Weekender

Juniata students stage ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

The Juniata College Theatre Department will present “Little Shop of Horrors” through Oct. 29.
The Juniata College Theatre Department will present “Little Shop of Horrors” through Oct. 29. Photo provided

Just in time for Halloween, the Juniata College Theatre Department will present “Little Shop of Horrors” through Oct. 29 at the Suzanne con Liebig Theatre.

With puppetry and a live five-piece band, director Tara Giordano thinks the show will please fans of the rock musical film.

“If people are fans of the movie, it’s based off of the musical so there will be a lot of similarities in terms of the story and the characters,” she said. “I think the plant, especially — and not to give it away for those who haven’t seen it — seeing the plant grow and come alive is just awesome. And, the voice of the plant, we have a really strong singer, and it’s just so fun.”

“Little Shop of Horrors” was chosen as the theater department’s fall production after some students showed their passion for the musical in class.

“There’s a musical theater class that’s offered where they do scene work and songs. A couple students had worked on a number from the show, and the whole class was just having so much fun with it that the teacher who was running the theater department at the time sort of got inspired and said, ‘This is a show we should think about doing here,’ ” Giordano said.

The show features “Seymour,” a mild mannered flower shop employee who acquires a mysterious plant that may be hiding deadly secrets. The show, featuring music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, also provides social commentary on a bygone era.

“We talked about this as a company,” Giordano said. “It definitely is a commentary on capitalism and the 1950s in post-Depression America. It talks about advertising and sales from that time.”

The show parodies not only the horror genre, but also musical theater, Giordano said.

“Anyone who enjoys musical theater or enjoys horrr or enjoys sci-fi will enjoy the send up of that,” she said. “Also, I think it’s also about reflecting on the consequences of your choices and how that sort of takes over — the consequences of Seymour’s actions, the consequences of the actions in the play.”

Giordano enjoys all aspects of the theater, but she is mainly an onstage player.

“I’ve always been an actress, since I was little,” she said. “My parents were both schoolteachers, so I would always supplement my acting work with teaching. That turned into directing, directing at various colleges, and doing professional productions. I am mostly a regional theater actor based in New York, but I travel to do shows regionally.”

The director/actress is also skilled in improv, teaching students how to work “on their feet.”

“I’ve come here as a visiting instructor in theater,” Giordano said. “I’ve taught improvisation a lot here, for maybe four or five years. They had wanted me to direct a couple times before, but this year it just worked out with my schedule and I just love the show. It’s so fun, and the timing worked out so well.”

Giordano said this show will be a worthwhile night for all who attend.

“There’s some really catchy music in the show, and there’s some great choreography. There’s really lovely acting as well,” she said. “It’s got comedy, romance, sci-fi, puppetry, there’s a crazy dentist — it’s a lot of fun.”

IF YOU GO

  • What: Juniata College Theatre’s “Little Shop of Horrors”
  • When: 8 p.m. Oct. 21-23 and Oct. 27-29
  • Where: Suzanne von Liebig Theatre, Halbritter Center for Performing Arts, 1900 Moore St., Huntingdon
  • Info: www.juniatapresents.com
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