Camas students prep for ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

Sci-fi musical featuring man-eating plant opens March 16 at Camas High

From left to right: Maddie Bertalot, Catherine Garcia and Grace Ireland, who play the three street urchins and Greek Chorus in the upcoming Camas High performance of "Little Shop of Horrors," rehearse their opening act on Monday, March 5.

It’s almost time for Camas High School theater students to showcase vocalists, actors and a giant human-eating plant in their debut of “Little Shop of Horrors,” featuring music by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, at 7 p.m., Friday, March 16, at Camas High.

The show will run again on Saturday, March 17, 23 and 24 at 7 p.m. There will be a matinee showing on March 17 and 24 at 2 p.m.

Tickets cost $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and students. Students must provide a valid ASB card to get the reduced ticket price.

“Little Shop of Horrors” is a sci-fi horror musical that features pop-rock music from the 1950s.

Camas High sophomore Clayton Lukens, who plays Mr. Mushnik, the owner of a failing flower shop, said he thinks the audience will find the show interesting because of its unique sci-fi take on a musical.

“I think that’s what draws a lot of people into the show,” Lukens said. “It’s so different from other shows and not your basic Broadway type (of presentation).”

Camas High senior Maddie Bertalot plays Ronnette, one of the street urchins who act as a sort of Greek Chorus for the show. She said the musical’s ending isn’t what she initially expected it to be, which makes it more enticing.

Sean Kelly, Camas drama teacher and director, said “Little Shop of Horrors” has been one of his favorite shows since he’s been involved in theater.

“I was 12 when I first worked it, and have been in love with it ever since,” Kelly said. “It has great music, a great story, fun characters and, of course, the giant man-eating plant, so what’s not to love?”

“(The show) is so much fun,” Bertalot said. “The emotions really just change with a snap and there’s so many little innuendos, it’s hilarious.”

Bryson Colson, a Camas High sophomore, is part of the ensemble for the play. He said that the way Kelly has developed the characters and choreography will be interesting for viewers.

The show is over the top while still maintaining an under the line feeling, Colson added.

“It’s a show about a plant taking over the world,” he said. “But it’s a pretty serious show, there are big song pieces, but they’re not acting like Jim Carrey over the roof, so I think (the audience) will like that.”

Bertalot has acted in two shows at Camas High, and was a part of the technical crew for three other shows. She said the family environment created within the theater program has kept her coming back.

“The entire cast is super talented and just hilarious to work with,” Kelly said. “Our principals are top-notch performers with great experience and passion for performing. Our chorus sounds amazing and is putting everything into their characters. Nobody in particular stands out because everyone is giving their best every day.”

People notice when one person is having a bad day, she said: “(The atmosphere) is very, ‘if you need anything, then I’m here for you.’ It’s a very accepting crowd.”

Lukens, who has participated in theater since he was 8 years old, said he likes that every production is a new experience.

“I like the idea that everything is consistently new,” he said. “You can’t get tired of it because every show is different and every show is new.”

The tickets for “Little Shop of Horrors” can be purchased at the door, one hour before each performance. The doors open 30 minutes before each show.

The crew will offer photo opportunities with one of the plants after the show.

“So bring the kids, if it won’t be too scary for them,” Kelly said.