By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
Of all the things they might have looked forward to about McNary High School’s upcoming production of Little Shop of Horrors, the thing Kendra Smith and her understudy Julia Fegles are most looking forward to getting eaten by a nine-foot plant puppet.
“It’s going to be awesome,” Smith said, who plays Audrey I.
“I hear there’s a slide inside of it,” added Fegles.
If it’s beginning to sound like you might have missed a McNary play somewhere along the line with the annual musical set for fall instead of winter, rest assured it’s all according to plan. McNary drama director Dallas Myers switched the line-up for the 2012-13 school year and put the musical first. The curtain rises on Little Shop next month with performances scheduled Nov. 8-10 and Nov. 15-17.
Trevor Mink takes on the role of Seymour Krelborn, the florist who discovers a carnivorous talking plant, Audrey II, in his care.
“I really wanted the lead this time because it felt like one I could handle,” Mink said. “It’s been really interesting in rehearsals because we haven’t had Audrey II around yet, not even the smaller versions. We just sort of pretend he’s there, but it’s been surprisingly smooth.”
Mink, a senior, didn’t realize how large the final version of Audrey II was going to be until Smith pointed it out during the interview.
Smith is taking cues from both the Broadway production and the movie musical as she brings Audrey I to life.
“I took some of my inspiration from both. The Audrey in the movie is a lot different from the theater production,” she said.
For the first time since Myers took over the McNary drama program, both the leads have understudies who will assume the starring roles for matinee performances during the run.
Fegles takes on Audrey while Ryan Halvorson steps in as Krelborn.
“It’s less stressful than their job, but it’s a lot of figuring it out yourself. They get a lot more practice during rehearsals and then it’s us taking notes and doing it on our own time,” Halvorson said.
In addition to falling victim to the plant herself, Fegles is anxious to see how audiences react to the end of the play.
“I hope they’re scared at the end. It’s a lot more suspenseful and it ends on not a happy note,” she said.
One of the most memorable portrayals in the Hollywood version of the show was Steve Martin as Orin Scrivello, the dentist with a penchant for inflicting pain on his patients. In the McNary show, the role is taken over by Gabe Elmore.
“I’ve never played a bad guy before so it’s and so over-the-top which is a lot of fun,” Elmore said. “It’s challenging to relate to him a little bit because he’s so out there in the things he does, but we made a deliberate decision to not make him the Steve Martin version of the character.”
With just a few weeks left before opening night, Elmore said the cast couldn’t be happier with how the play is taking shape.
“All the scenes are coming together in really awesome ways and it’s a lot of fun because it’s such a B-grade horror movie kind of thing,” he said.