DAVIDSON – The black box theater at Community School of Davidson’s high school location is a work in progress. There’s a layer of dust coating everything and a construction crew within earshot.
But theater instructor Melissa Ohlman-Roberge sees only possibilities when she looks around the space with a satisfied smile.
“Our students are busy rehearsing and creating props for our big musical debut,” she said.
Ticket sales from this month’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” will help offset the cost to build the unadorned performance space, which will allow for various stage and seating placements.
The school’s inaugural rock musical is a comedic horror based on the Broadway production and 1986 film of the same name. Ohlman-Roberge said the two-act show features 18 high school students as well as numerous baby plants played by CSD’s kindergarten, first- and second-graders.
“It’s a story about a boy and a girl and a plant. The boy works at a local florist shop, and he discovers this plant that he thinks is going to help them all get wealthy,” she said. “But it turns out the plant is a man-eating plant whose goal it is to take over the whole world.”
The plant, which resembles a Venus Fly Trap, goes through a continuous growth process onstage and reaches a size of 10 feet in diameter and six feet in height.
“We are renting the large Audrey plant from a Charlotte high school who has recently performed ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’ The rental benefits both schools’ arts programs.” Ohlman-Roberge said. “The plant talks, the plant sings, the plant moves, the plant interacts, the plant eats people.”
She added that at its largest proportions, the puppet plant becomes home to two operators who sit within it, making its mouth and tendrils move around.
Seymour, the male lead, is played by Sophomore Wyatt Grennan. He names the plant Audrey II after his love interest, whom he seeks to rescue from a bad relationship.
“I was really excited because it’s our first school production musical here. So when I saw it, I was just like, ‘Well, that’s for me! I’ve got to go do that!’” Grennan said. “I love how it takes horror movies and tongue-in cheek stuff and plays off of it, how it’s so over the top.”
Grennan’s been acting since the seventh grade and spent the last two summers at Camp Encore-Coda in New Hampshire working on “Pippin” and “Godspell.”
The multitalented teenager plays guitar, piano, bass and drums while also singing and writing his own lyrics.
He hopes to become a producer for musicians and bands.
“Wyatt has a kind of a dry sense of humor, very much like the play actually, so it actually plays to his strength in that regard.” Ohlman-Roberge said.
BOX: Want to go?
See the show at Armour Street Theatre, 104 Armour St., May 23 at 7 p.m., May 24 at 4 and 7 p.m. and May 25 at 2, 5 and 8 p.m. Visit www.csdnc.org and click on the plant link for tickets.