Sunday, June 16, 2024

Little Shop of Diversity: Famed musical makes a change

Little Shop of Horrors gets new, culturally relevant Bay Area production.

I’ve watched Little Shop of Horrors grow from a small independent movie to an Off-Broadway musical. It’s developed a following over the years not only for the odd-ball story of a man-eating plant mixed in with a love story, but the songs are very singable and memorable, written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, the team who brought us ALL of those 1990s musicals: Beauty and the BeastThe Little MermaidAladdin and Pocahontas. The songwriting team won two Oscars for best song in the 1990s, and Menken went on to win six more after the death of Ashman. 

All fans of musicals know the Little Shop songbook, in particular “Skid Row” and “Suddenly Seymour.” This is the perfect season to revisit and relive those songs. I’ve seen some inventive changes to this show to keep it fresh and it’s back in New York for the past several years selling to sold out crowds. 

TheatreWorks, on the Bay Area Peninsula, kicked off its current season with a new production, now set in San Francisco’s Chinatown and featuring a multicultural cast. As it runs through Dec. 24, this could definitely be an early holiday present for those who like festive and fun shows, aside from the killings by the plant. Just put that thought aside. If you think catching the movie at home will suffice, you’d be wrong. Hollywood changed the ending and, thus, lost its original spectacular finale and a couple of good songs along the way. 

If you want to keep up with a great musical and see some creative re-imaging, go to

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Kevin M. Thomas

Kevin M. Thomas, or @ReelKev, is an arts blogger and entertainment reporter. In addition to his own website, and ReelKev YouTube channel, Kevin used to be the LGBT arts writer for and contributes to as well as a semi-regular on San Francisco's cable TV show, "10 Percent."

Kevin M. Thomas has 157 posts and counting. See all posts by Kevin M. Thomas

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