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16 May 2007
Little Shop of Horror's
Blood-loving Plant Has Gift of Gab

By Shawn Ryan
Star Entertainment Editor
Anniston Star

Reprinted here in its entirety.

Michelle Deese-Lawton animates Audrey the flower and Jason Skinner provides the voice in the musical Little Shop of Horrors. Photo: Kevin Qualls/The Anniston Star.

The one thing that I've done specific with the plant is that he enjoys talking,” Skinner says. “He knows he's the only plant that can talk, so he enjoys every line that he says.”

To that end, Skinner delivers Audrey II's lines with enunciated gusto. And that includes the three songs that the plant sings during the play.

“That's the most I've ever done in a production,” says Skinner, who has had roles in such JSU productions as Seussical the Musical, 1984 and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. He's also performed in several professional productions, including two summer stock productions in Ohio and a third coming up this summer, again in Ohio.

Also starring in Little Shop are Jeremy Reaves as Seymour Krelborn and Sumer Buckner as Audrey. Fred Lawton appears as sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello and Joseph Giri plays Mr. Mushnik.

Although named after Seymour's girlfriend, the blood-loving Audrey II is definitely male with a deep, resounding voice. Luckily for the 27-year-old Skinner, who has a rather deep speaking voice, he's already had experience with booming-voiced characters.

“I've done some professional outdoor theater where I played an Indian chief and I had to have a big voice for an amphitheater,” says Skinner, a native of Douglasville, Ga.

Indoors with Audrey II, Skinner stands offstage with a microphone while Michelle Deese-Lawton works the giant flower puppet onstage, created by a company out of Atlanta. It would be virtually impossible to play the role and work the puppet at the same time, Skinner says.

“I'd be huffing and puffing; that puppet is pretty huge,” he says.

During rehearsals, Lawton is inside the puppet, matching her movements with Skinner's words and vice versa.

“Usually she follows me and I'm pretty consistent with my lines,” he says.

Little Shop of Horrors

When: 8 p.m. Tonight-Saturday & Thursday-Saturday, May 17-19.
Where: JSU/McClellan Theatre, Gamecock Drive, McClellan.
How much: $15 adults, $8 students; Thursdays are “pay-what-you-can.”
Contact: 820-2278.

About Shawn Ryan

Shawn Ryan is the travel editor and entertainment editor for The Star.

See story at The Anniston Star's website: .

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