This production is sponsored by the Weehawken Board of Education and Weehawken Against Drugs & Alcohol Committee, Mayor Turner and the Township Council in cooperation with Inside Broadway, a theatrical company from New York City, which supplies an artist in residency program to aid in educating students in the areas of drama, choreography, and vocalization.
Weehawken High School's music teacher, Mr. Steven Spinosa, provides direction for the overall production as the producer of the show. Braddon Mehrten, who is from Inside Broadway, directed this year's show in addition to the last three years. Mehrten is part of the artist in residency program.
Principal Dr. Peter J. Olivieri is thrilled with the student run production and thinks that the audience will be pleased with it.
The school has been performing musicals for five years.
Set in a Skid Row flower shop during the 1970s, this funny musical involves a man who loves a woman and dreams of a better life. The botanist, Seymour Krelborn (played by Joshua Duncan), thinks his problems are over when he befriends a Venus fly trap plant in the shop, who he names the Audrey II. Little does he know that his friend Audrey II (played by both Jonathan Gerbehy and Camila Godoy) craves finer things than flies.
As Seymour grows closer to the woman of his dreams Audrey (played by Vittoriana Camporeale), their journey from rags to riches is both fueled and thwarted by the growth of his plant friend, the Audrey II.
The production includes over 50 student cast members both on stage and behind-the-scenes. The story is narrated by "The Ronettes" (played by: Natacha Jaramillo, Linet Beras, Alyssa Condello, Aicha Ndaiye, Nora Giannini, and Jennifer Melgar). The flower shop is owned by the callous Mr. and Mrs. Mushnick (played by Gabriel Agostini and Deanna Lantigua). Eric Petrie plays a sadistic dentist, Orin Scrivello, DDS.
Spinosa believes that this production includes the most experienced cast in any of Weehawken High School's past productions. He said that there are auditions for the play and this year's production includes high school students and seventh and eighth graders.
"I think the students are extremely talented and hardworking," said Spinosa. "Also, do not forget the students working behind-the-scenes on the lighting, sound, scenery and artwork for the play. They are working hard to create the magic of illusion to make this production memorable."
The students in this play have high hopes for the success of this year's production.
"With the help of director Braddon Mehrten from Inside Broadway," said Senior Gabriel Agostini, "the productions have improved greatly since my freshman year and I believe that this year might be the best play we have ever put on the Weehawken High School stage."
Vittoriana Camporeale said that her role as Audrey is similar to her role as Adelaide from "Guys and Dolls."
"I believed I could do so much with this role because of how much fun it is," said Camporeale. "The songs are amazing, and having an incredible prop like the giant plant is different and exciting to work with. Everybody in the play fits into their roles really well."
Linet Beras and Alyssa Condello agreed with their classmates.
"This play is amazing and is one of my favorites," Beras said. "I couldn't have asked for more."
Condello said that she is "very proud of everyone's hard work and is looking forward to opening night.
"I am having so much fun working on this production," said Condello. "I am really anticipating opening night. I hope there will be a big turnout."
"Little Shop of Horrors" opens next weekend. There will be two shows only including: Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Weehawken High School Auditorium.
General admission seating is $5 per person and all are welcome. To purchase tickets, contact Mr. Spinosa at Weehawken High School, or purchase them directly from any cast or crew member.
Tickets will also be sold at the door. For information on free bus transportation available to the high school, call Weehawken High School at (201) 422-6130.
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