I absolutely loved Little Shop of Horrors at ACT! The intimate space was used creatively and you felt like you were right there in the flower shop on Skid Row! This show is alive with personality and talent and had the audience laughing all the way through. Don’t miss it: Little Shop of Horrors plays now through June 15th! Jessica Skerritt is a charming Audrey and Joshua Carter is the perfect Seymour.
I had a chance to interview Joshua about his experience in the show. Here are his delightful answers to my questions:
How is this production unique?
It’s a tricky thing to stage a show or a musical that is not just well known but beloved like Little Shop of Horrors as it comes with a whole truck load of expectations. However, I think this particular production is unique because of the talent and creativity involved pointing themselves at presenting the show as if it had never been done before. Bill Berry, our director, came in from day one, well, from in the auditions now that I think about it, asking the cast to approach this show with fresh and honest eyes. That I wasn’t just playing Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, but playing Faust. So often, Little Shop is presented, directed and performed with a “come see exactly what you expect!” kind of attitude. And while that’s partially true, [the audience is] going to get the faustian story with some really tender, very funny and authentically frightening moments. So I think our show is a little more real, heartbreaking, and sweet and less of a caricature.
What’s it like working with puppets? Do you get to control any of the Audrey II puppets during the show?
The puppets are incredible. I do get to manipulate one of the four Audrey II puppets, and boy howdy is that a real treat! But I can’t answer this question without mentioning that while the puppets themselves are really, really cool what makes it as fun as it is to act with them is Eric Esteb. He’s our puppeteer for the show. He’s literally inside the last two plants. That’s how big they are. And his work is mesmerizing to watch. In tandem with Ekello Harrid’s gilt-edged voice! Working with Audrey II is ultimately like working with another actor… That being said, as a kid that grew up with the muppets and sesame street and fraggle rock? Having long interactions with a man eating puppet with a bent toward world conquest is something I can check off my bucket list.
Any thoughts to share about the other cast members?
So Many. The trio of girls sing the hell out of their material and, second to Seymour, have the biggest load to carry in the show and they carry it with style. David Anthony Lewis is terrifying and hysterically funny as the Dentist and his array of second act characters. Jeff Steitzer is simply pitch perfect as Mushnik. Jessica Skerritt is an absolute joy to share the stage with. I find myself simply having fun. And Audrey II is more compelling than some human actors I’ve worked with. Yes I’m gushing. But, yeah, they deserve it!
In what ways do you connect with the role of Seymour?
Seymour and I are kindred spirits. I was a socially awkward kid who didn’t really expect things to get better. I understand that kind of yearning for more and the feeling that you’d do anything just to get a shot at maybe bettering your situation. I, however, have yet to — [Seattle Pockets note: edited for spoilers for those of you not familiar with the show. Ha! ] I feel like I connect to Seymour in a very fundamental way.
Thanks to Joshua for taking the time to share all of this with us! For those of you hesitating on seeing this show live because you’ve already seen the movie, don’t hesitate. Go. The energy and emotion and humor of this show reaches new levels when you see it live. A truly enjoyable evening!