September 17, 2019 at 9:16 am PDT | by Roman Randall
Little Shop delivers on diversity

George Salazar as Seymour and MJ Rodriguez as Audrey. (Photo by R. Randall)

Task: update and modernize a cult classic theatre production yet stay true to the magic of an all-time fan favorite

In Little Shop of Horrors, a power-hungry, R&B-singing, carnivorous plant sets its sights on world domination! Directed by Mike Donahue (The Legend of Georgia McBride, Geffen Playhouse) with Music Direction by Darryl Archibald and Choreography by Will B. Bell, this deviously delicious sci-fi musical comedy favorite comes to the Pasadena Playhouse tomorrow night with some deliciously devious new twists: a brand new puppet concept for Audrey II, and a whole new take on Skid Row.

Adding to the twists is a roster of very diverse and well, very LGBTQ, cast members led by Broadway star George Salazar and TV’s newest sensation, Pose star, MJ Rodriguez. The Blade caught up with Rodriguez at the a press junket for the show last week where she expressed how happy she was that her return to theatre was for this very unique production of such a classic. “This show has never been done this way before and it’s a beautiful thing when all of these cultures can come together like this to create such a special piece of art.” added Rodriguez.

Director Mike Donahue says, “with its gritty early-Motown-meets-B-movie-horror-sci-fi vibe, Little Shop of Horrors has always been a favorite musical of mine, and it is a thrill for me to delve deeply into this rich material with this spectacular, electric cast. I look forward to not only paying homage to this musical theatre classic, but also exploring the themes that are still so much a part of our world today. More than anything, I look forward to Playhouse audiences having the time of their lives, and hearing our Little Shop with fresh ears, in a way they never have before.”

For LA audiences, this new take and diverse casting seems to be paying off with nearly every show the rest of this month already close to selling out. Typical word of mouth used to sell a local show doesn’t even seem needed for this fan favorite.

“Besides being a huge fan of MJ Rodriguez and Pose, I am excited to see a cast that reflects what I look like, up on that stage. I grew up just minutes from Pasadena in Altadena, CA and this is what my reality has always looked like on a daily basis here in the LA area,” expressed actor Darryl Stephens. (Noah’s Arc, Boy Culture, From Zero to I Love You) Stephens will be at the Playhouse on opening night tomorrow evening showing his support at the sold out “Wine Wednesday” special performance of the 5 week run.

Pose actor Johnny Sibilly and MJ Rodriguez reunite. (Photo by R. Randall)

Stephens isn’t the only LA actor showing his support for the revamped production. Pose actor and former co-star of Rodriguez, Johnny Sibilly surprised her recently at the show’s press junket and will attend a special “TalkBacks” panel presented by GLAAD after the October 1 show, kicking off LGBTQ History Month. Tickets are still available for purchase for this very special performance and can be purchased via the Pasadena Playhouse website.

Little Shop of Horrors opens tomorrow night, Sept. 18 and runs thru October 20 at the Pasadena Playhouse.

For a First Look at George Salazar singing “Grow For Me”
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