Being a plant in just about any school production of a play typically means one will be playing a singing or dancing tree, a bush or even a flower.
“Little Shop of Horrors,” the annual SMFHS musical, is not your typical production.
The premise of the play features a man-eating plant, voiced by senior Robert Moorhead, that is becoming the hot attraction of the small town in which Seymour, the protagonist played by senior Bryan Detweiler, resides. After a number of wacky songs and crazy story lines, Moorhead and the man inside the plant, senior Greg Dyer, become just Stow students again.
“I love the energy that seems to fill the musical,” Moorhead said. “[Director Robert] Putka has been encouraging us to ham it up, and I've been loving every minute of it.”
Moorhead will be sitting in what he calls “a special room” for the duration of the show, voicing the enormous plant hand-constructed by the cast and crew of the musical.
“[My job] is really tough, since if the puppeteer and I aren't in perfect syncronisation, then it just looks awkward,” Moorhead said.
Moorhead, who has been surrounded by music and theater his entire life, says that the role of Audrey II, the name of the plant, is the most fun he has ever had playing any character. He describes the monster as “bombastic,” and a bit of a show-off.
The senior has been practicing this role since after Christmas break, taking part in rehearsals he notes are intense.
“Putka has done a good job at keeping everyone working. I will admit that because I only physically appear at the very end, most of my time is spent in a chair with a microphone in front of me, watching the other performers... perform. It's really given me a unique perspective on the rest of the play, as I observe just as much as I participate,” Moorhead said.
One of Moorhead's first roles came when he was cast to be a butler in Lakeview Intermediate School's “Annie Jr.” Since then, he has involved himself with three school musicals, a few Drama Club productions and, most notably, ETC School of Musical Arts, a local show choir that has been making noise in the state through their top finishes at competitions.
“The reason I tried out for the musical was because I saw it as an opportunity to have an amazing time while acting. There aren't that many plays that have villainous characters that are not only show stealers, but also as over-the-top as Audrey II,” Moorhead said.
The show is this weekend, April 20, 21 and 22. Tickets have been on pre-sale and continue to go quickly—general admission for students and senior citizens will cost eight dollars, as for adults the price will be 10 dollars. Finally, for a great view of the show and a guaranteed spot in the crowd, one can obtain reserved seating for just $12 a ticket.