ELLISVILLE – The Jones County Junior College theater department has been taken over by a unique plant, featured in this year’s show, “The Little Shop of Horrors”. Audrey the plant will be looking for something other than plant food during the show’s three performances on Friday, February 18 and Saturday, February 19 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, February 20 at 2:30 p.m. in the JCJC Fine Arts Auditorium. Tickets are $5 and JCJC students can see the play free with their JCJC I.D.
JCJC sophomore from Yazoo City, John Wright plays Seymour, who talks to his new found plant which is apparently responsible for his new found fame and fortune in the musical, “Little Shop of Horrors”.
The musical centers around Seymour Krelbourn who is a poor young man working at a run-down flower shop on skid row. After discovering an alien plant following a total eclipse of the sun, Seymour’s life changes drastically. He brings the plant to Mr. Mushnik’s store, and gains fame, fortune, and love. The only problem is that the plant feeds on human blood. Seymour and the plant make a deal which can only benefit one of them!
This year’s spring musical is a familiar favorite for JCJC alumna and musical theater producer and director, Nikki Johnson. As a JCJC student in 1996, Johnson discovered her passion for theater as the character, Ronette in “Little Shop of Horrors,” which was her first musical performance.
“The cast members and I had way too much fun and I was hooked after that!” said Johnson. “I couldn’t wait to produce this show as a faculty member at JCJC. Fortunately we had just the right students to fill the roles for the spring show. It has really been a special year for me.”
The cast of characters include sophomore, John Wright of Yazoo City playing the lead role of Seymour and newcomer to the stage, sophomore Wynn Brewer of Leakesville has taken on the ditzy character of Audrey.
“She is nothing like me,” said Brewer. “She has low self confidence, is very vulnerable and not modest. I have really had to study this character!”
Audrey played by Wynn Brewer of Leakesville (right) turns down plans shy Seymour, played by JCJC sophomore, John Wright, has for a date.
Playing Seymour was also a challenge for Wright who is a musical veteran. Last year in JCJC’s musical “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown”, Wright played everyone’s favorite beagle, Snoopy. This year’s role took a little research too, said Wright.
“Seymour is a shy, meek little guy which is very unlike me,” said Wright. “This has been my favorite musical I have ever done. It has been the most challenging and most exciting. I cannot wait to share our hard work with everyone!”
Two people will be playing the role of Audrey the plant. Miles Alexander of Long Beach is the puppeteer and Dr. Mike Lopinto who works for the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Music and is a special event manager, is the voice of the plant. He is also “The Voice of the Pride” at the University of Southern Mississippi, and television commercials. Lopinto’s theatrical credits range from directing and choreographing to designing and acting with favorite roles including Cats (Old Deuteronomy), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Cogsworth), Annie (Daddy Warbucks), Carousel (Mr. Snow), West Side Story (Doc, swing), Hello, Dolly! (Stanley), Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma!, Camelot, Paint Your Wagon, Guys and Dolls, Oliver!, The Music Man, Into the Woods, Bye Bye Birdie (music director), Barnum and Ragtime.
Starring as Seymour’s boss and adopted father, Mr. Mushnik is played by Hattiesburg’s Wesley Slade. Matt Strickland of Petal plays the twisted dentist and Audrey’s boyfriend, Orin. The two street-wise girls, Chiffon and Ronette are played by LaDonna Anderson of Vicksburg and Laurel’s Mary Laura Boyett. Julia Donald of Quitman plays Crystal and Cameron Donovan of Madison is playing two parts, Bernstein and Martin. Kayla Sims of Petal is Snip and Erin Davies of Raleigh plays Luce. Rounding out the cast is Wesley Barnett of Laurel and Joshua Crosby of Moselle as two winos. Crosby is also cast as a customer along with Claire Lightsey of Petal.
Stage managers are Sarah-Jane Thaxton of Laurel and Khloe Folkers of Ocean Springs. Stage crew consists of Phillip Azbik from Homewood, Alabama, Kurt Davis of Pearl, Meagan Skaggs of Petal, Arnurcy Turner of Petal and Zadrian Cooley of Laurel. For more information call the JCJC Fine Arts Department at 601-477-4094.