DATE:               February 27, 2013
CONTACT:      Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE:           434-972-4049

There’s Something Quite Unusual Coming to Western Albemarle’s Stage

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – An award-winning play, music from the 60s, and a time-honored message will make the evenings of Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9 unusually interesting at Western Albemarle High School. The production that has drawn the attention of 75 student participants is the campy, funny, elaborately staged, Little Shop of Horrors, understatedly described by Drama Director Caitlin Pitts as “a different style of play” from that generally offered as the school’s spring musical.

Originally a film in 1960, Little Shop of Horrors became first an off-Broadway play, then a Broadway play in the 80s, and an updated film was made in 1986. Ms. Pitts has worked with student choreographers and assistant directors to produce a 2013 version that she says is technically intricate, but “very relatable” to audiences today.

“It is a privilege to see our students mature in their roles. My assistant directors, for instance, have been with me for a number of shows. They have become incredibly creative and effective in learning all aspects of the production process and the show itself,” Ms. Pitts said.

Its entertaining but serious message is centered on greed—how it can innocently appear, grow, complicate, and ultimately capture people in its tentacles. Without giving away the ending, however, it’s fair to say the conclusion is not without hope.

“This really is, at its core, a sweet love story with an engaging plot and lots of engaging music from the 60s. It will be fun for the whole family,” Ms. Pitts adds. Two musical numbers that especially bear close watching, she notes, are a dance scene featuring a high energy tango and a skid row number that showcases the entire ensemble.

Among the staging challenges was filling the role of one of the play’s featured performers—the plant that takes over a flower shop and a few lives of its visitors. It turns out that a specialized music company from New York solved the dilemma, as the audience will see.

More lasting, Ms. Pitts says, is the impact that fine arts performances have on students. “It is an invaluable part of the learning process. Young men and women learn to think analytically, be creative, work effectively with their peers, and communicate with empathy, both to those who are onstage with them and to the audience. These are skills that everyone who is involved in this production will use throughout their lives,” Ms. Pitts adds.

Performances of Little Shop of Horrors begin on Thursday evening, March 7 at 7:30, with a preview for which donations are appreciated. Proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity. The formal opening night is Friday, March 8 at 8, with a Saturday evening performance on March 9, also at 8. The run concludes with a Sunday matinee on March 10 at 2 p.m.

Tickets for students are $5 in advance and $6 at the door; for adults, $10 in advance and $12 at the door; and there is one price, $5, for seniors. Group rates are available. Tickets can be purchased at Western Albemarle High School and at the Mudhouse on the square in downtown Crozet. Proceeds benefit Western Albemarle High School’s drama program.