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Veteran Director Helms Little Shop of Horrors

From left: Audrey (Alex Drissell), Seymore (D. Wiley Jones) and Mushnick (Mick Etchoe). Photo courtesy of Craig Hanson.
From left: Audrey (Alex Drissell), Seymore (D. Wiley Jones) and Mushnick (Mick Etchoe). Photo courtesy of Craig Hanson.

Once upon a time, Susan Hanson ran Vashon Island High School and co-directed its musical productions. She retired just before the new theater opened at VCA, and luckily Drama Dock snagged her to debut the Island’s newest stage.
Her work turned the Broadway musical Chicago into a sold-out series of performances. Now Hanson follows up on that success with Little Shop of Horrors.

“It’s one of the best of the off-Broadway shows, with a strong score, a diverse cast—age, gender, ethnicity—clever satire and an ethical message: situational ethics lead to unethical outcomes!”

The show’s storyline is magical, according to Hanson. “This is a shabby shop in the ’70s on Skid Row where people are struggling to get by. Everything changes when a tiny plant, Audrey II, enters the story,” Hanson says. “Our hero is forced to choose between unprecedented success at the cost of ethical behavior, or ethical behavior at the cost of failure and poverty.”

The professional puppets Drama Dock is renting from New York will keep people wide awake, Hanson predicts. “The plants are amazingly and wonderfully scary. They eat people! The show is rated PG-13 because of the scary plants, but in previous productions of ‘Little Shop’ we invited younger audience members backstage prior to the show to demonstrate how the plants worked, so they wouldn’t be scared when the jaws opened up.”

Although the casting process was intense—it took over a month—Hanson believes the results were worth it. “I love the talent actors are willing to share with the community, the excitement in winning a role,” says Hanson. “The hardest part is having to say ‘You didn’t get the part’ to very talented individuals,” she continues, adding that “the best part is saying ‘congratulations!’ those who earn coveted roles.”

Like any good director, Hanson worships the talent she casts. “We have professional actors here for the summer, adults with degrees in drama, college students studying acting and theatre and talented amateurs from our community. The talent we’ve found for this cast is amazing,” Hanson adds.

Drama Dock: Little Shop of Horrors

July 27–29, 7:30 pm.
Special Family Matinee Sunday, July 30, 3 pm

Katherine L White Hall
$16 Student (18 and under)

$20 VCA Member
$22 Senior

$25 General
Heron’s Nest Gallery, VCA