Justin Murray lifts his arms up, singing, as the music comes to a close. Six people circle around him, faster and faster. The actors are practicing on a small space at the front of the stage, leaving room for the set still being built. When Justin pushes himself out of the circle, Delanee Hill almost falls off the stage.
Rehearsals for this year’s musical, “Little Shop of Horrors,” are in full swing.
The cast is gathered onstage, and the director, Erin Galligan-Baldwin, is explaining the new scene they’ll be working on for the next few weeks.
“Who here has seen the movie?” Erin asks. Only a few hands go up.
“Watch the movie!” Erin says. “You need the inspiration for Skid Row!”
She pulls up her computer and goes to YouTube. The cast seems excited and worried at the same time. A lot of the actors in Stage 32 are new this year.
The screen lights up, and the movie’s version for “Skid Row” starts playing. Skid Row is one of the main scenes for Little Shop of Horrors. The people in Skid Row are poor people, working minimum wage, wanting to escape their lives.
The main characters, Seymour and Audrey, played by Justin Murray and Sylvan Williams, both want to stand up against the status quo; they both want to leave Skid Row.
“The choices that the characters make are based upon these feelings of oppression,” Erin says, “and not having the same opportunities.”
Skid Row holds the residents back because it reminds them what kind of people they are.
The video begins with Mr. Mushnik, the flower shop owner, asking some girls: “And how do you intend to better yourselves?”
One girl stands and says: “Better ourselves? Mister, when you from Skid Row, there ain’t no such thing.”
Watching the video, the cast seemed inspired.
Erin highlighted again and again that the ensemble plays a big part for this scene, not just the main cast.
“Everyone who walks by this stage needs to walk with purpose!”