Smith and Morgan

Oliver Smith (left) as 'Seymour Krelborn' and Madison Morgan as 'Audrey' perform a sing-through this week in preparation for The Academy Theatre's production of 'Little Shop of Horrors' Oct. 4 to 20.

It all starts with a finger prick. And the small bead of drawn blood is satisfying, at least to a giant, man-eating plant.

The Academy Theatre’s 2019-20 mainstage season opener brings horror comedy to life with "Little Shop of Horrors."

Directed by Julia Kemp and Jen Boyle, and featuring a nine-member cast, the production opens Oct. 4 and runs through Oct. 20 with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. and two special performances: 2 p.m. Oct. 12 and a late night show at 10:30 Oct. 19.

Based on the 1960 film of the same name, "Little Shop of Horrors," Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s 1982 stage musical follows the endearing Seymour Krelborn, a florist’s assistant who, with a finger prick, discovers a plant he has grown is unusually ravenous — ravenous for human flesh.

Seymour names the hungry plant Audrey II, after his coworker Audrey, with whom Seymour is secretly in love. As Audrey II grows at Mr. Mushnick’s Skid Row Florists, it requires more substantial meals and eventually acquires speech as it implores Seymour: “Feed me!” with rhythm and blues flair.

And as Audrey II becomes increasingly dangerous, Mr. Mushnick’s shop becomes wildly popular, with customers flocking to see the plant marvel. Though Seymour keeps Audrey II’s true nature to himself for as long as he can, Audrey II’s face unravels, stretching its vine limbs to all corners of the historic Academy stage.

Peppered with the tight harmonies of a trio of narrating urchins, the brutality of a Skid Row dentist and the grump of Mr. Mushnick, the Academy’s "Little Shop" offers the best of caricatured horror while presenting quietly beautiful love stories of Seymour and Audrey, man and greed, and man and man-eating plant.

With several accolades, including the 1983 Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical and the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical, "Little Shop of Horrors" at the Academy runs about two hours and promises a cast of talented, local vocalists and afternoons and evenings of rock, comedy and blood-thirsty entertainment.

Will Audrey II devour its seeming masters? Will Seymour get the girl?

Visit the "Little Shop of Horrors" to find out.

Volunteer Ellis Giacomelli is typically a lighting designer for Academy productions. For "Little Shop of Horrors," her role has been with the set crew as a painter.

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