Cosmic entertainment: MCC to open ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Since Muscatine Community College put on “Legally Blonde” in 2020, Theatre Director Alyssa Oltmanns has received a lot of requests to do “Little Shop of Horrors,” a sci-fi horror-comedy about Semour Krelborn, a down and out botanist working in a unsuccessful flower shop who discovers an exotic new plant that brings him great fame but causes distinct difficulties with its ever growing desire to drink blood. “Doing ‘Legally Blonde,’ people were always talking about ‘Little Shop,'” Oltmanns explained. As she looked for a musical to draw many performers back into the theatre after the two year pause brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Oltmanns felt it fit perfectly.

Her choice proved auspicious, as actors from all backgrounds welcomed the chance to perform. Bill Turner, playing Mr. Mushnik, the owner of the flower shop, has the unique opportunity to act in the show after previously directing it for New Era’s dinner theatre in 2006. “It’s kind of nice to be an actor because you only have to worry about yourself instead of having to worry about everyone and everything,” he said wryly.

For recent high school graduates Bridgette Bissel (playing Ronnette), Eric Chen (playing Seymour Krelborn), and Justin Six (playing Orin Scrivello, DDS) the show gave them a chance to continue their theatre careers. Six felt elated to audition for the show, as it gave him a way to revisit the very first musical he performed in in high school as a ninth grader.

Bissel found the show an approachable way to get back into theatre after a negative experience in high school led her to step away from the stage. “I’m just so happy to be in theatre because I thought I might never act again,” she shared.

After completing his final high school show, “Newsies,” Chen realized that community theatre productions such as this one would allow him to continue his passion for acting even as he enters college and starts the next phase of his life. “It made me realize what an appreciation I have for theatre, and I didn’t think I could just sit and watch shows for the rest of my life,” he reflected.

This blend of actors who came by their passion for theatre for many ways have meshed to create an outstanding show sure to delight audiences age 13 and up with its blend of dark humor, catchy music, and clever practical effects.

“The talent is just unbelievable,” beamed Oltmanns.

“Little Shop of Horrors” will run from Aug. 5 through 7 in Muscatine Community College’s black box theatre, located at 152 Colorado Street in Muscatine. Performances will take place at 7 p.m. Aug. 5 and 6 and at 2 p. m Aug. 7. Tickets cost $10 for general audience members, but students of any age may attend for free, so long as they show their student ID.

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