Jordan High School Theatre Presents: Little Shop of Horrors

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Jordan High School Theatre Presents: Little Shop of Horrors

Freddy Stanley, Chief Editor

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It’s 9:30 p.m. at Jordan High School. Not a teacher is left in their classrooms, and the janitors are just about finished with their nightly rounds. The school is all but empty except for over eighty students still hard at work in the auditorium. There is just under a week left until showtime, but the buzz and excitement in the air suggests that opening night could be tomorrow. Most kids are sitting at home sitting on their phones or getting ready for bed, but the Jordan High School theater actors, pit, and technicians are still bright-eyed and ready to work going into their seventh straight hour of rehearsal.

All of their hard work is going into preparing for their winter musical, “Little Shop of Horrors”, which is set to open on January 16th. 

To say the least, Little Shop of Horrors is not your average musical. Premiering in 1982, the show is a cult classic that has transcended the decades. Featuring 1960’s style rock and roll music, the musical features themes of love, poverty, family, and greed.

The story is centered around a young man named Seymour Krelborn (Joey Stanley). Seymour grew up as an orphan on the wrong side of the tracks in a neighborhood called Skid Row. He lives under the care of Mr. Mushnik (Marc Gafoor), an old florist who struggles to keep his business afloat. From the start of the show, Seymour is deeply in love with Audrey (Lindsay Kivel), a coworker at the shop who hasn’t had the easiest of lives. A big reason why her life is less than peachy is because of her abusive boyfriend Orin Scrivello (Efrain Alvarado), a deranged, sadistic dentist.

On the brink of the shop going out of business, Seymour finds a strange new plant which he names “Audrey II” (voiced by Derrick Mack). The strange and interesting plant brings the little shop a new wave of customers and prosperity, making Seymour a hero to Mushnik and Audrey. But unfortunately for Seymour, this success comes at a cost.

The play takes many action-packed and horrific twists. To find out what happens to Seymour and the rest of the shop, be sure to book your tickets to see the musical in the Jordan High School auditorium on January 16th, 17th, or 18th at 7:30.

Right in the middle of all of the action is Joey Stanley. As a senior, Joey is one of the more experienced members of the program. Little Shop of Horrors will be Joey’s seventh musical at Jordan High School. Those who have frequented Jordan High School productions over the last few years might recognize him as Jack from Into the Woods, Wilbur from Hairspray, or any number of other roles that he has played. Although Joey is no stranger to the stage, Little Shop will bring a new challenge for him.

“I’ve had a lot of roles at Jordan in my four years here, but Seymour is definitely my biggest,” said Joey. “There is definitely some added pressure being the lead of the show, but it’s something that I think I’m ready for.”

Joining Joey as one of the leads of the show is Lindsay Kivel. Unlike Joey, Little Shop of Horrors will be Lindsay’s first musical at Jordan.

“My friend Derrick was the reason that I joined the program,” said Lindsay. “He heard me sing and took me straight to Ms. Bellido, and I guess it all started from there.” 

Even though Little Shop will be Lindsay’s first show with the Jordan Theater Program, Lindsay is experienced as a performer. Before joining the theater program, Lindsay performed in many dance recitals and sang in her church choir.

“I’m excited for the whole experience,” said Lindsay. “I have made a lot of very close friends in the program, and am excited to finally get on stage with my castmates.” 

Also making his debut on the Jordan High School stage is sophomore Efrain Alvarado. Little Shop of Horrors isn’t just Efrain’s first musical at Jordan, it is his first time ever on stage. Efrain is a newcomer to the program, having recently moved to Durham from Long Island, New York. Even though he was the new kid at school, he had no trouble fitting right into the cast. 

Alvarado expressed gratitude for the program and how easy it’s been to find his niche, saying “I just try to be myself and hope people like being around me. Theater at Jordan has given me new opportunities and has allowed me to meet new friends, something I am grateful for.” 

Efrain is faced with the challenge of playing Orin Scrivello. Scrivello (“the Dentist”) is a character that was created for the audience to root against. Not only does the Dentist keep Audrey from being with her true love Seymour, he physically and verbally abuses her throughout the play. The Dentist is also shown using drugs and causing pain to his patients. Although many people would find it hard to play such an antagonistic character, Efrain loves the challenge. 

“Honestly, I kinda like being the bad guy,” chuckled Efrain. “If the crowd boos, that means I’m doing my job well.”

Like the cast, the directors of the show also range in experience. Sitting in her blue director’s chair is Olivia Bellido. Bellido is in her 14th year of teaching theater at Jordan High School, and working hard to make her 26th show at Jordan her best one yet. Like the students, Bellido also doesn’t mind working late into the night.

“First of all, I wouldn’t consider 9:30 being late. I’ll have time to be tired when it’s all over.” says Bellido. This mentality of hard work is something that Bellido instills into everyone in her program. “The idea is to make us a real theater which makes it more professional and makes people take it more seriously. Students are having a real theater experience. Getting out at 6 wouldn’t be a real theater experience.” 

An alumna of Jordan High School, Bellido has worked hard over the years to build the Jordan High School theater program into a program that is now receiving honors at the state and national levels. Even though Little Shop of Horrors will not be Bellido’s first musical, she will be the first to tell you that no two musicals are the same to direct. 

“Little Shop is not kitschy or happy,” said Bellido, reflecting on the show. “We aren’t putting on a musical about a superhero, it isn’t about a prince and a princess. It’s about an underdog who gives people hope.” 

Bellido also highlighted how Little Shop of Horrors is a story about empowering women. “Pieces of the show are very relatable to many women in this world; it shows women being strong and getting out of tough situations.”  

Sitting alongside Ms. Bellido is Corinne Huber. Unlike Bellido, Little Shop of Horrors will be Huber’s first musical at Jordan. As Jordan’s chorus teacher, Huber is serving as the musical director of the show. 

Prior to coming to Jordan, Huber spent eight years teaching chorus at Brogden Middle School in Durham. Huber also spent three years in Kazakhstan, starting a music program at a school abroad. Coming into her new role in the Jordan High School theater department this year, Huber has enjoyed facing the challenges ahead of her. 

“I think trying to let go of some of the control and letting students have more power over their own education has been the biggest challenge for me,” said Huber, reflecting on her transition from teaching middle school to high school. Huber has embraced her new role as the musical director, and is looking forward to opening night. “I’m really excited for everything,” said Huber when asked about what she most looks forward to with the show, “but what I think is really cool is the plant, especially how it moves and sings.”

Joining Ms. Bellido and Ms. Huber on the leadership team is Thomas Hill. The senior will be the conductor in the pit, leading the orchestra throughout the entire show. Thomas is an experienced member of the Jordan High School pit orchestra, playing trombone in Catch Me if You Can, Hairspray, and others. Where almost any other high schools would have an adult conducting, Thomas has stepped up to take on this challenge as a student.

“It’s been an interesting balance of being professional and being friends,” said Hill. “After all, this is a learning process. I am learning every day how to be a better conductor and how to get the best out of the band.” 

Even though Thomas is learning as he goes, he has really enjoyed the rehearsal process so far, and get wait to get to show week. “Conducting is very stressful but so worth it,” remarked Hill. “For all of the moments when something doesn’t go right, I know there is going to be a payoff further down the line. That makes it all worthwhile in the end.”

Thomas will be conducting a pit of eleven student musicians on opening night as well as guest pianist Mary Summerlin. Summerlin is making her return to the Jordan High School theater program this year after working at Jordan for many years as the chorus teacher and the musical director in the theater program. 

As echoed by everyone involved, excitement is high surrounding the upcoming show. With opening night now under a week away, the tension inside the rehearsal hall is high. Actors are working on polishing their scenes and making sure they know their lines like the back of their hands. Technicians are working tirelessly to make sure the set is perfect and that all of the props and costumes are right where they need to be. Bangs and clangs can be heard above the actors in the catwalks as the lighting technicians make sure all of the lights are secured and set right where they need to be. 

In all, about 85 students are packed inside the theater to put on a show. Even though it is hard work for long hours every day, smiles are on the faces of nearly every student. Whether it’s Joey Stanley in the spotlight center stage, Kimberly Rivera backstage stitching a costume, Ruben Jaimes pushing a heavy set piece, Thomas Hill student-conducting the orchestra, Ms. Bellido taking notes on the show, or any other student or teacher in the room, you can tell that they are happy to be there. 

Talk to anybody associated with the Jordan High School theatre program over the course of the next week and they will tell you one thing: “Please, come to see the show!” 

If you want to buy tickets, go to https://jhstheater.booktix.com/ . Tickets are listed at $5 for students, $15 for adults, and free for all Jordan High School faculty and staff who reserve tickets beforehand. 

Check back in with the Falcon Post next week to see pictures and coverage of the show.