Are you a fan of offbeat horror-comedies with catchy tunes? If so, you’ve probably heard of Little Shop of Horrors – the cult classic film turned Broadway musical. But did you know that its journey from low-budget movie to box office smash hit was anything but smooth?
Let’s take a closer look at the origins of Little Shop of Horrors, its rise to Broadway fame, and how it became one of the most beloved musicals of all time.
The Origins of Little Shop of Horrors
Little Shop of Horrors started out as a 1960 comedy-horror movie by legendary filmmaker Roger Corman. Shot in just two days on a budget of $30,000, the film followed the misadventures of nebbishy florist Seymour Krelborn and his bloodthirsty plant, Audrey II. Despite its low budget and B-movie style, Little Shop of Horrors became a cult classic thanks to its oddball humor and quirky characters.
It wasn’t until the early 1980s, however, that Little Shop of Horrors really began to take off.
The Broadway Breakthrough
In 1982, composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman turned Little Shop of Horrors into a musical, which premiered off-off-Broadway to rave reviews. The show’s catchy tunes, clever lyrics, and offbeat humor captured audiences’ hearts, and it quickly became a Broadway hit.
But it wasn’t just the music and humor that made Little Shop of Horrors a success. The show’s groundbreaking special effects, including a series of increasingly large and terrifying Audrey IIs, wowed audiences and set a new standard for musical theater spectacle.
The Cast that Made It Happen
Of course, no musical is complete without a talented cast to bring the story to life. Little Shop of Horrors had an impressive lineup of performers, starting with its original off-off-Broadway cast, which included Lee Wilkof as Seymour and Ellen Greene as Audrey.
When the show transferred to Broadway, Wilkof reprised his role, while Greene was replaced by the equally talented Jennifer Leigh Warren. The show also featured memorable performances by Ron Taylor as Audrey II, Sheila Kay Davis as the chorus girl trio, and future Academy Award winner Marissa Tomei in a small role.
The Movie That Almost Wasn’t
With the Broadway production a hit, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood came calling. In 1986, Little Shop of Horrors was adapted into a feature film directed by Frank Oz, with a star-studded cast that included Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Steve Martin, and John Candy.
But the movie almost didn’t see the light of day. In an infamous act of executive meddling, the film’s original ending – which was faithful to the stage production – was scrapped in favor of a happier, more upbeat finale. Fans were outraged, and the movie’s box office performance suffered as a result.
The Legacy of Little Shop of Horrors
Despite the missteps of the film adaptation, there’s no denying that Little Shop of Horrors has had a lasting impact on pop culture. Its catchy tunes, quirky characters, and dark humor have inspired countless imitators and homages over the years, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Sweeney Todd to The Simpsons.
But perhaps the greatest legacy of Little Shop of Horrors is the way it brought horror and comedy together in a fresh and unique way, paving the way for other genre-bending works like Shaun of the Dead, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, and What We Do in the Shadows.
Conclusion: Little Shop of Horrors Broadway
From its humble beginnings as a low-budget movie to its iconic status as a Broadway musical, Little Shop of Horrors has come a long way in the last six decades. With its oddball humor, catchy tunes, and groundbreaking special effects, it’s no wonder that the show remains a fan favorite to this day.
So whether you’re a long-time Little Shop of Horrors fan or a newcomer to the series, there’s never been a better time to get in on the fun. So grab your guitar, feed your plant, and let’s do the Time Warp again – because who knows where Little Shop of Horrors will take us next!