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Potomac Playmakers bring 'Little Shop of Horrors' back to life

Potomac Playmakers bring 'Little Shop of Horrors' back to life

As a student at North Carroll High School in Carroll County, Md., in 1999, Nic Sigman played Mr. Mushnick in the school’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Two decades later, things have come full circle for Sigman, who is directing the reproduction of the Broadway musical for the Potomac Playmakers which will launch two weekend’s worth of shows.

“It feels like a lifetime ago, but I loved that musical,” Sigman said.

“Little Shop Of Horrors” will run Friday, Sept. 6 through Sunday, Sept. 8 and Sept. 13-15, at The Women’s Club, located at 31 S. Prospect St., Hagerstown. Showtime for the Friday and Saturday shows will be at 8 p.m., while the Sunday matinee performances will begin at 3 p.m.

“Little Shop Of Horrors” has devoured the hearts of theater goers for more than 30 years. The meek floral assistant Seymour Krelborn stumbles across a new breed of plant he names Audrey II after his coworker crush. This foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore promises unending fame and fortune to the down and out Krelborn as long as he keeps feeding it blood. Over time, though, Seymour discovers Audrey II’s out-of-this- world origins and intent towards global domination.

Sigman was among the members of the club’s selection committee that landed on “Little Shop of Horrors” to kick off its 2019-2020 season.

According to fellow member Jim Zuna, the decision has paid off as advanced ticket sales are on a record pace.

“I think the public is excited about this one,” said Zuna, who revealed that the musical was selected out of 50 plays that were considered by the committee.

“It’s well known, but it doesn’t get produced terribly often.”

Once the decision was final, Sigman stepped up to take the director duties.

“I really enjoy directing plays and I knew if I directed it, it would be in good hands,” Sigman explained.

Selecting a cast and taking steps toward production started in May, but one of the biggest challenges from the outset was creating puppets for the show. Audrey II, which is a plant and the main antagonist in every version of Little Shop Of Horrors, requires several different sizes of puppets to be created. The plant requires human blood to survive, and in the musical, the plant’s origin is from outer space.

Sigman said that Natasha Smith stepped up to the challenge of creating the puppets. With assistance from Max Posten, Audrey II took shape in-house as opposed to the alternative of renting puppets for the musical at the cost of several thousands of dollars, according to Sigman.

“That was a huge undertaking, but Natasha and the rest of the team really stepped up,” said Sigman, who revealed that the largest puppet will actually have a person inside of it.

As for the onstage performers, the show stars Maverick McKee, Ashley Cade, Barry Harbaugh, Colt Smith, Richard Dobson, Andrew King, Amaya Dull, Andrea Miles, Brett Palmer and Christoper Leatherman. The music is directed by Ruth Stenger Japzon and choreography is led by Colleen Cheney.

Sigman said the public’s anticipation coupled with the continuity of the cast and crew has given him “phenomenal fuel and energy” heading into the performances.

“I have a strong belief in surrounding yourself with people who are better than you,” Sigman said. “This crew has worked really, really hard.”

Tickets for all performances are $15, and are available at the door and online at www.potomacplaymakers.org.

Top photo by Perk Hull Design.

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