New season, new stage: Theatre of Dare kicks off production season with ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

Published 6:03 am Sunday, November 7, 2021

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For its first live indoor show in nearly two years, Theatre of Dare is turning a new stage into a “Little Shop of Horrors.” The comedy-horror hit musical opened at Manteo High School on November 5.

The production marks a somewhat altered return to form for the local community theatre group, which saw its 2020-21 season turn to virtual and outdoor performances during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re proud of what we were able to accomplish during the pandemic, but it feels good to be back on a real stage again,” says Little Shop director Daniel Ziegler. “We’re still taking all the COVID safety precautions, but I think our audiences will appreciate getting back to the unique atmosphere of a live theater production.”

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Local actors certainly are. Auditions yielded so many worthy readings that several of the lead roles in Little Shop have been double cast, with one set of performers taking the stage the first weekend and the other the second weekend.

The popularity of the show is well known. Originally based on a low budget 1960 film, Little Shop of Horrors became a Broadway hit in the 80s before becoming a bigger budget movie in 1986 featuring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin. Narrated by a Greek chorus trio of Motown-style singers (Adara Huls, Abigael McGaha and Alexis Narran), the plot involves hapless florist Seymour (Devin Kilgore) who falls in love with his co-worker Audrey (Katie Bender, Amelie Burkley) while raising a plant that feeds on human blood. Among some of the more popular tunes from the musical are “Skid Row (Downtown),” “Somewhere That’s Green” and “Suddenly Seymour.”

“In order to keep the cast, crew and audience safe while COVID remains an issue on the Outer Banks, the entire cast of Little Shop will be wearing clear plastic face shields during performances, and audience members will be required to wear face coverings while indoors on the Manteo High School campus,” stated a Theatre of Dare press release. “But cast members insist it’s a small sacrifice to make in order to take the stage again.”

Little Shop is the first of five shows Theatre of Dare has planned for its 31st season. Next up is a classic holiday tale told from a new perspective in Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, followed by ensemble comedies Five Women Wearing the Same Dress in January and Arsenic and Old Lace in February. Finally, the dramatic Tony-winning musical Next To Normal is slated to end the season in April.

“But first, it’s a joyous return to an indoor stage with a man-eating plant,” stated the release. “For the folks at Theatre of Dare, this Little Shop is a big step on the road back to normal.”

Little Shop of Horrors opened November 5 and 6 and takes the stage at Manteo High School again on November 7 for a matinee at 2 p.m., then November 12 and 13 at 7 p.m., with another matinee on November 14 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and are available at or at the door. All audience members are required to wear a face covering while inside the school, per Dare County Schools requirements.