The darkly funny musical Little Shop of Horrors is a sendup of 1950s-style science fiction movies, low-budget horror flicks, sterile suburban life, kinky relationships and real romance, all done to a background of finger-snapping doo-wop and rock 'n' roll.
It's "a great show because there really is something for everyone," said Nick Sessa, co-owner of the Show Palace Dinner Theatre, where Little Shop plants itself June 10 through July 17.
It's the tale of the hapless Skid Row flower shop clerk Seymour Krelborn (Scott Daniel, Billy in 42nd Street), who becomes famous when he accidentally nurtures a plant that feeds on human blood and grows to truly monstrous proportions.
Seymour is in love with fellow shop clerk Audrey (Elizabeth Claire Bailey, April in Big Apple Christmas), but Audrey is under the spell of the maniacally sadistic dentist, Orin Scribello (Matthew McGee, KariZma in Boogie Wonderland), who openly abuses her.
As Seymour becomes famous, he goes from loser to hero, vowing to avenge Audrey when he sees Orin hit her. His plan works better than he could dream, when Orin "disappears," thanks to the big, carnivorous plant.
Audrey declares her love for Seymour (Suddenly, Seymour) and her dreams of a home in the suburbs with frozen dinners and plastic on the furniture (Somewhere That's Green), but Seymour thinks she likes him only because of his fame.
Even so, the two make plans to leave the shop and move to suburbia.
But shop owner Mr. Mushnik (Tony Triano, Mid-Life! The Crisis Musical), blackmails Seymour into staying at his flower shop — for now, anyway.
Seymour becomes more entangled with the plant, as the plant grows bigger and more out of control.
The story is enhanced by three street urchins: Ronette (Jasmine Knight), Crystal (Nathalie Hostin) and Chiffon (Ayana Major Bey), who sing doo-wop and rock commentary much like a Greek chorus.
Since its off-Broadway debut in 1982, Little Shop has been a favorite in theaters of all sizes and in all places, with at least a dozen different productions in the Tampa Bay area in the past two decades, including 2007's American Stage in the Park version.
The musical was made into a movie in 1986, with Steve Martin playing the nutty dentist and Bill Murray as his willing patient.
The Show Palace version will feature a giant plant puppet designed by CBC Creative Inc., of Davenport, and manipulated by Joel Gennari (Zeek in Seven Brides…).