BELLEVUE — “He just eats people basically,” Bellevue High School junior Jared Skiles said casually about the character he will portray in his school musical, which is set for performances this weekend.
Skiles isn’t referring to Hannibal Lecter or any other cannibal.
“Not many people can say they’ve played a man-eating plant,” he said, a statement which should give many a clue about the title of this year’s musical.
It’s the cult favorite “Little Shop of Horrors,” based on the 1986 movie starring Rick Moranis as nerdy flower shop merchant Seymour and Steve Martin as Orin Scrivello, D.D.S., a dentist and a bully.
On its website, theatrical licensing agency Music Theatre International describes the show as “a deviously delicious Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi smash musical.
BHS senior Brandon Heyward, who’s appearedin more than 35 shows in and out of school, said he’s wanted to perform in ”Little Shop“ since his freshman year. Seymour’s awkwardness won him over, he said..
Seymour is a ”good guy“ — a change of pace from last year for Heyward, who portrayed the narcissistic, arrogant villain Gaston in last year’s BSA production of ”Beauty and the Beast.“
Playing a good person is ”nice change of pace,“ he said.
This year, Skiles is one of two students who get to play villains. The other is senior Winston Schaffer, who portrays Scrivello, a dentist and bully.
Skiles plays the voice of the man-eating plant known as ”Audrey II“ once it’s fully grown. ”It“ might not be human, but Skiles referred to the ravenous plant in human terms.
”It’s cool (playing him) cause he’s a bad guy,“ Skiles said.
Others in the cast include senior Hannah Koechly as the human Audrey and junior Standley Johnson as Mr. Mushnik. The cast also includes nine puppeters to make the man-eating plant at various stages of his growth operate. In all, there are 24 students in the cast, Sommers said.
Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Bellevue Elementary School, 1150 Castalia St.
On Sunday, a judge from the Ohio Educational Theatre Association will evalutae the production to decide whether Bellevue the production to the Ohio Educational Thespian Conference in March at Dublin Scioto High School. About 1,500 student thespians from schools throughout the state will perform, director Angie Sommers said.
She said student thesipians from throughout the state perform 12 to 15 full-length shows at the conference, vying to advance to a national conference. Last year marked the first time since 1996 that Bellevue took a show to the state conference. In 1996, Bellevue took a production of the sex farce ”Noises Off“ to state, while last year, they took a production of a stage adaptation of the TV show ”M*A*S*H.“’
Normally, when BHS students perform, the audience numbers 500 to 600 for the whole weekend, Sommers said. At the conference, 400 can take in a single performance, she added. Sommers said when judges consider whether a production is state worthy, they look at every aspect.
Sommers attributed ”M*A*S*H’s“ successful bid for state to everything looking authentic. The cast borrowed ”actual Korean War memorabilia“ from the Firelands Military Vehicle Group (http://firelandsmilitaryvehiclegroup.com.).
Sommers said while ”M*A*S*H“ didn’t qualify for the national, it was an honor just to perform at the state conference.
”A lot of the same people are in this (production),“ Sommers said, referring to ”Little Shop.“
Those students include Skiles, who said playing the plant is his favorite role high school, where he’s performed four shows.
Skiles is undecided about which college he will attend or which career he’ll pursue, but knows what he’ll study: biology.
He noted, however, that Audrey II is nothing like him.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: ”Little Shop of Horrors.“
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Bellevue Elementary School.
HOW MUCH: $8 for adults as well as $6 for students and seniors. You can buy tickets at the door.