New voices bring talent to the Minnehaha stage
by Cristina Anfang
Talon staff writer
Why should you go see Minnehaha’s production of Little Shop of Horrors? Time and time again, you hear it’s no average musical.
“This is not your normal ‘musical,’” said senior Alex Peterson. “It’s a parody of a horror movie with Motown music and no red-haired orphan children in sight.”
“It’s about a giant, man-eating plant from outer space. What else is there to say?” added senior Cheyenne Larson.
Minnehaha will be performing Little Shop of Horrors this fall. It’s the first time since at least 1995 they have put on a musical in the fall.
Little Shop of Horrors takes place in an East Coast inner city in the 1960’s. A plant shop is struggling, and one of the workers, Seymour, discovers a new and unusual plant, which only grows if it is fed blood, then only humans. But the business is thriving when the new plant is in the window. Throughout the show, the lead character is forced to decide if he should continue to feed the plant so he can get “fame, fortune, the girl of his dreams – or should he not?” said director Nicholas Freeman.
Minnehaha usually does a musical every other year, but Freeman wanted to change that this year. “When I was in high school, the whole theater department looked forward to doing a musical every year, and the idea of Minnehaha not able to do a musical just didn’t sit right with me.”
“I picked a musical that’s smaller than your average musical, because I didn’t want to do a big-production musical,” Freeman added. Musicals require a lot of extra work from teachers, staff and students.
“The cast is phenomenal,” said Freeman. “We have people working when they’re not on stage. I see them working off in the wings, doing choreography, running lines with one another; that to me is signs of a successful show.”
In the original show, there are three Ronnettes who tell the story, but in the Minnehaha show, six girls – seniors Emily Ebertz, Maddie Schmitz, Calita CasaDeCalvo, Elizabeth Fischer, Lauren Blue and junior Madeline Myers, will play them. “Hearing those six girls sing with one another and harmonize with one another is phenomenal,” added Freeman. “They bring so much personality and spunk, it’s so fun to hear.”
“We’re such divas – it’s fantastic!” Schmitz said.
Besides the new change of a musical in the fall, new talents are going to be seen as well. “I’m most excited – and nervous, to be singing in the show. I’m not a singer and never have been, so this is a whole new challenge for me,” said senior Danny Chamberlain, who is playing Seymour.
There are new faces to on the Minnehaha stage as well. This is junior Georgia Mae Bell’s first show at MA, playing Audrey, the love interest of Seymour. “She belts out the songs with such passion and emotion; it’s really exciting to see on the stage,” said Freeman.
The plant is the center of the show. There are four versions of the plant as it grows throughout the show. When high schools normally do this show, they rent the plants, which usually cost about $4000. Art teacher Nate Stromberg said he could build the plants, and “we should have a similar product when all is said and done.” Stromberg and another volunteer are building them, and parent and assistant to the Dean of Students, Terri Bergstrom is sewing all the fabric onto the plants. “That alone is reason enough to come, trust me,” said Schmitz.
“There are some great lessons to learn,” said Ebertz. One of the main messages in the show is that the “plant equals sin,” explained Freeman, “and when you feed that sin, what happens to us. In everyday life we are tempted by so many things that seem so innocent and things that aren’t going to harm people, but are really damaging to our soul.”
“Everyone needs to come see the show; they will be so blown away,” said Ebertz. “The audience will not be just watching the show; they will be a part of it.”