies, and The American Dream, Little Shop of Horrors is the screamingly funny, out-of-this-world hit musical featuring indelible songs like "Skid Row (Downtown)," "Somewhere That's Green," and "Suddenly, Seymour.”

Little Shop of Horrors Cast

KEV ABRAMS (Puppeteer) is a puppeteer and builder of puppets, living in Ridgewood, Queens. He has had the opportunity to work with Hudson Vagabond Puppets, The Puppet Kitchen, Basil Twist, Midnight Radio Show, and the Bread and Puppet Theater. He also recently appeared in the upcoming feature film Manifest Destiny, for which he also designed many puppets.

ARI BUTLER (Seymour) is proud to be making his Cleveland Play House debut! Off Broadway: Melissa's Choice (Theater Row), Ethel Sings (The Beckett - Theater Row), Poetic License (59E59th Theaters), Old Jews Telling Jokes (Westside Theatre), Dreyfus in Rehearsal (The Beckett - Theater Row), Fugue (Cherry Lane Theatre). Regional: How to Succeed in Business (Drayton Theater Festival – Canada), title role in Disney's Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular (Hyperion Theater), Bye Bye Birdie (North Shore Music Theatre), Hair (Prince Music Theater), Beat Generation (Merrimack Rep, world premiere), Jeff Talbott’s The Submission (Olney Theatre). TV/Film: Blue Blood, Person of Interest and soon to appear in an upcoming Netflix series. He’s a graduate of NYU and a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. aributler.squarespace.com.

HALLIE BULLEIT (Urchin/Bassist) is a performing artist from New York City. She made her Broadway debut in Rent and also performed in the show's national tour with Neil Patrick Harris. Other New York credits include Stomp and the aerial spectacles, De La Guarda and Fuerza Bruta. Hallie currently plays in the house band for the critically acclaimed TV show, The Chris Gethard Show (Will Ferrell/Funny or Die, executive producers). As a singer, songwriter and bass player, Hallie has recorded and toured extensively with her bands, The Unlovables and Hiccup, and her songs have been heard everywhere from MTV to the Cartoon Network. @halliebulleit

LARRY CAHN (Mr. Mushnik) made his Broadway debut in The Music Man, directed by Michael Kidd and starring Dick Van Dyke. Other Broadway credits include Jerry Zaks’ Tony winning production of Guys and Dolls, Lincoln Center’s Anything Goes, The Graduate and Epic Proportions. On National Tour, he was seen in Elf, The Musical, Lend Me a Tenor and Ragtime. Off-Broadway performances in New York include Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh!, The Portable Pioneer and Prairie Show and the New York Musical Theatre Festival production of The Gig (Outstanding Individual Performance Award). Regionally, Larry created roles in The Great American Mousical, directed by Julie Andrews, Johnny Pye and the Foolkiller, The Predators’ Ball, and The Rhythm Club. Other regional roles include The Pirates of Penzance, Annie, La Cage Aux Folles, The Addams Family and The Golden Land. On film and television, Larry’s credits include The West Wing, Grey’s Anatomy, Without a Trace, Law and Order, L&O SVU, Freedom Writers and Lost Angeles. Proud member of Actors’ Equity.

BRITTANY CAMPBELL (Urchin/Guitarist) Broadway: The Civil War, A Christmas Carol. Off-Broadway: For the Last Time, Applemondo's Dreams, Born Blue. Regional: Caroline or Change, Once on This Island. Opera: Eugene Onegin, Stiffelio, Rusulka (Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center). TV: Third Watch, Sesame Street, Nick Nation Sports & Games. Recordings: “Nerd” (2011 Ourstage Award, Best Pop Vocalist), “Black Summer”, “Heroes”. Training: Carnegie Mellon University.brittanycampbellmusic.com. Love you Mom, T.C., Shayne, and of course, B-rad!

EDDIE COOPER (Voice of The Plant) Raised in Hell's Kitchen NYC, Eddie is a proud graduate of LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts and holds a BFA from Ithaca College. He was recently seen in Encores! Off-Center's production of Little Shop of Horrors playing the role of Audrey II and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at Two River Theater. Television: ABC's Forever, recurring on Cinemax's Banshee and the soon to be released HBO series Crime. A big thank you to everyone at Judy Boals, Inc! Love and thanks to his amazing family and friends. @MrEddieCooper

KATE FERBER (Assistant Musical Director/Urchin/Keyboardist) Recent credits include: One Child Born: The Music of Laura Nyro, her one-woman original show at A.R.T. and Joe's Pub at the Public Theater; Off-Broadway's Sleep No More; Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, written by John Mellencamp and Stephen King, with musical direction by T Bone Burnett, both on tour nationally and at the Alliance Theatre. Other credits include The Daughters (CAP21), Our Aneid (Dixon Place), and Deep Cover (NYMF). Kate is a recipient of ASCAP's Desmond Child Anthem Award for songwriting, and will be releasing an album of original music in early 2016. She has performed on such New York City stages as Lincoln Center, The Beacon Theatre, 54 Below, and Rockwood Music Hall. kateferber.com.

INJOY FOUNTAIN (Urchin/Drummer) was recently seen in the off-Broadway production of The Astronaut Love Show. She also just got back from performing Rent at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland under the direction of Anthony Rapp. Regional credits include Godspell, Music Man and Shrek the Musical. She was a part of the Fat Camp production in Cleveland. She is in a band with 2-time Tony nominee Condola Rashad! You can purchase the album on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify! Sit back, relax, and Injoy the show!

LAUREN MOLINA (Audrey) appeared on Broadway in Rock of Ages and Sweeney Todd (director, John Doyle). Off-Broadway she appeared in the revival of Marry Me A Little (Drama League nomination), Nobody Loves You (Second Stage, Old Globe), and Rock of Ages. She most recently performed in A Little Night Music at the Huntington. Other regional includes Candide (Goodman Theatre, Huntington, and Shakespeare Theatre, director, Mary Zimmerman; Helen Hayes Award for Best Leading Actress), Murder Ballad (TUTS Houston), The Rocky Horror Show (Bucks County Playhouse), and Ten Cents a Dance at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Her most recent television credit was on The Good Wife. She is half of the comedy-pop duo The Skivvies, and can be found performing in NYC and on tour across the country. laurenmolina.com; theskivviesnyc.com.

ALANNA SAUNDERS (Urchin/Vocalist) is excited to be making her debut on the CPH stage. She is a New York based actor from Seattle, WA who is a first timer in the fine Cleveland area! A BFA graduate from University of Miami, you probably have most recently seen her in NBC's Peter Pan Live! But more recently she traveled to Minneapolis to appear in Children's Theatre Company's (CTC) production of Peter Pan: the Musical! Other credits: A Chorus Line, Gypsy, The Music Man, Pirates of Penzance (Connecticut Repertory Theatre) and Metamorphoses (Adrienne Arsht Center). Love to her family, her class, and Samuel.

JOEY TARANTO (Orin) grew up in New Orleans singing in church and never stopped! Most recently he appeared in the original production of Kinky Boots on Broadway. Other Broadway credits include: Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark and Rock of Ages. Regional: Rent, Tommy and more! Much love to the Mine. This one's for you, Dad!

Little Shop of Horrors Creative Team

HOWARD ASHMAN (Playwright) Best known as a pivotal creative mind behind the renaissance of Disney animation and his work on The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty and The Beast (which is dedicated to, "Our friend, Howard Ashman, who gave a Mermaid her voice and a Beast his soul...") Ashman's first love was theater. Ashman was a founder of off-off-Broadway's renowned WPA Theater, where he conceived, wrote and directed God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, as well as the classic musical, Little Shop of Horrors (both music by Alan Menken). In 1986, he wrote and directed the Broadway musical Smile (music by Marvin Hamlisch). Lamented as a lost treasure of the 1980's theater scene, Smile remains popular on High School and College campuses throughout the country. Howard Ashman died in 1991 from complications of AIDS. For more information, please visit howardashman.com.

ALAN MENKEN (Composer) Theater: God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Little Shop of Horrors, Real Life Funnies, Atina: Evil Queen Of The Galaxy, Kicks, The Apprenticeship Of Duddy Kravitz, Beauty And The Beast, A Christmas Carol, Weird Romance, King David, Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame, The Little Mermaid, Sister Act, Leap Of Faith, Aladdin and Newsies. Film: Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast, Newsies, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Hercules, Life With Mikey, Lincoln, Home On The Range, Noel, Enchanted, Shaggy Dog, Tangled and Mirror Mirror. Songs: Rocky V, Home Alone 2 and Captain America. Awards: 8 Oscars (19 nominations), 11 Grammys (including Song of the Year), 7 Golden Globes, Tony® (plus 4 nominations), Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, New York Drama Critics, Olivier and London’s Evening Standard Award, Drama League. Honors: Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Doctorates from New York University and University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

AMANDA DEHNERT (Director/Musical Director/Choreographer) directed Man of La Mancha and My Fair Lady at Cleveland Play House. Recent productions include: King Lear (California Shakespeare Theatre); Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville (Arena Stage, McCarter Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Co.); Into The Woods (Oregon Shakespeare Festival/Wallis-Annenberg Arts Center); My Fair Lady (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, named Wall St. Journal Best Revival of 2013); Eastland (a new musical, Libretto by Andrew White, Music by Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman; direction and orchestration, world premiere, Lookingglass Theatre Company); Richard III (Public Theatre Mobile Shakespeare Unit; director/adapter/composer); Julius Caesar (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, director/adapter); The Verona Project (words and music by Amanda Dehnert, world premiere, California Shakespeare Theatre); Peter Pan (A Play) (by Amanda Dehnert, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Joseph Jefferson Award nomination, best new adaptation); Death of a Salesman (Dallas Theatre Center); The Fantasticks (South Coast Repertory, Long Wharf Theatre, and Arena Stage Company, Helen Hayes Award nomination, outstanding direction); Cloudlands (book by Octavio Solis, Music and Lyrics by Adam Gwon, world premiere, South Coast Repertory); All’s Well That Ends Well (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, director/adapter); Cabaret (Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Canada); Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, director/ adaptor/composer); My Fair Lady (Actors Theatre of Louisville/Cleveland Play House, Virginia Stage Company, Trinity Repertory Co.; director/music director) and a staged concert version of The Two Gentlemen of Verona – The Rock Opera (Shakespeare Theatre, D.C.). She currently serves as an Associate Professor in the theatre department at Northwestern University in Chicago, where she is tenured. Prior to that, she was a Clinical Professor for the Brown University/Trinity Rep MFA program.

JUDE SANDY (Assistant Director) is overjoyed to return to Cleveland Play House after choreographing The Crucible earlier this season. Jude is an NYC-based movement artist, actor, coach and creative collaborator. He has choreographed for numerous regional productions at Trinity Repertory Company, created concert dance pieces for college and high school students, and collaborated on physically-driven productions in New York’s off-Broadway and independent theatre scenes. He has also coached master repertory for the American Dance Legacy Initiative and been a faculty member at New York State Summer School for the Arts (School of Dance). As a performer, Jude has appeared on Broadway in War Horse at Lincoln Center Theater, as well as regionally at Guthrie Theater and Shakespeare Theatre Company. Jude is an alumnus of Brown/Trinity Rep Graduate Programs (MFA); Guthrie Experience for Actors in Training; Brown University; and American Dance Festival. judesandy.com.

Little Shop of Horrors Design Team

PHILIP WITCOMB (Scenic Designer) is a British designer based in New York. He has designed over 60 productions on both sides of the Atlantic spanning every scale from intimate studio shows to main house stages and from commercial multi-venue tours to large open-air productions. Productions include: Legally Blonde, Singin’ In The Rain and South Pacific (Kilworth House Theatre); The Winter’s Tale (Peoples Light & Theatre); A Wind in The Willows Christmas (Two River Theatre); Amadeus (Maltz Jupiter Theatre, nominated for Best Design – Carbonell Awards); 9 to 5 The Musical (Northshore Music Theatre); In The Next Room, or the vibrator play (Actors Theatre of Louisville and Milwaukee Rep); Much Ado About Nothing and The Tempest (Regents Park Open Air Theatre); The White Devil (Menier Chocolate Factory, nominated for Best Production – Whatsonstage Theatre Awards); Love in a Maze (Watermill Theatre, nominated for Best Design – TMA Theatre Awards); Beauty and the Beast (Citizens Theatre, nominated for Best Production – C.A.T.S Awards); The New York production of Death in Venice (Citizens Theatre, Time Out New York’s ‘10 Best in Theatre’) and Cinderella (Dundee Rep, nominated for Best Design and Best Production – C.A.T.S Awards). Philip was one of twelve finalists selected for The Linbury Prize, the United Kingdom's most prestigious award for stage design, culminating in an exhibition of his work at the Royal National Theatre in London.

MELISSA TORCHIA (Costume Designer) Credits include: King Lear and The Verona Project (California Shakespeare Theatre); Native Son, Jitney and The Mountaintop (Court Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Rose and the Rime, The Iron Stag King, The Crownless King, The Excelsior King and The Magnificents. (The House Theatre); Chapter Two (Windy City Playhouse); Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Kansas City Rep and Center Stage); Peter Pan (Lookingglass Theatre); Samuel J and K (Steppenwolf Theatre); My Fair Lady, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Hair (Paramount Theatre); Grease (American Theatre Company); Gypsy, Aida, Sugar (Drury Lane Theatre); Not Wanted on the Voyage (American Musical Theatre Project, Northwestern University); The Importance of Being Earnest (Jeff nomination, Remy Bumppo Theatre); and Abigail’s Party and Butcher of Baraboo (A Red Orchid Theater). Upcoming projects; Diary of Anne Frank (Kansas City Rep); and Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Court Theatre).

BRIAN GALE (Lighting Designer) Recently: God Of Carnage, Carrie the Musical (La Mirada); Red (San Diego Rep); Hugh Jackman: One Night Only at the Dolby Theatre; Lighting & Projection Design for Sleepless In Seattle: The Musical; Lighting for Intimate Apparel and The Heiress (Pasadena Playhouse); Lighting and Projection for Waiting For Godot, lighting for The Lieutenant of Inishmore and Harps’ and Angels (The Mark Taper Forum); Projection Design for Eurydice, Lighting Design for The Doctor’s Dilemma (A Noise Within). Lighting and Projection for LA Opera’s complete Ring Cycle. Numerous productions for The Public Theater, Berkeley Repertory, Seattle Repertory and South Coast Repertory. 24 years with the Walt Disney Company, he continues to consult on Theme Parks, Shows and Special Events worldwide. Mr. Gale is a member of IATSE USA Local 829.

JOSH HORVATH (Sound Designer) is an award winning Sound Designer/Composer/ Music Producer. Mr. Horvath started his career mixing at Cain Park, and playing music throughout the Akron/Cleveland area. His designs and music have been heard regionally at Long Wharf, Hartford Stage, The Arena, Center Stage, The Alliance, The Goodman, Steppenwolf, The Court, Lookingglass, Milwaukee Rep, McCarter, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Kansas City Rep, The Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, The Mark Taper Forum, California Shakespeare, and Oregon Shakespeare. Mr. Horvath has taught sound design for theatre and film at Northwestern University and DePaul University. He is a four time Joseph Jefferson Award winner and a LA Ovation winner, a company member of The House Theatre of Chicago, an artistic associate of Lookingglass Theatre, and a collaborative partner with The Goodman.

PHANTOM LIMB (Puppet Design) is a New York City-based multi-media theatrical production and design company known for its work with marionette-puppetry. Co-founded in 2007 by composer/puppet maker Erik Sanko and artist, painter and set designer Jessica Grindstaff, Phantom Limb has been lauded for its unconventional approach to this venerable format. Phantom Limb includes a large rotating cast of friends, collaborators, artists, dancers and puppeteers. In their short career, Phantom Limb has produced The Fortune Teller, Dear Mme., The Devil You Know (with Ping Chong), Lemony Snicket’s The Composer Is Dead, 69˚ S. (with The Kronos Quartet), Peer Gynt and Memory Rings. Phantom Limb has received generous support from the Jim Henson Foundation, The Jerome Foundation, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the National Science Foundation, The New York State Composer’s Grant, the MAP Fund, The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and are recipients of the Bay Area Critics Circle Award. phantomlimbcompany.com.

WIGS AND WHISKERS (Wig Design), founded in 1998, is a small family business owned by Mary Schilling-Martin and Caitie Martin providing wigs, hair and specialty makeup services for performing arts organizations, entertainment companies and educational institutions. Local credits include Cleveland Play House, Great Lakes Theater, Dobama Theatre, Porthouse Theatre, Cain Park, Case Western Reserve University, Baldwin Wallace University, Carousel Dinner Theatre, Lyric Opera Cleveland and Opera Cleveland. Regional credits include The Goodman Theatre, The Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Arizona Theatre Company, Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Victory Gardens, Theatre at the Center, American Theatre Company, Chicago Theatre for Young Audiences, Light Opera Works, Northwestern University, Roosevelt University in Chicago, University of California at San Diego, San Diego State University and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Mary also built wigs for Denver Center Theatre Company, Opera Colorado and Arizona Opera Company.

The Stage Manager for this production is JOHN GODBOUT and the Assistant Stage Manager is Jennifer Caster. Casting for this production was done by GEOFF JOSSELSON/CALLERI CASTING.

Little Shop of Horrors Special Events

Tech Night: Little Shop of Horrors

January 6 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Hear from the director and designers, then sit in on a technical rehearsal (“tech”) to see how set, lights, sound, costumes and actors all come together as opening night nears! All Tech Night events run from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Behind-the-Scenes: No Strings Attached!

Monday, January 11 from 7 - 8:30pm

It takes consummate skill to be a master puppeteer. Get an inside look at how a huge puppet like Audrey II can come to life! During this hands-on workshop led by Puppet Designer, Erik Sanko, participants will learn about the many different styles of puppetry and get a chance to work with a variety of puppets themselves. An event that will be fun for the whole family!

Visit clevelandplayhouse.com to register.

Talkbacks: Little Shop of Horrors

Jan. 19th – Immediately following the performance.

Stay after the show to continue the conversation our plays start! TalkBacks offer the chance to interact with the cast and CPH Artistic Staff in an open and lively Q&A about the play and the questions it raises.

Pre-Show Conversations happen 45 minutes prior to the start of each performance.

Sunday Matinee Bonus

“Building Drama Programs, Building Communities” is a new project that combines best practices of a professional regional theatre to empower schools to start, build, and maintain their own drama programs for long-term benefits to students, teachers, and the communities of school and neighborhood. As part of this program, Cleveland Play House has invited several local high schools to perform “Skid Row” for the existing audience after various Sunday matinee performances of Little Shop of Horrors in the Allen Theatre. The Drama Club Program is sponsored by the Nord Family Foundation.

Ticket Information

Little Shop of Horrors will take place in the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square. Tickets range in price from $20-$100 each. Students under the age of 25 with a valid ID will be offered a special 50% off ticket price. To order single tickets please call 216-241-6000 or visit clevelandplayhouse.com. Groups of 10+ save up to 40% off single ticket prices; call 216-400-7027.

# # #

Cleveland Play House, recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award and founded in 1915, is America's first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, CPH has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate and entertain diverse audiences in Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. CPH has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,600 productions. Today, Cleveland Play House celebrates its centennial while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland.

The Ohio Arts Council helps fund Cleveland Play House with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. We also thank the residents of Cuyahoga County for supporting Cleveland Play House through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

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