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Oliver Long of Edwardsburg plays Seymour

Oliver Long of Edwardsburg plays Seymour

Aliya Leavitt of Paw Paw portrays

Aliya Leavitt of Paw Paw portrays Audrey

Lee’Yah Durr of Dowagiac is excited to be appearing in her first musical

Dowagiac’s Lee’Yah Durr is excited to be appearing in her first musical

Everyone wants a piece of Seymour

Everyone wants a piece of Seymour

Kirstin Carlson

Kirsten Carlson

Kenton Smith voices the carnivorous plant, Audrey II

Trenton Smith voices the carnivorous plant, Audrey II

SMC’s ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ opens March 21

Published on February 20, 2024 - 4 p.m.

Southwestern Michigan College presents “Little Shop of Horrors” as its spring musical March 21-23 at 7:30 p.m. and at 2 p.m. March 24 in the theatre of the Dale A. Lyons Building on the Dowagiac campus. See for ticket information.

Set in Skid Row in 1960s Los Angeles, Mushnick’s meek flower shop assistant Seymour Krelborn (Oliver Long of Edwardsburg) pines for coworker Audrey (Aliya Leavitt of Paw Paw).

Seymour discovers an unusual plant he names Audrey II (Trenton Smith voices the carnivorous puppet), which feeds exclusively on human flesh and blood. The growing plant attracts a great deal of business for the previously struggling store until Seymour finds himself at the eye of a media maelstrom.

Seymour must come up with more bodies for the increasingly bloodthirsty plant. The musical was also made into a 1986 film. SMC staged the show in 2004 and in 2012.

“I wanted to do something that would excite the community to come out, and Little Shop is a cult classic,” Director Marcus Jordan said. “It investigates the human condition. What do you do when you get what you want, and is what you want what you really need? Can you handle what you want?”

Little Shop is often described as a Greek tragedy in which its young, fallible hero seeks to improve his life by exploiting a higher power. In typical Greek fashion, the angry gods don’t just punish the hero, but extend their wrath to everyone he loves.

“It’s also a shade of Faust,” Jordan said.

Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend based on the historical Johann Georg Faust. The erudite Faust is highly successful yet dissatisfied with his life, which leads him to make a pact with the Devil at a crossroads, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures.

Long majors in general science at SMC, though this isn’t his first musical-theatre rodeo.

“I might deviate a little more toward medical,” Long said. “I definitely want to do music in the future, but off to the side after I get a stable job. I was going to try out for the dentist, but I just went for Seymour. At Edwardsburg I did six shows, including Singing in the Rain, White Christmas, Into the Woods, a Star Wars parody and Clue.

Long sings in three SMC choirs — Select Voices, Concert Choir and the Men’s Ensemble.

“It’s a lot being in a college production,” Long said. “It’s pretty different from high school. More independent. You’re expected to know your stuff. I really enjoy singing this genre of music. We started Jan. 16 after Christmas break. It feels a lot longer than a month, but it’s coming along.”

Leavitt plays trombone in the Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble as well as choral music since her senior year. She sang in last Nov. 11’s cabaret, “To Inspire...A Musical Collage.”

“I’ve done musical theatre for a couple of years,” Leavitt said. “We didn’t move to Paw Paw until halfway through my freshman year, so I didn’t get to do the musical, then COVID hit. I did Curtains and Footloose last year. I also did a Shakespeare play, The Merry Wives of Windsor. It was awful learning over 200 lines. I love theatre and costumes.”

Leavitt is also an SMC freshman, majoring in music education.

“I’ve done shows, but this is one of the best casts. High school can be toxic, but it’s great here. I love it so much. I grew up with Little Shop of Horrors because my parents love the show. I knew I had to audition.”

For Dowagiac’s Lee’Yah Durr, Little Shop is her first rodeo.

“I play the three urchins’ mom,” said the vocal music major, who sang for SMC alumnus Hunter Schuur at Union High School. “I also play the deejay. This is my first musical, so I’m highly nervous, but so excited!” She also sang in the cabaret.

Director of Choral Activities David Carew, who was part of the 2012 production, is a big fan of the music by Alan Menken with lyrics and book by Howard Ashman. They created Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.

 “I’ve been in it, so I know the music and storyline well,” Carew said. “The plant is about feeding greed and being careful what you wish for. ‘Suddenly Seymour’ is one of the great duets in all of the canon. I grew up with Motown, and Levi Stubbs (of the Four Tops) sang the plant in the movie. I was in like seventh grade and not really into musicals, but it was so clever, it literally changed my life.”