Little Shop of Horrors: frightening, funny and coming to WEGO


Photo by Mark Begovich

Senior Philip Calabrese, center, examines Audrey II at the florist shop.

By Karidja Monjolo, Managing Editor

WeGo Drama is once again gearing up to perform their annual spring musical. 

It has been 3 years since West Chicago Community High School students put on a spring musical, but now, for just 3 days only (April 28, 29 and 30 at 8:00 p.m.), Little Shop of Horrors will be performed live in Weyrauch Auditorium. 

Little Shop of Horrors is a musical comedy, and WEGO’s cast is performing the 2003 Broadway version, with lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken. The play centers on a group of individuals living on “Skid Row”, a neighborhood struck with poverty. The main character, Seymour, played by senior Philip Calabrese, works at a florist’s shop with the lovely Audrey, played by senior Maggie Hancock. One day, Seymour takes in a mysterious and particularly frightening plant, which he names Audrey II, voiced by sophomore Ryley Salazar and operated by sophomore Ryan Blackburn and junior Kenya Bahena. Throughout the play, Seymour bonds with the plant, and business starts to “bloom”, but there is no telling how long his success will last, especially as the plant needs blood (from human victims) to survive. 

The narrators, played by Sentia Irakose, Jazmin Wilkins and Daniela Luna. (Photo by Mark Begovich)

Tryouts for the show took place in January. Since then, the cast has been working consistently for almost 3 months leading up to this weekend’s performance.

Hancock said, “I’m looking forward to people seeing live theater! We have been back for a while now, but this is the first live musical we have had in a really long time. There is no better way to come back than with a comedic show that consistently stays relevant.”

Little Shop has been super fun. Not gonna lie, auditions were scary and I was just overthinking everything but the whole experience has been enjoyable. Talking with people you wouldn’t usually talk to and working with seniors and people you look up too,” said freshman Sentia Irakoze, who plays Crystal in her first ever show at WEGO.

The cast is not the only group of students working hard on the show: WEGO’s State-winning `techies’ – students who specialize in the tech aspects of the show – have also been putting hours of effort behind the scenes. Little Shop of Horrors features many tech aspects, including an extravagant set – which resembles a real, run-down neighborhood – and the necessary lights, cues and much more.                                 

Senior Kathryn Wenberg, the crew chief for tech, said, “We have been doing so much! We are here every single day until six p.m. We would spend weeks on end where we would have two people in the shop, just building wall after wall, while the two or three other people would paint them, one after the other.”

The play cannot go on without the help of the tech crew. 

I feel without a set it is just people standing around talking, which can be fun, but to me isn’t nearly entertaining. Having a set, even if it’s a small one, allows a show to come to life. People are able to appear from seemingly nowhere, you can see the different rooms and settings instead of having to guess what it may look like. It allows you to be fully invested in the show much like a TV show. You wouldn’t watch TV if it was just people in a room acting the show out, would you? Plays are similar,” said Wenberg.

Handling all the tech aspects of the show will be Wenberg and senior Olivia Wesling, juniors Bahena and Alysa Soloman, sophomores Blackburn and Miguel Cortez, and freshmen William Wenberg, Romina Pietanza, Cris Correa, Arson Gutierrez, and Wilbur Cooper, all supervised by Chris Jensen (Technical Auditorium Director) and Senior Liz Ryan (stage manager).

Senior Maggie Hancock, center, plays Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. (Photo by Mark Begovich)

Drama teacher and WEGO Drama Director, Mark Begovich said, “We’re also doing a version of the show that is not always done.  The one aspect that I will spoil is that we’re building an inclusive environment for the cast that is going to show on stage as we build out our set to include the audience in our environment.”

Irakose said, “I’m really looking forward to the actual show. Every time you think about it, you get nervous that you may mess up or get a voice crack, but having supporting people around you make it all better. I’m looking forward to singing even though those high notes sometimes get the best of me.”

“One of the aspects of the show that I love is simply the message. While the show is hilarious, it carries a beautiful message about the dangers of temptation. The show has been loved by many for years, and I hope everyone will enjoy our production,” said Hancock. 

WeGo Drama students have consistently worked hard all year, as their recent wins at the State drama competition shows. Attending Little Shop of Horrors is one way students can show their support for the whole team. Tickets are on sale now through an online service and are $5 for students and $8 for adults. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door.