DTH: What made you want to direct this production?
PT: When we were planning this season, it was 2016. It was campaign season, and there were a lot of things going on during that time. With the rise of Bernie Sanders into the national spotlight, I think people were talking about different policy debates about money and wealth and wealth distribution. This made me start to think about "Little Shop of Horrors." It’s a play that I have loved since I was a kid. I sang some of the songs for the show — my brother and I would sing the tunes when I was young. It’s always been special to me because the memories are attached to being a kid. But I started thinking about this show in a new way when we were in the middle of that campaign.
DTH: Tell me a little bit about "Little Shop of Horrors."
PT: In today’s world, when we look at this play, we see the consumer aspect of the play where this plant is promising us fame and fortune and all of the things that we love if we continue to feed it. I don’t want to open up too much about spoilers, but the plant feeds on blood, and that’s what makes it grow bigger. I think that’s an interesting metaphor for our Western attitudes towards money and consumerism. The play is science fiction, and it’s a funny play, but it has a warning for us about the dangers of rampant consumerism.
DTH: On the website, it says this play is a part of the RLT Sutton Series. What is the Sutton Series, and why did you choose to put on this production specifically?
PT: The Sutton Series is our series that takes place in our main theater, which has been here since 1938. The way that we identify plays for that series is that we choose plays that are considered classic plays as opposed to the other series where it’s more contemporary. So "Little Shop of Horrors," without a doubt, is considered a classic for people in the theater world, especially for those in musical theater. As the artistic director, when I tried to determine which production to present, I wanted to choose a play that stood the test of time and continued to speak to the world we live in. When "Little Shop of Horrors" was written, there was a lot of critical analysis that felt like it was in response to Nixon and this idea of ethics on a national scale. Now that we are in 2018, the important message of the play has switched to the dangers of money and consumerism. I thought it was a classic play, and it certainly fits because I think it speaks to the world we live in now.
DTH: How long have you been working on this production?
PT: We selected this production in 2016, and there was a lot of preliminary work that went into that. Really, we have been focused on it since November when we had auditions, and we started rehearsals in the first week of December, so we have been working on this production for about two months.
DTH: What have been some difficulties you've faced producing this show?
PT: This is a very technically challenging play, so Audrey II is the plant in the play. There are four different iterations of the plant, so it gets bigger throughout the play as it continues to get more blood from various sources. This is really tricky because we had to figure out how the puppeteering works, and there are some tricks that happen with the plant. Everything that we designed, everything that we considered for the play, we had to think about how those puppets worked and build the world around those puppets. That’s been really, really challenging.
DTH: What are some highlights of the show?
PT: For this production here, it’s definitely the cast. The cast is incredible. We are a community theater, so they are all volunteer actors, and I think it’s a testament to how popular the show is that we really got some incredible power. The main characters, Audrey and Seymour, are really excellent – they are really playing the role really well. I am really pleased with the entire cast. It’s a very strong group of people.
DTH: Why should people come out to the show?
PT: People should come because it’s a ton of fun. It’s a fun science-fiction story, and people will enjoy hearing the music. This play has excellent music. We have a fantastic live band that plays with the actors every night. It’s a really great time.