Audrey II, you grow girl


The urchins of Skid Row performed their choreography created by Maya Dubravec.

Stephanie Hansing, Reporter

“My favorite part is getting eaten,” sophomore Aidan Richardson said of the giant Audrey II plant that features in this year’s spring musical. “You could nap in there, it’s padded with foam.”

Sophomore Aidan Richardson took on his second major role in a U-High musical as Seymour in “Little Shop of Horrors.” (Stephanie Hansing)

“Little Shop of Horrors” is Richardson’s second musical at U-High, in which he portrays Seymour. Seymour is a struggling botanist who tries to impress Audrey, his coworker, but doesn’t think that he is good enough for her. Seymour finds an unusual plant that brings attention to him and Mushnik’s flower shop. He names the plant Audrey II after Audrey. It is later learned that the plant feeds on blood, and the store becomes “a little shop of horrors,” Richardson said.

A lot of work goes on behind the scenes of any production.

“There was one day when I was there from 9 am-12 pm for dance and then stayed from 1 pm-5 pm to help with costumes,” senior Emma Bottomley said. 

Chris Corpus, vocal director of the musical, estimated that during tech week and dress rehearsals, they could spend 30+ hours on the musical a week. 

Lighting, costumes, pit band, and soundboard are behind-the-scenes roles that make all the difference. 

Senior Lilia Labertew is the stage manager and also designs lighting. 

“I hope people notice the lighting changes and what they could symbolize in the show for different emotions or plot changes,” Labertew said. 

Corpus praises all the work the pit band and all the actors put into their music.

 “The music sounds like simple pop music, but there is so much difficulty and layering that makes it so complicated,” Corpus said.

Audrey II is a large component of the stage and interacts with many characters in the musical. When the musical was selected Corpus and theater director Benjamin Webb had to decide if they wanted to rent the plant or construct it themselves. Computer science and engineering teacher, Cory Culbertson, and his Intro to Engineering students took on the task of creating a massive plant structure capable of moving and swallowing students. The skeleton was constructed with over 150 ft of steel rebar and a playground slide was added for when the actors were eaten.

“I was eager to be the first person to try [the slide]” Culbertson said.

Culbertson’s excitement was shared by many.

“I was so excited, I almost shed a tear [when I saw it], we’ve never done something that large before,” Labertew said. 

These recent performances were “all special in their own way, that comes with live theater” Corpus said. “Every show is just a little different than the previous.” 

Unlike previous years of musicals, there are two sets of performances this year. The second set is Friday and Saturday, April 21-22. 

“You will not regret going. It has great music, great acting, and an amazing set,” Labertew said.