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Local performers to stage 'Little Shop of Horrors' musical in Western Springs

The Theatre of Western Springs will cap its 88th season of Mainstage shows with the campy musical “Little Shop of Horrors” from June 2 to 12.

It is directed by TWS Executive Artistic Director Eddie Sugarman of Western Springs, with music direction by Kyle Greer of Chicago, and choreography by Christie Kerr of Lombard. The sci-fi show by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken won the Drama Critics Award, Drama Desk Award and Evening Standard Award all for Best Musical.

A meek and mild floral assistant named Seymour stumbles across a new breed of plant he names Audrey II – after his crush on a cute co-worker. The plant quickly grows into a crude and rude R&B-singing carnivore who promises unending fame and fortune to the penniless Seymour as long as he keeps feeding it. The only catch is the plant wants blood. Too late, Seymour discovers he’s dealing with an alien out to take over the world.

In a casting coup, Theatre of Western Springs has secured the original giant plant puppets from the 1982 off-Broadway production, now refurbished and ready for their suburban debut, the news release stated.

“It’s a perfect musical comedy,” Sugarman said in the release. “It has sweet and hilarious characters, a rocking score, and a 500-pound carnivorous plant. Who could ask for anything more? We can’t wait to share this with our audiences.”

Sugarman, who is completing his second year as executive artistic director at Theatre of Western Springs, was managing director of Berwyn’s 16th Street Theater, winner of the 2013 Broadway in Chicago Emerging Theatre Award. For three seasons, he was managing director of the Jedlicka Performing Arts Center in Cicero, where he produced 18 plays and musicals and increased overall attendance and box-office revenue by more than 10 percent a year.

He wrote book and lyrics for the musical “Cinderella... After the Ball,” which ran from March 3 to May 8 at Marriott’s Lincolnshire Theatre. And he co-wrote the musical “Meet John Doe,” which had its world premiere at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. It won two Helen Hayes Awards and is licensed by the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization.

In the “Little Shop of Horrors” cast are Gonzo Schexnayder of Riverside as Seymour; Jen Torchia of Lombard as Audrey; Brian Centers of Westmont as Audrey II; Katie McClatchey of Willowbrook as Crystal; David Bremer of Western Springs as Mr. Mushnik; Tim Gannon of La Grange Park as Orin; Kelli Kopp of Countryside as Ronnette; Joe Mills of Westchester as the voice of Audrey II; and Emily Sharp of Chicago as Chiffon.

Local crew members include Stage Manager Bill Rotz of Woodridge; Assistant Stage Manager Dave Romito of Clarendon Hills; Laura Byrd of Hinsdale, lights; Production Coordinator Mary Ellen Schutt of Westmont; Program Editor Ed Barrow of Hinsdale; Program Editor Debbie Angellilo of Oak Brook; Eileen Crow of Hinsdale, props; Puppeting Coach Linda Roberts of Hinsdale; Set Dresser Janie Petkus of Hinsdale; Angelee Johns of Willowbrook, set painting; Pat Politano of Brookfield, sound; Mary Ellen Schutt of Westmont, box office; Assistant Stage Manager Jonathan Kraft of Indian Head Park; Dramaturg Rick Pavia of La Grange Park; Joe Mills of Westchester, hospitality; Ben Fallon of Western Springs, lights; Peggy Carlson of La Grange, makeup; Darla Goudeau of La Grange, props; Sue Wisthuff of La Grange, set painting; Pat Politano of Brookfield, sound; and Sound Engineer Ben Fallon of Western Springs.


If you go

WHAT: “Little Shop of Horrors” musical

WHERE: Theatre of Western Springs, 4384 Hampton Ave., Western Springs

WHEN: June 2 to 12, with curtain at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. June 5 and 12; 7:30 p.m. June 5; 2:30 p.m. June 11

COST: $23 and $25, with $12 student tickets

INFO: 708-246-3380,

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