Spoiler Warning: This post will include unmarked spoilers for the 2021 off-Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors. Viewer discretion advised!
For my birthday this year, my parents surprised me with tickets to the off-Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors starring my favorite actor Jeremy Jordan as Seymour Krelborn.
I’ve had a desire to see Jordan perform live onstage ever since I saw his performance in Disney’s taped production of Newsies, so to say that I was excited when I learned we were going to see this would be an understatement! I was on cloud nine when I learned we got tickets!
I really wish I could go to the city more often, because I had a lot of fun there, even when we weren’t inside the theatre! I remember taking pictures of the doors leading into the theatre and how they were painted to show the vines from the plant from the show!
Speaking of the show…
The story went in a direction that I was not expecting at all. Seeing Seymour bring the vicious plant known as Audrey II onstage was very uncomfortable for me because, although I’d never seen the show before, I knew enough about it to know what was eventually coming.
Seeing the plant grow and grow gradually over the course of the story… learning to talk… getting its own songs… all of it was unbelievably unsettling. I remember reacting in the theatre when I saw the vines from the plant completely overtake each side of the stage after the intermission. It was incredible!
And Seymour had no idea what the plant was doing, and learning of its plan too late and trying to fight it then had me shaking my head. Because I knew Seymour was in over his head. The plant took up the entire back side of the stage by that point! He missed all the warning signs about Audrey II in his journey to get the real Audrey to love him, and I just felt so bad for him!
Moving on to the other characters and speaking of feeling bad, I really felt for Audrey as well. Seeing her get into an abusive relationship with the sadistic dentist was heartbreaking! I can see why Seymour tried to infiltrate his office to defend her. Maybe going in with a gun wasn’t the best idea (I don’t trust Seymour with a gun), but he did what he felt was necessary to save her from the dentist, and I can respect that.
Speaking of the dentist, can you say “creepy”? Damn, this guy scared me as much as the plant! When he had Seymour in his chair and he was going to torture him (and the creepy mask he was wearing!) I was praying Seymour would find some way to get out of the situation. He did (the way he did it was disturbing, but he did it). This had me relieved and nervous at the same time, because I knew where the dentist’s remains were going next! Like I said, I really wish Seymour had caught on to Audrey II’s scheme earlier on…
I felt bad for Mr. Mushnik, too. While he is merely Seymour’s boss in the beginning, he tries to become something more when Seymour’s fame grows. He even changed the name of his shop to Mushnik and Sons, something that made Seymour’s later treatment of him horrifying. I don’t really like that he was probably doing it for the publicity of the shop, but it doesn’t excuse Seymour’s actions toward him.
Mushnik was really just trying to do the right thing in his own mind by chasing down the dentist’s killer, and he got eaten as a result! And by that point, Audrey II was too large to be destroyed!
If Seymour hadn’t gotten so caught up in the fame the plant got him, maybe all the bloodshed could have been avoided. I don’t think Seymour is innocent in the situation at all, but I can’t bring myself to hate him because he was so innocent in the beginning and genuinely didn’t know what Audrey II was planning until it was too late. It was sad to see him walk into the plant’s mouth with a blade (he was intending to hack it from the inside) and see the mouth just close down on him that quickly.
Finally, seeing all the characters’ faces that Audrey II had consumed on the plant’s flowers, suggesting that the characters became part of the plant. I can see why the last song serves as a warning to not do what Seymour did…
Speaking of songs, I need to give mention to some of my favorites! The prologue with the three girls was a great opener, and it’s honestly one of my favorites!
“Skid Row (Downtown)” is a great introduction to Seymour and his crappy situation working for Mr. Mushnik and how he just wants to get out of his situation. It sets up the audience feeling sympathy for him right away. I remember hearing more about Seymour’s situation even after the song and I just felt bad for him. It’s easy to see where his desire to have the fame and fortune comes from…
“Somewhere That’s Green” was a great look into what Audrey actually wanted, revealing that she actually had feelings for Seymour. It was so bittersweet to see her go into what she really wanted versus what she had in the moment with the dentist. I felt like this was the point where she really started to admit to herself that she wanted more.
“Feed Me (Git it)” was a very creepy song. I remember seeing the plant try to convince Seymour to feed it, stringing him along with promises of fame and fortune if he did. I loved in that particular number how you could see Jordan playing up the uncertainty in Seymour throughout the entire number! This plant really had its tendrils around him!
I’ve seen Jordan perform “Suddenly Seymour” before at one of his earliest virtual concerts, but seeing it onstage was even better! I love the chemistry between him and Audrey and how obvious it was that they cared for each other. I was only unnerved that the number was happening so early in Act II…
“Sominex/Suppertime” freaked me out because I knew the damned plant was going to devour Audrey! I just knew it! Seeing the plant goad her along before chomping down on her head was terrible. It broke my heart.
Finally, I want to give mention to “Finale (Don’t Feed the Plants.)” Seeing Audrey II’s flowers be chopped off to spread its chaos everywhere was heartbreaking! Seeing the entire cast come together for this final number was amazing, though, despite that heartbreak! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! It was gut-wrenching, but the spectacle itself was actually very beautiful!
Overall, I really enjoyed seeing this. If you have the time and the money to go see it, I can’t recommend it enough. It is fun, funny, and heartbreaking, and I think it fully deserves the awards it got for Best Broadway Revival. It was that good!
I can only hope that my next Broadway experience (whenever I have one) is as fun as this was. All that said, I leave you with the creepy plant.