Students put on a great Little Shop of Horrors

Music and energy, mystery and romance, comedy and laughter, secrets and strangeness. Little Shop of Horrors, King’s Academy’s fall theatrical production, was a musical extravaganza that literally had it all. From commanding acting performances, powerful singing and catchy tunes, to dark humor and impressive set design and audio-visual effects, led by a talented cast and crew, Little Shop of Horrors was one for the books.

Co-directed by theater faculty members Meghna Gandhi and Pieter Jonker, Little Shop of Horrors is an American horror comedy musical based on the book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, with music by Alan Menken. The plot centers on a floral shop worker, Seymour, who discovers a sentient carnivorous plant that feeds on human blood. The musical was presented through special arrangement with Music Theater International (MTI).

In what could be called an all-school production, with students, faculty and staff from all departments pitching in to help make the musical come to life, Little Shop of Horrors was performed in the Abdul Majeed Shoman Auditorium in front of delighted audiences on the evenings of December 6, 7 and 8.

The Little Shop of Horrors

That included the 13 students making up the talented cast, the 17 dedicated theater tech crew members, and over 20 production team members — not to mention dozens of community members lending their support in various ways from set production, to purchasing, costumes and makeup, the robotics team, dining hall staff, operations and motor pool.

According to the co-directors Gandhi and Jonker, Little Shop of Horrors has an energy that is exciting, mysterious and captivating. It is romantic, scary, satirical and edgy, all at the same time. Most importantly, they say, it is bizarre.

“Our directorial concept for this show is ‘light and dark’,” said Gandhi. “The more we worked with Little Shop of Horrors, the more we saw the scope for this duality that defines human life. Our characters are often torn between difficult choices. As directors, this was a joy to explore with our young actors. We challenged them to depths of thinking and being that require maturity and commitment — and boy, did they lean into the challenge!”

The Little Shop of Horrors

The actors were put through rigorous exercises in voice, storytelling, building intention, physicality and connection, according to the directors. “Through these exercises, our students have inspired us with their curiosity, tenacity and ability to take risks, stretching themselves out of their comfort zones on a daily basis. We are immensely proud of them and their growth.”

With a prop that was as much a character as one of the human actors, making the story come alive with a moving, talking, singing, blood-thirsty and demanding alien plant that grew bigger with each change of scene, the people making the set come to life were just as vital to the magic of the production as those on stage.

Commending the theater tech team for their support behind the scenes, the directors said: “A group of young craftsmen (and maybe wizards) have been cutting, sawing, hammering, gluing, twisting, painting, lighting — working collaboratively with the school’s adult team of agriculture, carpentry and engineering experts — to create the very life of our world in Little Shops of Horrors.”

The Little Shop of Horrors

Alongside the fall musical, King’s Academy’s Advancement Office also organized a Silent Auction to take place on the same dates as the performance. During the Silent Auction, 15 pieces of stunning art created by current students or alumni, ranging from paintings, photography and sculptures, were put up for auction, with proceeds going to support the fine and performing arts programs at King’s Academy.

Aya Ahmed, Bana Haloush, Caleb Jackman, Dina Wahdan, Faris Kassisieh, Hashim Al Aoun, Jumana Alnobani, Layan Dawani, Leen Darawsheh, Liliana Abuzeid, Mia Fraiture, Noredin Alsaidah andRand Tadros.

Aoun Al-Aoun, Dana AbdelLatif, Fatima Iqbal, Mohammad Wahdan, Nishtha Roy, Noor Shahinbanwi, Nour Tawasha, Sadeel Alhazim, Saja Aggad, Sama Al-Issa, Serena Beool, Seonju Ko, Suleiman AlKhayyat, Tala Hajjiri, Tamara Lutfi, Wadha Aljasem and Uwase Ange.

Production team:
Abdelqader Abuoqah, Ahmad Al-Saadi, Ali Al-Khateeb, Claire Pritchard, Frances Jones, Hassan Al-Sawari, Hassan Hammoudeh, Judith Goltz, Marianne Harcourt, Meghna Gandhi, Mohammad Abu Aliyeh, Mohammad Amin Khateeb, Muhyealdeen Theban, Nancy Lutfi, Osama Al-Sureeki, Pieter Jonker, Salem Al-Dad, Samuel Hennessy and Wisam Mansour.

  • Actor
  • Musical