The classic black comedy “Little Shop of Horrors” opened in Des Moines last night (Tuesday), featuring a New Yorker who brings the demonic killer plant to life.
52-year-old Michael James Leslie sits before a microphone backstage, surveying a bank of T-V monitors that allow him to see everything onstage — and the orchestra director.
Leslie is the voice of Audrey Two, the mutant orchid/Venus fly trap that develops a taste for human flesh. The actor says he doesn’t use his own voice but one that’s “lower and sexier,” a combination of James Earl Jones and Vincent Price. Leslie says “Little Shop” is the rare sort of show that can appeal to many generations simultaneously. He says the musical can please everyone from grandma to the grandkids, and despite the blood and slaughter, they still have a great time.
The story focuses on a flower store worker who accidentally creates the giant talking plant with the strange and unusual appetite. The story’s been made into movies twice, in 1960 and 1986, and has been onstage since 1982, yet Leslie says it’s an evolving show that continues to The onstage plant-puppet was designed by the Jim Henson Worshop, the same folks who created the Muppets. The final version of Audrey Two weighs five tons and is more than 18-feet tall. The show will be at the Des Moines Civic Center through Sunday. For more information, surf to “www.civiccenter.org”.