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Little Shop of Horrors

edited June 2011 in Theater
Little Shop has always been one of my favorite musicals and I wanted to hear what other people thought about the changed ending for the film. I love the play's ending, and I've seen the workprint version of the original ending, and I really wish it had been retained for the film version. It does not represent the show right in my opinion to have a 'happy ending' for the show.
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  • Well, according to the DVD commentary, Frank Oz said that the original idea was to have the darker ending with Audry II taking over the world and eating everyone up; but David Geffen said that audiences wouldn't like the ending and got them to make the happy ending. If your interested, there's a cut of the original ending floating around on youtube right now. Original music and everything else.

    What I like to know is how did both Howard and Alan get the idea to adapt the original Roger Corman movie into the musical. Did they watch the movie at some point and said that this would be a good idea? I don't know. But either way, I think it turned out well in the end.
  • I'm planning a blog post about the night that Howard screened Corman's movie for us and told us he wanted to make it into a musical. Bottom line, we thought he was crazy. Don't it go to show...

    More later.
  • I think it's very interesting to watch the Corman version and see which things Howard and Alan chose to change, for example, removing Seymour's mouth, the detectives, etc. etc. I really like how the musical has a smaller cast of characters, save for Orin's nine or so other roles, because it allows for the great character development we have in the show.

    It's just amazing to watch that film and think that someone thought, yeah, R&B singing plants singing. That's true genius
  • Hi guys, I am currently involved in a production of Little Shop of Horrors (my favourite show of all time!) in Melbourne, Victoria. The director has looked at it a little darker than usual, and it's turning out to be pretty amazing. We are using the original cast size of nine. If you're in Melbourne between July 8th 2011-30 July 2011, jump on www.altonacitytheatre.com.au and come along. It has the right ending hehe!
  • Thanks for letting us know about the show. We'd love to see production photos when you have them. Have fun and break a leg.
  • Bamalama, I just got cast in a production of Little Shop too, and we run at the exact same time (except ours goes through mid-August). I can't believe it took me as long as it did to get to know it really well, but oh my gosh it's brilliant!

    By the way, I live in New York--it's so neat to think that there are productions going up simultaneously on opposite sides of the world. Just goes to show how far Howard Ashman's work still reaches. <3
  • The sun never sets on Little Shop!
  • Just watched the movie for the first time. Holy.... Why didn't I watch it sooner? It's a work of art!

    And I also checked out the original ending too. I can see why they changed it, because it would've been a bit too intense and depressing on the big screen. I haven't seen a production of the show (yet), but it does feel like it works better on the stage, and that each ends perfectly in their own medium. To quote the director, Frank Oz, "In a stage play, you kill the leads and they come out for a bow — in a movie, they don't come out for a bow, they're dead."
  • When I was in Little Shop in HS one of my favorite things about it was actually reading the script. I already knew the show pretty well, but the stage directions are hilarious!! :)
  • Yeah, Howard really did take pride in that.
  • It's one of the best written librettos I've ever read.
  • Andi, I KNOWWW!! Usually I get annoyed with really specific stage directions, but in the case of Little Shop, they really are just as important as the dialogue, because so much of the plot is communicated in action, and delivery is everything! I especially liked reading the part in the middle of "Grow for Me," when Seymour pricks his finger--without any words at all, he and the audience figure out what the plant needs to thrive, which is obviously a major plot point.
  • edited July 2011
    Little Shop of Horrors is one of my three favorite things in the world (the other two being pizza, my favorite food, and Ren & Stimpy, one of the few cartoons to remain funny on the thousandth viewing).

    I had heard an internet rumor that Howard Ashman was writing the musical when he saw the poor Roger Corman film, and decided to change his musical to reflect the film for legal purposes. I don't know whether or not it's true, but it makes sense. I have trouble picturing someone watching that movie and suddenly deciding to rewrite Faust as a sci-fi musical.
  • I am much like Tacowiz, except that rather than Little Shop Of Horrors simply being one of my three favorite things in the world, it is my favorite thing in the world. I am seeing a production tomorrow and it will be the fifth production I see (but the sixth time I see it, as I saw one production twice). I would have seen more, but I am only fourteen.

    To be honest, I have some severe problems with the "artistic decisions" made by the movie-not only the change to the ending, but also the deletion of assorted songs from the stage show. The only good things to come out of the movie are:
    1.The additions to the title song.
    2.The change of the "molars" line in Dentist to the "bicuspid" line, which seems lyrically stronger to me.
    3.The change of Seymour's death scene to the more, well, musical Mean Green Mother From Outer Space (though obviously I prefer the original ending version better, with the awesomely dramatic and tense ending to the song).
    4.Crystal, Ronnette, and Chiffon. Awesome song, even if it doesn't really fit in the plot.
  • edited July 2011
    Do we actually have any confirmation that Crystal, Ronnette, and Chiffon was written for the movie? It was leaked in the demo pack for the play.

    If Ms. Ashman is reading this, could you please elaborate on Crystal, Ronnete, and Cheffon, as well as some of the other songs that weren't in the demo pack and continue to be lost?

    Edit: Nevermind. I looked at the song page.

    I still want to know the context it was in.
  • @Omega I don't think the changes were for artistic purposes; I think it was more about getting everything in during the time-frame of a feature length film. The film was made long past the days of "My Fair Lady" and "The Sound of Music", when audiences where more open to seeing a 3 and a half movie. So they had to cut out things that weren't needed ("Closed for Renovations", "Call Back in the Morning", Seymour being adopted by Mushnik/"Mushnik & Son"), songs for moments that didn't really need a song ("Now (It's Just the Gas)"), and condense things ("Ya Never Know" into "Some Fun Now", taking "Sudden Changes" out of "Feed Me (Get It)", taking out Seymour's part in "The Meek Shall Inherit"). It was about taking an established work in one medium, the stage, and converting it into another medium, the theater. Things are going to get changed, things are going to get modified, to make sure it all works for the new medium. (And besides, the Audrey II animatronic is the best damn puppet in film history! :P)

    @Tacowiz I think "Crystal, Ronette and Chiffon" was written for the end credits for the film.
  • Still, that makes little sense, because they added content in the form of the radio scene, the masochist scene, etc, time which they could have used for some of the songs from the play. And Now is such an awesome song that I find the statement that its moment "doesn't need a song" bizarre. It's about as important as Suppertime, tbh. I love the stage version; it's my favorite piece of fiction ever, and I mean that word favorite literally and absolutely. But I just find it difficult to respect the film version because of all the truncations of awesome, wonderful content that were made.

    Oh, on the note of deleted songs, would it be possible to make avaliable demo recordings of the as-of-yet-unreleased cut songs? ("Your Day Begins Tonight", "Thundercrash", "Bad Like Me", "The Audrey II Song")
  • @Justin

    Your theory makes no sense. The play was only 80 minutes. Leaving all those songs in would not have made the movie three and a half hours long.

    I think Now (It's Just the Gas) was a VERY important song. It explained what was going through Seymour's mind when he let Orin die. It also gave him a whole 2 and a half minutes to make a decision, rather than 30 seconds like in the movie. In the movie, he isn't really responsible for Orin's death, though he still is very much responsible for Mushnik's.
  • "In a stage play, you kill the leads and they come out for a bow — in a movie, they don't come out for a bow, they're dead."

    West Side Story had a sad ending, like the play, and it won Best Picture.

    That excuse is pure BS.

    IMHO, he's just as upset as the rest of us that the ending had to be changed. He just doesn't want to admit it. The commentary track makes it clear.
  • @Omega - yes, please, I second the request for the unreleased demos!!! :)
  • Crystal, Ronnette and Chiffon was written for the end credits of the movie (you mean the song that begins, "Where did the girls go," right?
  • I hear you about the demos but I can't make any promises...
  • Thank you very much. It's nice to know that there's a chance that they might become avaliable. :)
  • Can there be a section on this website specifically for demos? ':-)
  • A demos section would be amazing!

    Just been watching my wife dancing to "Little Shop of Horrors" with Dance on Broadway for the Wii! Totally hilarious!! But it also made me smile thinking Howard's work will reach another new audience with games like this.
  • Is it me, or does it sound speed-up?
  • Yeah it does. But then again, this is a demo of the song so the song probably had a faster pace to it before hand.
  • I don't know whose demo that was of Downtown and I don't know where Seymour's dialog came from but since it wasn't Howard and Alan's finished version (lyrically) I deleted from the site (since this is after all, an official site). Hope you're okay with this.
  • Oh don't worry about it. I just figured I'd like to show something I discovered. But I understand. Besides, you know a bit more than any of us do on which is an official demo and what's not. So if you have to deleat something go right ahead. I'm an easy down-to-earth guy so I'm ok with all this.
  • You know, I was worried about posting that so thank you for understanding.
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