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Sewickley Area Theatre Co. brings 'Little Shop' to stage

| Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Emily Harger | Tribune-Review
Michael Cefalo, right, a student at Baldwin Wallace University, plays the part of Seymour alongside Tanner Sebastian, who plays the role of the plant Audrey II, in Sewickley Area Theatre Company's performance of Little Shop of Horrors on Monday, June 9, 2014. Little Shop of Horrors will open next Thursday, June 19, at Quaker Valley Middle School.
Emily Harger | Tribune-Review
From left to right, Braelin Andrzejewski, Kristin Pecelli, and Lauren Seeger, who play the Three Girls in Sewickley Area Theatre Company's performance of Little Shop of Horrors, rehearse the show's opening scene on Monday, June 9, 2014. Little Shop of Horrors will open next Thursday, June 19 at Quaker Valley Middle School.
Emily Harger | Tribune-Review
The cast of Sewickley Area Theatre Company's Little Shop of Horrors rehearses the opening scene of the show at Quaker Valley Middle School on Monday, June 9, 2014. Little Shop of Horrors will open on Thursday, June 19, at Quaker Valley Middle School.
Emily Harger | Tribune-Review
Director David Ford talks with Kristin Pecelli, Braelin Andrzejewski, and Lauren Seeger, who play the Three Girls in Sewickley Area Theatre Company's performance of Little Shop of Horrors, before rehearsal on Monday, June 9, 2014. Little Shop of Horrors will open next Thursday, June 19 at Quaker Valley Middle School.
Emily Harger | Tribune-Review
Michael Cefalo, who plays Seymour in Sewickley Area Theatre Company's performance of Little Shop of Horrors, rehearses the opening scene at Quaker Valley Middle School on Monday, June 9, 2014. Little Shop of Horrors will open on Thursday, June 19, at Quaker Valley Middle School.

For Katelyn Weber, performing as Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors” is a milestone she'll cherish.

Sure, Weber said she knows Audrey's fate in the show, but is excited to take to the stage in the Sewickley Area Theatre Co.'s production beginning next week in the role that helped pique her interest in musical theater.

“This was the first musical I really remember seeing,” Weber, 26, of Coraopolis, said of the show's 1986 movie version starring Steve Martin. “I watched it all of the time when I was little. I'd always rent it from Blockbuster.

“It's got that great score. The music is fantastic and the characters are all funny and genuine. Everyone has a good time when they go see it.”

“Little Shop” is the Sewickley theater group's first full-scale musical performance since it was founded last year by Leetsdale native David Ford and Sewickley resident Jeff Way. The duo organized a cabaret-style show earlier this year.

“It's a bit of an oddball show,” Ford, 27, said of “Little Shop.” “It will be something people will want to see.”

The show has somewhat of a cult following, Ford said.

“It's one of those things where people say ‘Oh yeah, I remember that movie.' They might not have been into that movie then, but they know it,” he said. “In the theater community, it's a well-respected show.

“There's a lot that's in the musical that isn't in the movie.”

In a whimsical way, the show twists its way through the story of a blood-sucking plant and a nerdy florist who finds love and fame thanks to the plant.

“I like that it's a little dark, but it's fun,” Ford said.

Playing that nerdy florist — Seymour — is Mike Cefalo, 19, of McCandless, who said he enjoys the show for its fun, but dark humor.

“It's a show that anybody, whether they're a theatergoer or not, can connect to, have a great time and leave with a fun message,” said Cefalo, a musical theater major at Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio.

Sewickley resident Ralph Valenzi plays the floral shop's owner.

“He's kind of a father figure, although a nightmare, to Seymour,” Valenzi said.

Way, the group's co-founder who plays four roles in the production, said he's looking forward to the show's opening.

“It's nice to have a great cast to be able to do a show like this. It's a big undertaking.”

While the show focuses on the life of a plant that prefers human blood, Ford said the show offers a deeper meaning.

“There's something bigger going on here,” he said. “The show itself does that nicely. You think about these serious dramatic elements and also, ‘Oh, this is nuts.'

“It's a plant that's eating people, but it's done in a very funny way.”

Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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