Salida puts on full-length musical comedy

For the first time in at least 18 years, the Salida High School is putting on a full-length musical: Little Shop of Horrors.

High School Theater Director Devon Kasper and Music Director André Wilkins collaborated on the production. The pair had been dreaming of putting on a musical for a few years.

“We were going to do Our Town (this fall) until Wilkins caught the musical bug after doing Beauty and the Beast (with Calliope this summer). He was extremely enthusiastic. But both of our departments were ready for it, we had the talent and the will.”

Wilkins said something similar about each director growing their programs, with a musical as a future goal.

Wilkins said, “Since I took over the choral program at the high school, we felt like this was the right time for us to choose a new challenge.”

Little Shop was chosen because it doesn’t require a large cast, like many well-known musicals. Also, Wilkins said the music is “really obtainable for high school.”

Wilkins and Kaspers’ eagerness in taking on a musical the first semester will not disappoint. The show is a tremendous showing of talent, skill and design. There is a small pit orchestra, featuring a bass guitar, drums, piano and the occasional saxophone – played by Wilkins.

The actors are well cast. Michael Jacoby plays Mr. Mushnik the owner of the florist shop when the majority of the musical takes place. He is angry and grumpy in all the right places.

Matthew Jacoby plays Seymour Krelboyne, the clumsy, nerdy, likeable leading man. His first entrance is perfect and funny. His rendition of “Grow For Me” is heartfelt and memorable.

Dolce Trujillo plays Audrey 1. She is timid, spineless and sweet. “As a feminist” Trujillo said she finds Audrey “so frustrating” how helpless she is, but said playing a “damsel in distress” is pretty fun.

Senior Hunter Redmon plays Orin Scrivello, DDS. Redmon has some practice playing the villain part, and his interpretation of the despicable dentist is top notch. “In real life you’re not supposed to be a terrible person, but it’s appealing to play the villain because you can get away with a lot,” Redmon said.

He continued to say the domestic violence portrayed in the film by his character is upsetting and uncomfortable for him. But assured that, “We keep everything safe. No one actually gets hurt.”

As a senior, one of three in the cast, Redmon said doing the musical is “bittersweet, It’s such a fun and amazing show and such a great cast. But I only get to do one more show with this crew.”

Lori Cassidy plays the voice of the plant, Audrey II. Cassidy’s voice is clear and sassy. Most of her lines are song and she has a great energy. The plant is a whole story in itself. There are four “pods” or plant stages in the play, they grow larger and more animated as the show progresses. Kasper said Danielle Frost created them all, and Ken Brandon helped paint them.

Each plant is a delight. Audrey II does not look like a high school theater prop. It is visually stunning – a “show-stopper of broadway caliber” as Kasper said. Audrey II is enough reason to see the show. It’s that fantastic.

Wilkins said, “It truly is a community effort. We’re grateful to be able to do it.”

Kasper said musicals carry a bigger financial burden than straight plays. For starters the rights to musicals are more expensive than plays. She said donations and grants helped make it possible.

Wilkins said, “I think if the resources are there it can be an annual performance.”

The performances will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 and Nov. 10 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 11 at the Salida High School. Tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for students and for the first time, tickets can be purchased online here.