A veteran and a newcomer of Mountlake Terrace High School stage productions take the lead in the school’s drama department offering this week as Little Shop of Horrors opens a four-day run on Wednesday, Jan. 16.
The curtain rises on the musical each night at 7 p.m. Admission for Wednesday’s performance is $8; tickets for the Thursday, Jan. 17, through Saturday, Jan. 19, shows are $12 for adults and $10 for students ages 14 and up with valid ASB, senior citizens and children ages 13 and younger.
Little Shop of Horrors is a sci-fi horror tale of Seymour Krelborn, a nerdy assistant at a Skid Row floral shop whose luck and lot in life begin to change with the discovery of a strange plant that will only thrive on human blood.
Jacob Knight, in his first outing with the Mountlake Terrace Drama Department, takes on the role of Seymour. The senior is an avid musician, playing trumpet in the school’s concert band and Jazz 1 band, but still is a little nervous about the coming week.
“I’ve never sang for an audience before,” Knight confessed.
Little Shop of Horrors is Knight’s first acting pursuit since playing roles in elementary school stage productions.
“I’ve always kind of had a fascination for theater and I’ve always wanted to do it here at the high school where the productions would be bigger, would be more of a challenge and I could work alongside other actors and actresses that are really talented,” Knight explained. “But I just never had the time until I finally made time this year.”
Knight’s favorite part of being part of a stage cast is the relationships that he is able to form with the other performers — and the fun they have away from the theater.
“When we’re offstage and we’re just together, I love how we can get into character and talk to each other in character and just have fun with it,” Knight said. “Peja (Shymko), like when she has to leave, sometimes she’ll say (in character), ‘oh, bye Seymour.’ And I’ll answer (in character), ‘um, bye Audrey. I can’t wait to see you tomorrow.’”
Peja Shymko plays the part of Audrey, a co-worker — and crush — of Seymour at the floral shop. Shymko, a junior at Terrace, is no stranger to stage productions both at and away from the school. But she did admit that she was not familiar with Little Shop of Horrors or its 1960s pop/rock music before this school year. Friends finally convinced her to listen to the show’s soundtrack.
“I was listening to it and thought, ‘this — excuse my slang — slaps,’ which is a really cool word to say that it’s very good,” Shymko said.
Audrey longs to escape the trappings of Skid Row and live in the pristine suburbs, a trait of hopefulness that Peja finds inspiring.
“I just think there’s something really beautiful about how she still has hope,” Peja said of her character. “When she sings ‘Somewhere That’s Green,’ she’s singing about this place — she believes in it; she believes that this is something that she can reach, this daydream. And there’s something so beautiful and hopeful and pure about that. Everyone has dreams.”
Senior Michael Wollan plays floral shop owner Mr. Mushnik, who struggles to keep the business open but finds that Seymour and the mysterious plant could be his ticket to financial stability. Audrey II, the name Seymour gives to his mysterious plant, is voiced by Corey Blanchard with sass and hubris.
Seth Timple gets to ham it up in throughout the show by playing multiple parts, including Audrey’s abusive boyfriend Dr. Orin Scrivello D.D.S. Haley Morris, Rhiannon Aguilar and Anabelle Sumera-Decoret round out the cast as neighborhood urchins — school dropouts who rule the streets of Skid Row.
The cast is backed up by a nine-piece band comprised of some of Terrace’s finest student musicians. The show also features a colorful set and some stage magic that brings Audrey II, the name Seymour gives to his mysterious plant, to life.
MTHS Drama Departments Presents Little Shop of Horrors
Dates: Wednesday, Jan. 16, through Saturday, Jan. 19
Time: 7 p.m.
Admission: (tickets available at the door)
— all tickets $8 on Wednesday, Jan. 16
— $12 on Thursday, Jan. 17 – Saturday, Jan. 19
— $10 on Thursday, Jan. 17 – Saturday, Jan. 19 for students ages 14 and older with valid ASB card, senior citizens and children ages 13 and younger
— By Doug Petrowski