After holding two nights of auditions, the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) Theatre Experience has selected a cast for the Broadway version of the renowned show, “Little Shop of Horrors.” This year’s audition format was altered to follow NEO COVID-19 protocols, as well as familiarize students with the audition process in professional theatre. A resume and headshot were required from both cast and crew, and performers seeking a role prepared a vocal solo and memorized selections from the script. After individual closed auditions, the auditorium was opened to the group for chemistry reads on stage with potential castmates.
“We have talented performers here at NEO, and they keep getting better and better,” said Aaron Smith, NEO Theatre Artistic Director. “Auditions were strong, competitive, and required several hours of deliberation among the production team. One week later, we finished blocking and we’re running the whole show.”
Smith selected Little Shop of Horrors based on an earlier artistic review of students in the NEO Theatre Experience. “These students have demonstrated their abilities as performers or stagehands, and they operate as a team, even a family,” said Smith. “This creates an internal social structure that has proven beneficial during a pandemic.”
Matthew Jordan, a freshman computer science major at NEO, was cast as Seymour, the principal character who cares for Audrey II, the ever-hungry man-eating plant of Mushnik’s Skid Row flower shop. “Seymour is a character I can relate to,” Jordan said. “He’s a young guy who is awkward, anxious, and attempting to figure out the world. I’m thrilled to play Seymour and work with some of my best friends on such a nutty production!”
NEO Theatre Experience announced the show at the Miami Christmas Parade with a nine-foot Audrey II plant eating a Christmas tree. The massive float was built in only two days in the NEO Fine Arts Center workshop.
Little Shop of Horrors was written by Howard Ashman with music by Alan Menken, based on the film by Roger Corman and screenplay by Charles Griffith. It has received nine major theatrical awards, including Best Musical, with a possible Grammy Award pending for Best Musical Theater Album. Little Shop of Horrors Broadway Version will run March 4-7, 2021 in the NEO Fine Arts Center. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 teens/children, free for NEO students and employees. Seating will be limited and masks/social distancing are required on campus.
Cast: Seymour – Matthew Jordan Audrey – Heather Moss Voice of The Plant – Aaron Bishop Mr. Mushnik – Ryland Asher Crystal – Karley Jones Ronnette – Danica Rowe Chiffon – Anna Seat Orin the Dentist – True Williams
Crew: Scenic Design – Hayley Holloran Properties Manager – Charlotte Kitsune Stage Manager – Kaeli Maxwell Choreographer – Myah Cearley Costume Manager – Rachel Sanda Production Manager – Jennifer Smith Vocal Director – Dustin Warner Director – Aaron Smith (Photo: Students audition in the Fine Arts Center on the NEO Campus)