Pasadena Playhouse’s Little Shop of Horrors Promises Playgoers a Killer Time

Mike Donahue makes his Pasadena Playhouse directorial debut with Little Shop of Horrors, citing the piece as one of his favorites since childhood.
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Photo by Jenny Graham

Deep in New York’s Bowery in the 1960s, a carnivorous, power-hungry (and R&B-singing, no less) plant with eyes on world domination befriends Seymour, a lowly flower shop assistant. Despite Seymour’s well-meaning intentions, things go awry … and that’s when the real fun (or, perhaps horror) begins.

Mike Donahue makes his Pasadena Playhouse directorial debut with Little Shop of Horrors (Sept. 17-Oct. 20), citing the piece as one of his favorites since childhood. “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,” he says. “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 hearing our Little Shop with fresh ears, in a way they never have before.”

Little Shop’s talented cast features George Salazar (Be More Chill), Mj Rodriguez (Pose), and Amber Riley (Glee) as the power-hungry plant, Audrey II.

Under the leadership of Donahue and playhouse producing artistic director Danny Feldman, playgoers are promised a few “deliciously devious new twists,” including a brand-new puppet concept for Audrey II and a fresh take on Skid Row.

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Director’s Take with Mike Donahue

About Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop is one of the shows I grew up with. That movie, along with Grease and Dirty Dancing, was one that my cousins and I would watch over and over on repeat. It’s a piece that has been such a huge part of my childhood, which is crazy because the material is really dark actually, and pretty gritty. I don’t think I was really listening to what people were speaking and singing. It was just fun and wild, dark and crazy—and the plant was amazing.

On his love of theater …

I love it all. I grew up in such disparate worlds: I grew up working at The Muny in St. Louis but then went to Harvard. I was there when [Robert] Woodruff was running the theater and so there were these incredible directors—nationally and internationally renowned—coming in. I feel very lucky when I get to sort of bounce between work that is as different as possible from the last thing that I’ve made.

Favorite local coffee spot …

I love Zona Rosa that’s next door [to the Playhouse]. Their coffee is really good and everybody who works there is super nice.

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