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A musical reimagining of the 1960 Roger Corman film The Little Shop of Horrors, made by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, which debuted in 1982, loosely adapted from Corman's film. The musical was subsequently turned into a 1986 film directed by Frank Oz.The story revolves around Mushnik's Skid Row Florists and the three people who work there: Mr. Mushnik, the proprietor, and his two assistants, Seymour and Audrey. Seymour loves Audrey, but hasn't told her because he's a poor orphan with no future to offer her. Audrey dreams of meeting a nice man who'll love her for herself, but believes it will never happen. Due to her lack of self esteem, she's willing to date a rich but thoroughly unpleasant guy, Orin Scrivello, a motorcycle-riding dentist who calls himself "the leader of the plaque."The shop is on its last legs: there's nothing in the till but cobwebs and dust. And then Seymour finds a strange and interesting plant, which he dubs the Audrey II, and pursuades Mr Mushnik to display it in the shop window. Audrey II proves to be a customer magnet: people come to look at it, and always buy something before they leave. As its fame spreads, the shop receives larger and larger commissions, and Seymour starts receiving offers for national magazine interviews, lecture tours, even his own TV show.But there's a catch: The plant thrives on human blood, and will die without it. At first, Seymour can keep it satisfied with his own blood, but as it grows larger it demands more than a person can give and live. But, you know, there's that repulsive boyfriend of Audrey's — surely nobody would miss him if he were to... disappear...The original musical was famous for its Kill 'em All ending, with the moral of "Don't feed the plants" serving as a fitting metaphor for avoiding temptation, and deals that sound too good to be true. The film version follows the stage version fairly closely except for a Focus Group Ending in which the Audrey II is defeated and Seymour and Audrey survive to live happily ever after.The film version subsequently resulted in an animated series called Little Shop, created by Frank Oz, which aired in 1991. It was set in a High School, with school-aged Seymour (who's no longer an orphan and has a hypochondriac mother, much like the original 1960 film) and Audrey (who was rewritten to be Mr. Mushnik's daughter who's obsessed with becoming a firefighter) dealing with the usual sort of high school comedy plots, with the dubious assistance of a toned-down plant which was merely carnivorous rather than a "humanitarian."
The musical provides examples of:
Adaptation Distillation: The musical jettisons several incidental characters, tightens the plot and gives Seymour's struggle with the carnivorous Audrey II a proper narrative arc.
Adaptation Dye-Job: Audrey is traditionally platinum blonde (the acting script refers to her as such). In the original film, she was brunette.
Ambiguous Gender: Audrey II—a plant who acts and sounds male (although casting has often gone both ways in numerous productions), but has a female name and gets referred to by feminine pronouns. (Admittedly, when Seymour states that "the Audrey II is not a healthy girl", the Audrey II hasn't revealed itself as sentient yet, so he's speaking pretty loosely.)
And I Must Scream: This is ostensibly the ultimate fate of Audrey II's victims — their faces become embedded in the centers of the plant's flowers. It's shown in the finale that the faces can only move and sing (or not, if you take their lines in "Don't Feed The Plants" to be an inner monologue), but appear to be alive and conscious as part of the plant. Since Audrey II and its descendants are nigh-indestructible by the end of the show, their chances of dying a true, merciful death at that point are next to nil.
And You Were There: After Audrey II starts growing, Seymour is approached by a series of people offering him fame and fortune (three in the musical number "The Meek Shall Inherit", and one more in the final scene); all four are played by a single actor. The same actor also plays the plant's first victim. (As well as various one-off characters with less metaphorical resonance.)
A more subtle one is Audrey's "Sure!", which even gets referenced in "Suddenly Seymour" ("I'd meet a man and I'd follow him blindly/He'd snap his fingers/Me, I'd say 'sure'!") In the film of the musical, she even says "Sure!" through a film of happy tears when Seymour proposes.
In the film, Seymour is a bumbling innocent who's so clumsy that he kills his victims by mistake, while in the musical he's seduced into deliberate murder by being promised fame, fortune and the girl he loves, Audrey. Additionally, while the film Seymour lived with his mother, the musical Seymour was abandoned at the Skid Row Home For Boys and taken in by Mushnik, who never liked him and treated him horribly.
Skid Row is now a terrible place that everyone desperately wishes they could leave.
Audrey, a happy-go-lucky ditz in the film, becomes the product of a broken home who's been in one bad relationship after another, suffers from low self-esteem, and is regularly abused by her sadistic boyfriend. She also dies in the end.
Dramatic Irony: Seymour complains about how he has to keep feeding Audrey II, and Audrey (number I) wonders why he's so upset about the cost of plant food. More tragically, Audrey II persuades Seymour to commit murder by promising him Audrey's heart, and Seymour continues with the killings even after the cost has become obvious because he believes Audrey, along with the fame and the fortune, are Audrey II's gifts to him, and she would leave him if the fame and fortune did. "Somewhere That's Green" makes it clear to the audience that Audrey loved the poor sap long before he ever found the plant.
Empathic Environment: "Shang-a-lang, feel the sturm und drang in the air..." Besides that, the script calls for a "Wagnerian" sunset to heighten the over-the-top drama when Seymour feeds Audrey to the plant.
Gender-Blender Name: Audrey II has a feminine name but is traditionally played by a male actor (traditionally a baritone or bass) and has a masculine personality. (Being a plant, and probably an alien, it's anybody's guess what gender Audrey II really is - if any.)
The Ghost: Mrs. Shiva, who was an onscreen character in the original film.
"He took me out of the Skid Row Home for Boys when I was just a little tyke. Gave me a warm place to sleep, under the counter. Nice things to eat like meatloaf and water. Floors to sweep and toilets to clean and every other Sunday off!"
Historical-Domain Character: Mrs. Luce (in real life, Clare Booth Luce) really was the wife of the editor of Life Magazine. She was also a playwright, journalist, socialite, ambassador and congresswoman.
Hope Spot: There are quite a few moments when it looks as if Seymour's going to kill the plant, but he never does.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Seymour, eaten by his own giant plant, and Orin, who asphyxiates when the laughing gas mask gets stuck. In the stage show, Mushnik plays with this- he worries about money to the point of adopting Seymour just to keep the plant, and Seymour tells him he put the day's earnings in the plant during Suppertime, but considering A) how the shop had been doing before Audrey II, and B) the fact that it's apparently over a thousand dollars, his concern is more or less justified. Audrey is the only victim who doesn't really have a Karmic Death.
Audrey's death was karmic - for Seymour instead of for her.
Mushnik has an oddly meta example of this. In the original b-movie, he tricked a would-be robber into getting eaten by the plant by telling him the shop's money was inside it. The musical lifted the situation with practically the same dialogue, but used it to kill off Mushnik.
Humans Are Bastards: After we're treated to a seemingly nice and lovable guy getting seduced into repeat murder, the ending song tells us that the plants are doing the same thing all across America, offering "unsuspecting jerks" their wildest dreams in exchange for blood. The message of "Don't Feed The Plants" is obvious—with the right motivation, anyone could kill people to feed a plant. Including you.
Idiot Ball: After killing Orin, Seymour indulges in what has to rank among the worst murder coverups in the history of fiction. He leaves his baseball cap and his bag at the scene of the crime (the bag, by the way, has the name of the shop on it), stuffs Orin's uniform in the trash can outside the shop, and doesn't even bother to clean up the blood he spilled on the shop floor. When questioned about it, he says, "I spilled some Hawaiian Punch and it stained."
Insecure Love Interest: This is why Audrey doesn't consider leaving the abusive "semi-sadist" Orin for her AdorkableNice Guy coworker Seymour; she likes Seymour, but she considers herself too dirty and worthless to be with him.
For his part, Seymour is convinced that he's not good enough for Audrey. When he finally realizes that she loves him back, he assumes that it's because he now has money and believes that he'll lose her if he loses his income from the plant. Tragedy ensues.
As well as its Dark Reprise and the villainous version in "Feed Me".
"Skid Row", "Grow For Me", and "Mushnik and Son" also qualify—and, to a lesser degree, "Now (It's Just The Gas)" and "The Meek Shall Inherit".
I Wished You Were Dead: Audrey secretly wished Orin would disappear, and when he actually does, she blames herself, worrying that it's her fault if he "met with foul play". (Although she doesn't know it, she is the reason Seymour killed him.)
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mr. Mushinik, who cares somewhat for Seymour (though more for money) and for Audrey, who he constantly advises to drop her abusive boyfriend.
Murder By Inaction: Seymour tries to shoot Orin the Depraved Dentist, but can't bring himself to. Moments later, Orin gets himself high inside a mask full of gas, but finds he can't get it off and begs Seymour to help him get it off (while he laugh maniacally.) Seymour just stands by and watches Orin suffocate.
Deconstructed, as Seymour refuses to stop feeding the plant because he fears Audrey would stop caring about him if he was broke again which leads to their deaths.
Our Founder: A picture of Mr. Mushnik with the caption "Our Founder" appears in the shop in the scene following "The Meek Shall Inherit."
Paparazzi: Mrs. Luce wants a photo of Seymour with the plant for the cover of Life Magazine.
Pet the Dog: Mushnik would come off as a complete Jerk Ass if he didn't show concern for Audrey and urge her to break up with Orin.
Phrase Catcher: The fact that Audrey II is a "strange and interesting plant" is repeated by no fewer than five characters in the scene where Seymour puts it in Mushnik's display window. Strange and interesting indeed.
Right before "Suddenly Seymour" she implies, but doesn't outright state, that she moonlit as a stripper when the flower shop was doing poorly, and met Scrivello while working that job. Still, that doesn't make her a Seemingly Wholesome '50s Girl by itself.
Self Harm: What Seymour does in order to feed Audrey II, initially.
Shipper on Deck: Crystal, Ronette, Chiffon, and Audrey II for Seymour/Audrey.
The three urchins are named for three different girl groups of the sixties (The Crystals, The Ronettes and The Chiffons). The songs reference and parody the sixties music scene, both lyrically and stylistically. This blog has a pretty comprehensive overview.
Tempting Fate: Several cases, as in the cut song "We'll Have Tomorrow". The best example has to be when Seymour first agrees to feed blood to the tiny plant: "Well, okay...as long as you don't make a habit of it or anything!"
Seymour: And bullets! And rat poison! And a machete!
They Call Me Mr Tibbs: Orin insists that Audrey call him "Doctor" and use the term "D.D.S." when referring to him. It's implied that he's beaten her for neglecting to do so ("You gotta train 'em, eh, stud?").
Too Dumb to Live: When Mushnik discovers Seymour killed Orin, Seymour tells Mushnik that he put the day's profits inside the plant for safekeeping and tells him to climb inside of it and get it. He does so and gets eaten. And later, when Seymour discovers Audrey II's true intentions for world domination, he climbs inside it's mouth with a matches to try and kill it from the inside..and gets eaten.
Yiddish as a Second Language: The plant knows some Yiddish, like "Come on Seymour, don't be a putz". (He even says "Feh!") He probably learned the Yiddish from the likely-Jewish Mr. Mushnik, who uses "mensch" and "mishegas". The lyricist/composer team, Ashman and Menken, also did many Disney movies, and the same influence is seen there (Phil in Hercules, etc.).