East Wake theater cast overcomes challenges to put on show

mhankerson@newsobserver.comMarch 14, 2014 

— As East Wake High School students prepare to debut their production of the musical “Little Shop of Horrors,” the cast is dealing with their own version of a horror story.

Snow days and sick cast members have thrown a wrench in the group’s rehearsal schedule.

Lead actress and senior Caroline Carter woke up about a week before the first performance with a 102 degree fever. She wasn’t the only one: teacher Amy Parker, who is directing the musical, also fell ill about a week before the first performance.

It wasn’t the first obstacle in getting the whole cast together. Parker said cast and crew missed eight rehearsals because of the recent snow days.

“It’s going to come down to the last day for sure,” she said.

In the play, Seymour Krelborn, played by Ethan Weaver, is a meek and clumsy employee at Mushnik’s, a flower shop in urban Skid Row. He harbors a crush on co-worker Audrey Fulguard, and is berated daily by shop owner Mr. Mushnik. One day Seymour finds a mysterious unidentified plant which he calls Audrey II. The plant seems to have a craving for blood and soon begins to sing for his supper. The plant grows and grows, and Seymour has to find ways to continue feeding it. Seymour and Audrey must find a way to defeat the wild plant before it takes over.

But Carter, who stars in the role of Audrey, said whether the cast is racing the clock or not, the production will still be one worth watching.

“We’re going to be OK, I know (the show is) going to be good,” Carter said the week before the first performance.

“Little Shop of Horrors” is a science fiction comedy that documents the story of a plant that “basically tries to take over the world,” Carter said.

“It’s a really scary show,” she said. “It’s scary and funny at the same time.”

Parker, who is overseeing a production at the school for the first time, said the musical is probably a lot different than some of the productions in the past.

For Carter, who has been in school musicals since elementary school, being in a musical with horror elements was a major about-face from her past roles.

She’s been Sally Brown in a production of “Charlie Brown,” and the school has done a production of “The Wedding Singer.”

The same way Carter’s branching out in her role as Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors,” Parker is learning the demands of coordinating a student production for the first time.

“It’s been a very big task to take on,” said Parker, who went to college for musical education and was part of productions since high school.

She said the most difficult part has been learning the ins and outs of technical theater: lighting, set building and gathering props.

But her cast has stepped up, Parker said.

“(The cast) been great, they’ve worked really hard,” she said. “They’ve done a lot, they bring in props (and) help me create the sets. They’ve been awesome.”

Other cast members include John Martinez as Mr. Mushnick, Noelys Montilla as Crystal, Andreesha Perry as Chiffon, Kayley Marchena as Ronnette, Emily Villegas as Orin Scrivello and Nickolas Lukacs as the voice of Audrey II. Rebekah Irwin serves as the puppeteer for Audrey II.

East Wake’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” will open on Friday, March 21 at 7 p.m. A second production will be March 22 at 7 p.m.

Student tickets are $5, all others at $7 in advance and $8 at the door.

 

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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