Owen Lonzar, the UJ Arts and Culture resident choreographer and one of South Africa’s most versatile choreographers, directs. “I have started looking at genetically modified foods in a whole new light,” he says as he comments on directing and choreographing the comedy-horror-rock musical about a florist employee who raises a giant man-eating plant, forcing him to kill to feed it.
Seymour, a down-and-out skid row floral assistant, becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant with a mysterious craving for fresh blood. Seymour plays nursemaid to the man-eating plant, 'Audrey II', named after his co-worker Audrey (who he secretly loves). Soon ‘Audrey II’ grows into an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore who offers Seymour fame and fortune in exchange for feeding its growing appetite, finally revealing itself to be an alien creature poised for global domination.
The musical is based on the low-budget 1960 black comedy film The Little Shop of Horrors
, directed by Roger Corman, and starring Jonathan Haze. The music, composed by Menken in the style of early 1960s rock and roll, doo-wop and early Motown, includes several well-known tunes, including the title song, Skid Row (Downtown)
, Somewhere That's Green
, and Suddenly, Seymour
Lonzar joined UJ Arts Centre in 2008 when he choreographed Footloose
, followed in 2009 by his first dance production, Deconstructing Jazz
. Since then he has created three further works for the company, all sell-out seasons. The recent production of Alice Who?
proved to be one of the most successful student productions to date.
He is very happy to be adding Little Shop of Horrors
to his impressive list of credits. “I have directed in the musical theatre industry before but this is my first full scale musical and this challenge is exciting. I am looking forward to working with the UJ production team and the young enthusiastic cast of students and the talented Matt Counihan and seasoned professional Luciano Zuppa. I think audiences will be very surprised and highly entertained with the concept we have for this production,” he says. “I'm not by nature a ‘follower’ and feel it’s time the theatre industry reinvented itself to survive the onslaught of TV, the internet and the ever-present movie industry. It’s a dog fight for ticket sales so it’s a case of ‘eat or be eaten’,” he adds. Little Shop of Horrors
, directed and choreographed by Owen Lonzar, with musical direction by Rowan Bakker and designs by Wilhelm Disbergen, opens at the UJ Arts Centre Theatre, Kingsway Campus on Thursday, 6 September and runs until Saturday, 22 September.
Bookings can be made through Computicket. For group bookings and discounts, email email@example.com
or call 011 559 4674.