Rifle High School goes big with ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ | PostIndependent.com

Rifle High School goes big with ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

Amanda Holt MillerPost Independent Staff
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson Silas Buss, as Seymour, feeds the Venus Flytrap, played by Eric Simms, during a dress rehearsal for "Little Shop of Horrors" at Rifle High School.

RIFLE – Rifle High School’s new musical, “Little Shop of Horrors,” has a small cast. But that’s about the only thing about it that’s small. The voices, the music and the plant – especially the plant – are big.The play – at 7 p.m. today and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Saturday, brings to stage the story of a nerdy, timid orphan named Seymour Krelborn who’s taken in by Mr. Mushnik, the owner of a small flower shop. Seymour works for Mr. Mushnik with the lovely Audrey, with whom Seymour is smitten. He can’t keep her off of his mind and can’t seem to muster the courage it would take to woo her.One lonely night he happens upon an unusual plant in the shop. He names the plant Audrey II and it vows to make his every dream a reality as long as Seymour feeds it.

The only catch is that the plant eats people.”The end of the play is actually the exact opposite of the movie,” said Scott Lee, a teacher and assistant director. “It’s not a happy ending. The plant takes over the world. You see Audrey II spit out Seymour’s machete.”The show is unusual. It played off Broadway for many years before it made it to the big time and then to the big screen. Now it’s on stage in Rifle.The cast is small and the students are young, but talented. Both of the lead roles are played by sophomores. Silas Buss plays Seymour and Paige Ulmer is Audrey.Both students took to their roles quickly, said teacher and director Scott Winter.

“Little Shop Of Horrors” is not the typical performance for Rifle High School. Winter has directed other musicals, but they have included “Charlie Brown,” “West Side Story” and “Grease.””This is definitely a departure from the classical musicals we’ve done in the past,” Winter said. “I wanted to do something totally different and quirky and weird.”One of the biggest challenges for Winter was finding the plant. The rights to the play are supposed to include Audrey puppets. Unfortunately, the puppets were all booked and Winter had to look on his own for Audrey II. Luck was on his side. Just a little more than a week before the first performance, Winter got a set of three puppets from Denver.The puppet master who rented the three versions of Audrey II to the school made several famous puppets, including Cherry, the big red chair that appeared on “Pee-wee’s Playhouse.”Eric Simms is one of the few seniors in the performance. He plays Audrey II. And never shows his face on stage. His voice is booming and his puppet work is impressive. It’s his first theater performance ever.

“I wanted to try it,” Simms said of joining the theater. “I’m a senior and this was my last chance.”Tickets, at the door, are $10 for adults; $5 for students and seniors; and free for children 5 and younger. For more information, call 625-7725.Contact Amanda Holt Miller at 945-8515 ext. 529ahmiller@postindependent.com

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