by Sarah Hansen
The musical “Little Shop of Horrors” falls into the dark comedy genre. It has a rock musical vibe with music by Alan Menken, lyrics and a book by Howard Ashman. There are three show times available: Friday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. or Sunday Nov. 10 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students at the door.
Belmond-Klemme High School Thespians have a long history of producing amazing musicals and plays. This year’s show will be no less entertaining and quite possibly even more so than in year’s past. A big part of this has to do with the superior vocal talent involved in the show. Three of the leads in the musical recently made it into the Iowa All State Choir. However, if superb singing and acting doesn’t draw you to the show, maybe the interesting props being used this year will!
According to many sources involved in the show, the huge, man-eating, jive-talking plant known as Audrey II is their favorite thing about the musical! The voice part of the character is played by Cohen Sifert. Cohen is in 10th grade and has been involved in Thespians four years. His favorite thing about the musical is that he got his first lead role, and he wants people to know that the show is both “funny and scary.”
There are four other leading roles in “Little Shop of Horrors” along with a trio and ensemble cast. Other lead roles include Seymour Krelborn, a “yes sir” type of guy, a bit on the clumsy and shy side, but with a huge heart! This role is played by Caden Sifert. Caden is in 12th grade and has been in Thespians four years. Caden’s favorite thing about being in Thespians is the “awesome people.” He wants everyone to know there is a fantastic set and that the show is going to be really fun for the audience.
Seymour works in the flower shop with “dumb blond” Audrey, who is his love interest. The character of Audrey is described as “sweet, optimistic, and dreamy.” She is always looking out for Seymour. The role is played by Phoebe Nelson. Phoebe is in 11th grade and has been in Thespians three years. She says people should see the show because “It’s a really funny script and we have a lot of talent in this year’s musical, especially for a small school. Everybody has been working really hard and it’s going to be a great show!”
While Audrey is Seymour’s love interest, Audrey has her own -- a character named Orin Scrivello. Orin is a dentist with a definite wild side. He isn’t all that nice to Audrey, which makes Seymour very upset. Wyatt Heideman plays the role of Orin. Wyatt is in 12th grade and has been in Thespians five years. His favorite thing about Thespians is “being with friends doing something he loves.” Wyatt wants people to know that this year’s musical is really funny but also provides some scares!
The musical is set in a 1960's flower shop on skid row. The main characters are a bit down on their luck. A flower shop on skid row isn’t likely to draw many customers or produce a lot of sales, which makes the owner of the flower shop -- Mr. Mushnik -- especially short-tempered and desperate. Mushnik is a frumpy businessman that doesn’t pull any punches. This role is played by Jacob Hansen. Jacob is in 10th grade and has been in Thespians three years. When asked what he loves most about playing Mr. Mushnik, Jacob stated, “the yelling and the accent I do with my character.” He added, “The set and props are fantastic, and the show is incredibly funny and you should come watch it!”
A trio of female vocalists help bring narration to the story throughout the musical. The trio includes Crystal (played by 12th grader Kelsey Smith, four-year Thespian), Ronnette (played by 9th grader Emma Smith, first-year Thespian), and Chiffon (played by 10th grader Shea Sopher, third-year Thespian). Emma's favorite thing about the musical is “how hard working the cast is.” Shea wants people to come and see the show “because the set looks amazing and we have tons of cool props.” Kelsey explains, “My favorite thing about Little Shop of Horrors is the humor. Even though it has a pretty dark theme, there is still a lot of laughs, we can all get from the parts we play.”
Jonah Christianson, 12th grader and fifth year Thespian, is the stage manager for the musical. Jonah loves every part of Thespians, from acting to directing and everything in between. Jonah says people should come and see the show “because it is a reflection on how much work we put into it and how talented we are as a group of actors.”
Jaydon Gansen, 12th grader and fourth year Thespian, plays the Voice of God/Mrs. Luce. Jaydon wants people to know there are a lot of songs and people should come if they want to be entertained.
Mary Thompson, 12th grader and third year Thespian, plays the part of a customer. She says, “The songs throughout the show are very fun, and each song is very different from the last.” Her favorite thing about Thespians is being able to help make a show come to life, whether it’s through acting or helping with the set.n "The songs are catchy, the acting is great, and the effort that has been put into the show to make every prop stand out makes the show better.”
Cooper Sifert, 10th grader and third year Thespian, plays businessman ‘Skip Snip’. What he loves most is that he gets to sing with his brother on stage. Cooper says, “The show is going to be really funny, awesome to watch, and we have great singers and actors. Also, there is a giant man-eating plant!”
Acelia Watts, 10th grader and second year Thespian is helping back stage. She says, “It’s going to be a fantastic production.” Her sister Adeline, also a 10th grader and first year Thespian, is in the ensemble and also works on the crew. Adeline wants people to come and see the musical “to see the great actors, some for the last time.”
Serenity Ricke, 10th grader and second year Thespian, plays the role of Wino #2. Serenity wants people to know that there has been a tremendous amount of work put into the musical. "People should come see the musical because the support would show that you care about the people in the musical and the effort put in.”
Braden Warren, 9th grader and first year Thespian, is in the ensemble. Be on the lookout for the scene where he gets to fight over a sandwich! Braden’s favorite thing about the musical are the songs. He also says, “It’s funn,y and a musical you can bring the whole family to.”
This year’s musical is directed by the new B-K vocal music instructor Madeline Allen. Allen has had support from other staff including including, but not limited to Mrs. Nelson, Mrs. Bock and Ms. Imsande. Nelson has been volunteering a lot of extra time to help with the set and put the final touches on the performance. Her favorite things about the musical are “the characters and the plant – it’s huge!” She wants people to come out and see the show to “enjoy a night of theater – better than a movie because you know the people.”
Allen wants people to know “that a lot of hard work has gone into this show. From acting, set design, singing, lights and sound. It is not an easy show, and these students have done an amazing job with it. The show has a little bit of everything: love, humor, sadness, murder, dentists, and tons and tons of flowers.” Ms. Allen would like to recognize everyone for their hard work. “I don’t know what I would do without them all. I would also like to thank several members of the community for their support. This show would not exist without a community to support it and come see it.”
On a personal note, I want to share that the students involved in this year’s musical are talented, caring and considerate teenagers. Through this interview process, many of them commented about how being in Thespians is like being with family. At a time when so many teenagers are struggling to know where they fit in and how to develop the coping skills needed to navigate this time in their life, it was refreshing to hear from many of them that they have found a place they feel welcome, accepted and at home – on or near the STAGE!
During the Saturday and Sunday performances, the Steeltoes Softball team will be selling bars and water in the student center. (A spaghetti dinner previously planned for Friday night has been cancelled.)
The B-K Thespians include:
Seniors - Jonah Christianson, Wyatt Heideman, Jaydon Gansen, Caden Sifert, Alex Wessels, Brynn Heideman, Emma Schroeder, Emma Askildson, Jesse Brown, Mary Thompson, Kassidy Miller, Kelsey Smith, Gisselle Murrillo, Ty Mennenga, Zach Heidan, McKenna Pentico, Elizabeth Boots;
Juniors - Vanessa Naranjo, Jazmyn Gomez, Addie Buseman, Phoebe Nelson, Cole Nelson, Abby Bates, Val Torres, Emily Simonson, Jordynn Knapp, Madi Barrus, Malachi Hubka, Dezi German;
Sophomores - Cohen Sifert, Cooper Sifert, Shea Sopher, Jacob Hansen, Acelia Watts, Addie Watts, Kaitlin Alfaro, Dalton Clark, Serenity Ricke, Hannah Miller, Zackry Brannen, Jakob Williams, McKenna Hall-Hoyt;
Freshman - Emma Smith , Ben Eckhoff, Braydon Warren, Kaydence Gardner, Grace Sheehan, Merari Arenas Carlos, Mackenzie Rodriguez, Alyssa Bosgeiter.