Audrey 2 in little shop of horrors

Mj Rodriguez and Amber Riley to Star in the Little Shop of Horrors Adaptation of my Dreams

Feed me, Seymour!

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As a Broadway nerd and a Ryan Murphy fan (a Venn diagram overlap if ever there was one), I just about peed my pants over the latest revival news. The Pasadena Payhouse will be mounting a production of Little Shop of Horrors starring George Salazar (Be More Chill) as Seymour, Mj Rodriguez (Pose) as Audrey, and Amber Riley (Glee) as extraterrestrial killer plant Audrey II.

The revival is the latest iteration of the beloved 1982 cult horror comedy rock musical by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, based on Roger Corman’s 1960 film The Little Shop of Horrors. LSOH launched the careers of Menken and Ashman, who went on to write the music and lyrics for Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. The Broadway play has been popular ever since its debut, earning raves thanks to its dark humor and catchy Motown-inspired tunes.

The show’s popularity eventually led to the 1986 film adaptation by Frank Oz, which starred Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, and Steve Martin, a film that was in near constant rotation on television during my childhood. The play has been revived countless times, with a new off-Broadway revival planned starring Jonathan Groff (Frozen), Tammy Blanchard (Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows), and Christian Borle (Smash).

But the Pasadena Playhouse revival distinguishes itself, as it features several firsts for the musical. The cast is predominantly people of color, Audrey will be played for the first time by a trans woman of color, and Audrey II, who is traditionally voiced by a man, will be voiced by a woman. It’s a refreshingly inclusive take on a classic, one that is stacked with serious talent.

If you’ve been watching Pose, you no doubt already love Mj Rodriguez for her empathetic soulful portrayal of house mother Blanca. Rodriguez has displayed her formidable singing chops on the series, and previously played Angel in an off-Broadway production of Rent.

And Amber Riley is no stranger to the stage. The former Glee star and Dancing with the Stars champ won an Olivier Award for her performance as Effie White in Dreamgirls on London’s West End in 2017. I’m excited to see what she does with the role.

Director Mike Donahue (The Legend of Georgia McBride, Collective Rage) said of the show, “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 theater 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.”

I honestly haven’t been this excited about a production in ages. What do you think of the cast? Are you a LSOH fan?

Little Shop of Horrors will run at Pasadena Playhouse from September 17th through October 20th.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: Warner Bros.)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.