The folks at Theatre at the Center in Munster get an A+ (or maybe an O+ or A-) for clever marketing.
Inspired by the blockbuster 1960 Roger Corman film, a new production of the monster-plant musical stage hit "Little Shop of Horrors" is in the spotlight at Theatre at the Center in Munster starting July 12 and running through Aug. 19.
And they've lined up some very fun and clever promotional opportunities for guests to be part of the excitement.
First, a reminder about the musical's premise.
It tells the story of down-and-out florist shop worker Seymour, who becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant with a mysterious craving for fresh blood. Infatuated with his co-worker Audrey, Seymour allows his new-found fame and fortune to seduce him into giving the man-eating plant as much tender love and care as it requires in a situation likened to make "a deal with the devil."
Naming the plant "Audrey II," after his secret love, the once frail foliage soon grows into a bad mannered, foul-mouthed, crooning carnivore.
Now enjoying everything he ever desired, Seymour must decide if he can sacrifice it all in order to save the world from this out-of-control plant and its sinister spores.
So what better way to keep the show's storyline fresh with the audience, than to offer a life line of sorts?
The theater staff is hosting a Blood Drive on Wednesday, June 27. Anyone who drops by the theater, located at 1040 Ridge Road, and donates blood receives $10 off a ticket to the show and a free quart of Oberweis Ice Cream.
And just when you think it couldn't get much better, there's a "Beer and Wine Tasting" at 6:30 p.m. July 13 prior to the 8 p.m. performance. Since it also will happen to be Friday the 13th in July, guests are invited to join Theatre at the Center as they host Chicagoland's most frightfully fun television personality, Svengoolie, who will help celebrate the opening week of Theatre at the Center's production of "Little Shop of Horrors." Protect your necks, while enjoying delectable wines from all over the world complemented by an assortment of hors d'oeuvres, all for the add-on ticket price of just $20, which includes an autographed photo of Svengoolie.
For "Talkback Thursday," on July 19, there's a post-show discussion directly following the performance, free of charge, and it will feature members of the cast and creative team.
The "2nd Saturday Symposium" is at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 21, for guests to enjoy a behind-the-scenes pre-show discussion, led by Theatre at the Center's Production Manager/Technical Director Ann Davis, and find out how Audrey II was created. (This may be added to any theater ticket for free, however reservations are required.)
And for a grand finale, there's also the "FEED ME! Dinner/Theatre Event" at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, at 5:30 p.m., followed by the 7:30 p.m. performance. Guests can enjoy a pre-show special dinner conveniently located in the salon right across from the theater lobby. It's a $50 price, which includes dinner and theater ticket.
One of the longest-running musicals Off-Broadway, "Little Shop of Horrors" features a score by the songwriting team of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken of Disney's "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin" fame.
The last time I saw a production of this story of the now blood-thirsty plant it was in March 2003 when Drury Lane Oakbook staged a production.
I'm told Theatre at the Center's production "will boast glorious refurbishments of the plants from the original New York production."
This gleefully gruesome musical is a cult classic, with a lineup of energetic songs and an assortment of zany characters to delight audiences of all ages.
Tickets for the regular show run range from $38 to $42 and for tickets for any of the above "special night" options, call (219) 836-3255 or TheatreAtTheCenter.com.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (219) 852-4327.