APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – St. Francis Xavier High School students recently got creative while bringing to life the dark comedy musical Little Shop of Horrors.
The show itself is about a florist that goes by the name of Seymour who mysteriously finds a plant that helps him find romance and success but must be fed human blood.
“I think it’s one of those shows that gets you belly laughing, no matter what song you’re in. But it has its moments where it has a lot of depth to it and you’re not really expecting it because the show is so campy and full of life that all of a sudden there’s a song that like ‘oh, I really feel that,'” explained Josh Thone, who was the character of Seymour for the show.
Performances were on March 24-26 at the high school. Before their Friday performance, Local 5 was able to snag a few willing participants to ask a few painless questions.
Grace Vandekreeke, an ensemble performer, said spring break was a tough challenge.
“The timing of the show was really weird this year. We’ve never had a show that had a week-long break in between but everyone did a really good job,” explained Vandekreeke. “It was really impressive and cool to see everyone love a show so much that they’re willing to put their vacation time into rehearsing by themselves.”
“Also,” added actress Lily Leicht, who played the role of the love interest – Audrey. “It’s a very puppet-heavy show, and we haven’t done that before so that was really cool to see that come together.”
In addition, the performances did not require any COVID-19 precautions. Anna Van Eperen, the Vocal Director, said it’s great to see students’ faces again.
“As a teacher, it’s really exciting to see [students] performing on stage without masks for the first time in a while. We can really see their true expressions,” said Van Eperen.
“I think its also just been fun having the whole cast together in rehearsals. This cast gets along so well – with the crew and pit too – all of us are just such good friends so it’s just an amazing experience to have us all be in the same space and have chaotic energy,” said actor Aidyn Reetz, who brought to life the devilish dentist Orin.
That wasn’t the only happy memory stuck in students’ hearts. “Coming back from spring break it was really fun to see everyone again after not being together for a week, and just getting ready to put on a show and go,” explained Meredith Schultz, who was part of the ensemble.
As a senior, Thone said it was a great experience to cap off his high school theater career playing Seymour, “Having this last show to just kind of just be together and enjoy each other’s company but at the same time do the most hilarious show.”
“The community here is absolutely amazing, too,” added Reetz. “The cast and current pit, everybody just gets along so well, which is sometimes so rare to see in theater productions.”
The school is participating in the Fox Cities Performing Art Center’s (PAC) Center Stage program this year as well. Theater programs are able to get their shows critiqued by a team that gives feedback to directors and students leading up to the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Showcase event in May.
Thone explained his heart is happy to be a part of the program, “I’ve had a lot of friends that have been a part of the Center Stage Program and have had a lot of great success being in it and attending the workshops. It’s such a great outlet for young performers – and even for people that aren’t necessarily going into the arts for a career.”
And Van Eperen pointed out it is a very unique experience for students. “It’s very neat also to be able to celebrate, what not only our school does, but all the other area schools and really just celebrate high school theater and how amazing they’re doing all over the place.”
For more information about the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program, click here. And if you are curious about what’s next on the playbill for the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, click here.