Little Shop of Horrors to tour in 2016

Hayes Theatre Co Little Shop of HorrorsIt has been announced that cult musical comedy Little Shop of Horrors will embark on an Australian Tour in 2016. Starring Brent Hill and Esther Hannaford, the production will premiere at Hayes Theatre Co in Sydney in February followed by seasons in Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane.

Produced by Luckiest Productions and Tinderbox Productions who brought us the 2014 multi award winning Sweet Charity,  this gleefully gruesome musical will combine the upbeat, doo wop Motown score, puppet wizardry and a wickedly talented Australian cast.

Award-winning creative duo Director Dean Bryant and Choreographer Andrew Hallsworth will once again combine their ingenious minds to bring Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s book and score to life, creating a deviously delicious out-of-this-world musical experience. They will join forces with master puppet-makers Erth to create a brand new Audrey II for the 21st century.

“We are thrilled to reassemble our dynamic creative team from Sweet Charity for a brand new collaborative theatrical adventure. Audiences are going to be bowled over by the unique vision, our sensational cast, and our very own, never-before-seen Audrey II. We’re very excited about taking this new production all around Australia.” said the Producers.

Brent Hill stars as the unassuming, hapless flower shop worker Seymour Krelborn. Brent most recently starred in the Australian production of Once earning himself a Helpmann Award nomination. Other theatre credits include Jerry’s Girls, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Rock of Ages. Playing the object of Seymour’s affections, Audrey, is multiple-award winner Esther Hannaford, one of Australia’s most in demand leading ladies. Esther starred as Ann Darrow in King Kong, Bonnie Mae in Miracle City and received a Helpmann Award for her role as Penny in Hairspray.

The opportunistic shop owner Mr Mushnik, will be played by Tyler Coppin (Strictly Ballroom, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) while the role of the demon dentist and Audrey’s sadistic boyfriend is acclaimed actor Scott Johnson (Tommy in Jersey Boys). Angelique Cassimatis (The Rocky Horror Show), Josie Lane (Miracle City, Fame) and Chloe Zuel (Legally Blonde) play the three Supreme-esque streetwise urchins while Dash Kruck (Violet) and Kuki Tipoki (Sweet Charity) complete the cast playing in the ensemble.

Laced with dark humour and irresistible music, Little Shop of Horrors is one of the longest-running off Broadway shows of all time. Inspired by the 1960 Roger Corman film of the same name, this rock musical version of Little Shop of Horrors premiered off Broadway in 1982 before enjoying a successful run on Broadway and in London’s West End, eventually inspiring the 1986 film version by veteran puppeteer Frank Oz that starred Rick Moranis. Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin) rocking doo-wop score includes the popular songs Feed Me, Suddenly Seymour and Somewhere That’s Green.

When meek, down-and-out floral assistant Seymour Krelborn stumbles across a new plant species that he names Audrey II after his co-worker crush, it seems like a serendipitous ticket to fame and fortune. But as Audrey II grows and grows – into a foul-mouthed, smooth-talking, R&B-singing carnivore – Seymour discovers that feeding his ambition starts to require juicier and less justifiable ingredients. Before he knows it, our accidental hero Seymour and the gutsy but guileless Audrey must battle the perilous and persuasive plant – not just for their lives, but for the very future of planet earth!

In addition to director Dean Bryant, choreographer Andrew Hallsworth, Luckiest Productions and Tinderbox Productions have also brought musical director Andrew Worboys, set designer Owen Phillips, costume designer Tim Chappel, and lighting designer Ross Graham to the team for this spine-tingling musical theatre event. Puppet makers Erth are recognised as an innovator of physical and visual theatre both nationally and internationally. They have created visual masterpieces for numerous cultural events and museums inspiring audiences with their unique and dynamic vision.

Little Shop of Horrors plays at the Hayes Theatre from 18 February 2016, then tours to Adelaide’s Her Majesty’s Theatre from 20 April, Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre from 4 May, Canberra Theatre Centre from 25 May, and QPAC in Brisbane from 1 June. Tickets are now on sale for the Hayes Theatre. Tickets for other performances go on sale in late November.

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Image: Brent Hill and Esther Hannaford to star in Little Shop of Horrors – photo by Jeff Busby