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Director: Talented cast performs "Little Shop of Horrors'

Ian Christenson and Amanda Collins, playing Seymour and Audrey in the upcoming production of “The Little Shop of Horrors,” find the plant, Audrey II, quite unique. The play premiers Friday, Nov. 18, at the Perham High School Auditorium. Debbie Irmen/FOCUS

In preparation for their leading parts in the upcoming community comedy rock musical, "Little Shop of Horrors," Amanda Collins (Audrey) and Ian Christenson (Seymour), watched the 1986 movie version, which featured Rick Moranis, Steve Martin and Bill Murray.

"I wanted to get (Audrey's) movements and her walk down," said Collins about watching the classic musical.

"I didn't know the music, but my mom is a huge fan, so I watched clips of the movie to pull different things out (for my character)," Christenson said.

The play will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18 and Saturday, Nov. 19, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20. All performances will be at the Perham High School auditorium. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens and can be purchased online at www.perhamcommunityeducation.com or in person from Emily Dreyer at the Activities Office at Perham High School.

According to director Nicole Mattfeld, a talented group of students and adults have come together and have made the rehearsals "entertaining and fun."

"The cast has just channeled what I was already thinking," she said, "And made it their own."

She admitted that this production "feels" easier, but also has numerous challenges not associated with most productions, such as making the puppet plant movements believable. And she has done more choreographed moves with the background singers.

"It has been fun," she said.

Though he didn't think he needed an accent at first, after seeing what Collins had done with Audrey's accent, Christenson decided he should create a slight speech pattern that he hopes the audience will like.

The production, written by Howard Ashman, is about a sad floral shop worker who ends up raising a plant who feeds on human flesh and blood. Although it sounds a little disturbing, it's a comedy and satirizes science fiction, 'B' movies and even musical comedy itself, said Mattfeld.

"It's a comedy and comedy has everything to do with timing," Christenson said, acknowledging that Collins really emphasizes her comedic parts through a series of freeze-frames, in which she turns to the audience, stops action for a moment and then turns back into the scene.

"It's so awesome," they both said.

The music, composed by Alan Menken (who is known for "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin," just to name a few), is in the style of early 1960's rock 'n' roll, early Motown and doo-wop.

"(The play) is good for everybody, even young kids," Collins said.

"It's going to be a great show," said Christenson.

In addition to Christenson and Collins, the production includes Dave Howey as Mr. Mushnik, the shop owner; and Travis Weis, the sadistic dentist who plays Audrey's boyfriend.

Working the puppetry of the plant, Audrey II, are Junior Nordick and Nolan Wade, Kyle Swanson, Faith Blonski and Jeff Fritz.

The Singing Sextet features the singing talents of Crystal - Lizzy LaFond (Crystal), Audrey Swanson (Ronnette), Madison Foerderer (Chiffon), Shelby Burns (Ginger), Shelby Jordahl (Candy) and Hope Johnson (Ruby).

Also included as part of the ensemble:

Bernstein - Clayton Anderson

Skip Snip - Jonathan Staebler

Mrs. Luce - Hannah Kain

Wino #1/Patrick Martin - Andrew Newville

Wino #2 - Andrew Jacobson

Customer - Tanner Knutson

Interviewer - Ryan Murphy

Voice - Seth Dykhoff

Ensemble - Abbey Zepper, Madison McAllister, Dannika George, Kate Lachowitzer, Hailey Galbrecht, Alysa Ralston, Grace Kalina, Malia Groff, Aurora Sauer, Kira Johnson, Olivia Leslie, Lauren Schraeder, Drew Birkeland, Gunnar Anderson and Dayton Hammers.

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