Little Shop of Horrors | Wicked

Little Shop of Horrors | Wicked

Let’s face it-evil is much more interesting than good. Dante’s Inferno seduces us like a terza rima thriller; the Paradisio, by contrast, is a snooze. We relish Iago, while Desdemona whiffs of Wonder Bread, and were Little Nell to be surgically extracted from The Old Curiosity Shop, Dickens’s oeuvre as a whole would be vastly improved.

No wonder, then, that the allure of Really Bad Beings fires two of the Broadway season’s most highly anticipated musicals-Wicked, a new blockbuster that reimagines Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West, and Little Shop of Horrors, the revived 1982 spoof about a man-eating plant. The former balances its singing-dancing-madness on the premise that malignancy is slow-gestating and pretty darn complex, while the latter presents evil as simple, ravenous appetite. Both musicals, in their way, scrutinize the connection, or lack of connection, between goodness and popularity-or, to put it more cynically, goodness and selling out.

The hugely entertaining Little Shop of Horrors revival, directed by Jerry Zaks, tackles these themes most directly. Based on the 1960 Roger Corman movie, with book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken, Little Shop tells the story of Seymour (Hunter Foster), a nebbishy worker in a florist shop who gains national attention when he discovers an exotic plant. As the plant burgeons larger and larger, customers flood the shop; more importantly, to...

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About the Author

Celia Wren is Commonweal’s media and stage critic.