BVU Theatre to Present "Little Shop of Horrors"

BVU Theatre to Present "Little Shop of Horrors"

BVU Theatre to Present
Scenery artwork by BVU grad and comic book writer/illustrator Aaron Gillespie. The musical will use comic book visuals.

Buena Vista University Theatre will present the musical comedy Little Shop of Horrors this fall.

Performances of the spoof of sci-fi movies will be Oct. 26-27 and Nov. 2-3 at Anderson Auditorium on the BVU campus, starting at 8 p.m. and Oct. 28 and Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. Dr. Bethany Larson, associate professor of theatre, is director. David Walker, assistant professor of theatre, is designer and technical director. Jerry Bertrand, assistant professor of music, is musical director.

The play tells the story of a down-and out skid row floral assistant who becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant with a mysterious craving for fresh blood. Soon "Audrey II" grows into an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore who offers him fame and fortune in exchange for feeding its growing appetite, finally revealing itself to be an alien creature poised for global domination. The musical is based on a 1960 movie and was one of the longest running Off-Broadway shows. It was also on Broadway for a time and was made into a 1986 film. The play was written by Howard Ashman (book and lyrics) and Alan Menken (music).

Cast members in lead roles are:

  • Crystal — Cindy Barahona, senior art major from Storm Lake. 
  • Ronnette — Kelsey Davidson, sophomore music education major from Schaller.
  • Chiffon — Bonnie Keller, freshman from Sioux City. 
  • Mushnik — Stephen Condon, sophomore vocal music performance, theatre, and arts management triple major from Barnum.
  • Seymour — Taylor Burgraff, senior history major from Fairmont, Minn.
  • Audrey — Kylie Peterson, senior music education K-12 and vocal performance double major from Lincoln, Neb.
  • Orin — Izaak Plunkett, freshman music production and communications double major from Spirit Lake.
  • Audrey II voice — Jacob Pedersen, junior music education major from Manson.

Members of the ensemble cast are:

  • Corker — Zachary Schmidt, freshman digital media major from Northwood.
  • Lady — Kadie Dennison, junior theatre and communication studies double major from Lisbon.
  • Angle — Dennis Arteaga, freshman theatre and business double major from Oelwein.
  • Mamarama — Katy Rubino, senior digital media major Story City.
  • Geezer — Seth Mecklenburg, freshman digital media major from Adams, Wis.
  • Tiny — Jarrod Roth, senior English education major from Ethan, S.D.
  • Cupcake — Andrea Nicholson, junior arts management major from Saint Paul, Minn.
  • Zigs — Nicole Boysen, freshman music major from Danbury.
  • Beans — Alec Sindelar, freshman marketing and graphic design major from Winside, Neb.
  • Muffin — Arik Ostler, sophomore computer science and mathematics major from Red Oak.

Hannah Anderson, junior arts management theatre major from Boone is the assistant director, and Tyler Klobassa, junior computer science major from Nashua is the stage manager.

Also appearing in the production are Larson’s and Walker’s children, Beatrice and Dalton Walker, as well as Katrin Musel, daughter of BVU staff members Tom and Donna Musel, playing the roles of “Jacks,” “Headline,” and “Hopscotch” respectively.

Unique Scenic Art Residency Scheduled

Little Shop of Horrors will also be a central part of a unique educational opportunity for BVU students interested in art and scene design.

A Scenic Art Residency led by Dana Gloege, who works at Delloite University in Dallas, Texas, will be offered Oct. 4-7 with the final project focused on painting of scenic pieces for the play. Gloege, who has over 25 years of professional design and scenic art experience, will work with students on a variety of scene painting techniques and creative entrepreneurship.

The art renderings for the musical’s scenery, which has a comic book theme, are being provided by Aaron Gillespie, Class of 2002, Iowa City, who has been co-writer on the Bionic Man comic book series and will eventually take over as sole writer.

“We found out this summer that Aaron was working on the Bionic Man comic book series, and that he would eventually take over its authorship,” says Larson. “When we decided on our comic book concept for the musical, Aaron seemed like the perfect person to call on for some collaborative assistance.”

Gloege, who previously was an assistant professor of theatre at Stephen F. Austin State University, will also be conducting a program for all BVU students on how to creatively market their artistic skills across a variety of business and industry segments.

Ticket reservations for the play can be made online at or the theatre hotline at 712.749.2211. Tickets will be available at the Information Desk in the Siebens Forum starting Oct. 15 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The play is considered suitable for all audiences except very young children.