Sussex Vo-Tech performs 'Little Shop of Horrors'

School brings back musical theatre program after three decades of absence

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  • Photo by Viktoria-Leigh Wagner David Lisboa of Sussex appears for the first time on stage as Seymour feeding his man-eating plant.

  • Photo by Viktoria-Leigh Wagner Senior Daria Ferdine, 18, who played Audrey, is caressed by love interest Seymour, played by David Lisboa, 14, of Sussex.

  • Photo by Viktoria-Leigh Wagner Daria Ferdine, 18, of Hamburg sings as Audrey, Seymour's love interest.

  • Photo by Viktoria-Leigh Wagner David Lisoba, as Seymour, is seen arguing with his man-eating plant, Audrey II, named after his crush.

SPARTA — Amy Roberts has been directing drama for about eight years and musicals for about four.

However, for her and the ‘Little Shop’ cast of 20, this is the first time getting involved in a musical theatre program at the Sussex Technical School, since one has been absent since the 80s.

“I’m excited to see the kids start something new,” she said.

Roberts said as a new program with limited musical availability, but she said she wanted to do a show with a small group of demanding leads.

“We had auditions in December open to all Vo-Tech. students, rehearsed January and February four days a week, and then rehearsed in March every day,” Roberts said. “I really like how the kids have grown in the process. For many of them, this is their first theatrical production and some of them didn’t even know they could sing or act. I think the show itself is a great dark comedy with really quirky characters and catchy music.”

Senior Emily Houdershieldt, 17 ran the show.

“Being the first stage manager in a while was a little challenging, but Ms. Roberts is an excellent teacher and brought together something amazing," she said. "A lot of the cast members have never even been in a show before, and although going through the training with them is hard, there are those I never would have guessed that it was their first show.”

Her seventh production, Houdershieldt said she’s also worked with the Tri-State Actors Theatre in the past. She said "Little Shop of Horrors" was one of her favorites.

David Lisboa, 14 of Sussex is a freshman at Vo-Tech.

“My friend told me to audition, and I did,” he said.

His first musical production without any prior theatre experience, Lisboa landed the lead role of Seymour Krelborn, a sensitive, shy, nerdy assistant florist who discovers a man-eating plant—that can talk back.

“During the audition, I forgot part of my line — but happily, I still got the role,” he said.

Vo-Tech senior Daria Ferdine, 18, of Hamburg played Seymour’s love interest, Audrey.

“The audition process was intimidating because we didn’t know what to expect, but it was amazing how much talent came out,” Ferdine said. “I’ve done plenty of productions before, but I’m actually leaning more towards doing onscreen stuff, so I’m in New York City a lot. I’ve done off-Broadway stuff a few times, commercial and television work, things like that.”

She said her favorite part was getting eaten by the plant.

“Plot twist," she said. "Parents’ reactions are funny because no one expects it. I’ve also really enjoyed the connection David and I have had throughout the entire process.”

Ferdine plans to double-major in Cinematic Theory and Acting and Minor in Business Entertainment.

Hopatcong resident senior Anthony Terminello, 17 gave the man-eating plant, the Audrey II, its voice:

“I was the only one out of two people who auditioned for role, and I was chosen because of my deep voice," Terminello said. "I like playing the villain, or any role in general that is out of character for me. Suppertime is my favorite song in the show. It’s all about evil being smooth and cunning. I don’t know what it is about it, but it’s fun to sing.”

Bryan Deery, 15, of Hardyston also played an antagonist. His fifth production, Deery portrayed Audrey’s abusive boyfriend, a sadistic dentist named Orin Scrivello, D.D.S. “When I found out I got the part of the evil dentist," he said. "I was overjoyed.”

The show was choreographed by Assistant Director Colleen Cavanaugh.

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